Aug 20, 2013
Aug 12, 2013
The Amazing Surya Namaskara!! Doing “salutes to the sun” renders life heavenly and blissful and is the secret to everlasting youth!
In Yoga Mala, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (“Guruji”) talks in depth about the benefits of the Surya Namaskara. Guruji explained that by practicing the Surya Namaskara, all ailments, including mental illness, can be cured. He says, “To keep the body, which is the foundation of the performance of all sorts of meritorious deeds, pure and free from obstacles such as disease as much as possible, the Surya Namaskara and yogasana are very important. Indeed, in the present world, they are essential to all, men and women, young and old….”
Here is more background to the amazing and revitalizing power of the Surya Namaskara from Yoga Mala: “The practice of the Surya Namaskara, or Sun Salutations, has come down to us from the long distant past, and is capable of rendering human life heavenly and blissful. By means of it, people can become joyous, experience happiness and contentment, and avoid succumbing to old age and death…
Yet, nowadays, without ever having learned the traditions and practices of their ancestors and having not control over their sense organs, people engage in self-indulgence and destroy their mental powers for the sake of tangible gain. They deny reality simply because it cannot be seen and make their lives miserable, or subject to disease, poverty, and death. If they were to follow the traditions of their ancestors, however, they would develop their bodies and minds, and, in so doing, make possible the realization of the nature of the Self, as a scriptural authority confirms: ‘Nayam atma balahinena labhyah (This Self cannot be gained by one devoid of strength)’….
By following the precept of the great sages, ‘Shariramadyam khalu dharma Sadhanam (The first duty is to take care of the body, which is the means to the pursuit of spiritual life),’ our ancestors found the means to bodily health.”
The daily duty of performing Surya Namaskara was believed to instill the blessings of the Sun God who brings good health. Guruji says, “If we reflect on the saying, ‘Arogyam bhaskarad icchet (One should desire health from the Sun),’ it is clear that those blessed by the Sun God live healthy lives. Therefore, for health – the greatest wealth of all – to be attained, the blessings of the Sun God must alone be sought.”
The Sun planet has played a very powerful roll in all cultures. Surya, the Sun God, represents the visible form of the divine, one that you can plainly see every day. The Sun is believed to heal the sick and bring good fortune.
Guruji says, “The method for doing Surya Namaskara has been described in various ways by various people. We cannot categorically state which is correct, but when we reflect on the science of yoga, we see that the tradition of Surya Namaskara follows, in the main, the method of vinyasa, or breathing and movement system, the movements of rechaka, or exhalation, puraka, or inhalation, and meditation. According to the yoga shastra, this tradition includes: vinyasa; rechaka and puraka; dhyana (meditation); drishti (sight, or gazing place); and the bandhas (muscle contractions, or locks). And this alone is the method which should be followed when learning the Surya Namaskara, as yogis declare from experience. Indeed, the Sun Salutations done without following the rules mentioned above are little more than exercise, and not true Surya Namaskara.”Via The Yoga Comics
Editors: Jessica Walden and Elise Espat (Albuquerque Ashtanga Yoga Shala)
Cartoon guy: Boonchu Tanti, Ashtanga Illustrations by Boonchu / Ashtanga Yoga Center Of Bangkok. - AYBKK
This video was taken in 2010 during Dasara. I'm on the far left :)
Aug 10, 2013
"Guru To Go. A portrait of R. Sharath Jois" is a sweet mini doc by Alessandro Sigismondi chronicling R. Sharath Jois' visit to Copenhagen hosted by Astanga Yoga Copenhagen.
Here are notes from Sharath's Moscow Conference (2013 July 28) hosted and posted by Ashtanga Yoga Moscow. There is also a livestream of Sharath teaching a led class here.
Stockholm: August 11 – 16
Helsinki: August 18 – 23
London: August 25 – 30
Saraswathi in Helsinki: September 22 – 27
Saraswathi in Kiev: September 29 – October 4
Aug 3, 2013
Thanks to the participants and organizers of last weekend's Anahata Yoga Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was a wonderful event and there is already talk about the next one...
Here are a few articles, posts, and conference notes worth a read:
- Yoga: Changing The Brain's Stressful Habits by Alex Korb, Ph.D. in Psychology Today
"As a neuroscientist, despite my initial incredulity, I came to realize that yoga works not because the poses are relaxing, but because they are stressful. It is your attempts to remain calm during this stress that create yoga's greatest neurobiological benefit."
- Ellen Williams Kympton, 68: Practicing with Gratitude, Living Gracefully with Cancer by Robbie Norris in the Richmond Private Blog
"I teach a 78-year old woman who has experienced major revitalization during two years of daily practice. Her 40-minute (and growing) practice has dramatically changed her body, increased her overall wellbeing, and enlightened her sense of humor with moments of childlike bliss.
People who know only a little about Ashtanga Yoga (including many who might say they've tried it) often characterize it as fast yoga, athletic yoga, yoga for the young and healthy, or a practice that is too strict with no room for innovation. When you hear someone speak about Ashtanga Yoga in that way, be assured they know virtually nothing about it, and let a red flag go up -- because it will be a person who assumes authority about that of which his knowledge is slight."
- AY:A2 ashtanga session ‘bootlegs’ via YogaRose.net
Here’s the session as one long view.
Eight limbs and tristhana.
Ashtanga as a natural movement practice.
Ujjayi pranayama versus breathing with sound.
Communicable diseases in the Mysore room.
Finally, here’s a playlist of all the videos.
- Conference notes with Sharath Jois in Mysore, India via Jois Yoga
-January 8, 2012 by Andrew Hillam
-July 22, 2012 by Anna Muzzin
-September 9, 2012 by Megan Riley
For the home practitioners, there is also a new live stream of Sharath teaching in Moscow:
I'm heading to Mysore in the fall to practice and study with my teacher R. Sharath Jois. Here is a glimpse of a led intermediate class at the shala a couple of years ago:
Lastly, I've opened up an online shop to help raise funds for my trip and also for Uttarakhand disaster relief. Check it out!
Thanks for reading!