12-day Pranayama and Meditation Intensive
Pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation are two of the key ingredients of an integrated yoga routine. Patanjali, in his Yoga Sutras, has given us these 8 "tools", called the eight limbs of yoga (Ashtanga Yoga) to achieve stillness of the mind - yamas, niyamas, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi. Many of the yoga practitioners tend to limit their practice to only the 3rd limb, asana, the physical postures. There is no doubt that the practice of asana will make the body more flexible and stronger. However, by practicing only asanas we are limiting ourselves to a small subset of the benefits that yoga can provide. If we want to achieve the full complement of benefits of yoga, we need to avail of all the "tools" that are given to us.
In an effort to encourage the students to include pranayama and meditation as part of their daily yoga routine, I periodically offer a 12-day pranayama/meditation intensive.
21-Day Yoga Challenge
Recently I received an email asking me to join a 30-day yoga challenge program. I did a quick search on Google for something like "30-day yoga challenge" or just "yoga challenge", and I came across a large variety of yoga challenge programs being offered. Most of these programs entail making a commitment and then practicing at your own home using a video or a tape that the originator of the program offers you. Since I am myself a firm believer in establishing an on-going regular practice, I thought about offering my own version of a similar challenge program. In this program, instead of practicing on your own at home, you will be practicing with me as a group.
Yoga Philosophy Workshops
Even though yoga has been mentioned in various ancient texts, including the Vedas, Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita etc, the credit for putting together a formal, cohesive philosophy of yoga goes to Sage Patanjali. In his Yoga Sutras, Patanjali has provided the very essence of the philosophy and teachings of yoga in a highly scientific and systematic exposition. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (YSP) are one of the six darshanas ( Hindu schools of philosophy) and a very important milestone in the history of Yoga. The book is a set of 195 aphorisms (sutras), which are short, terse phrases designed to be easy to memorize. Though brief, the Yoga Sutras is an enormously influential work that is just as relevant for yoga philosophy and practice today as it was when it was written.
In this workshop, I discuss how an understanding of the underlying concepts of yoga can help us live a more peaceful, meaningful and fulfilling life. We will learn what causes stress in life and how to cope with stress under varying circumstances. We will study the various concepts that are presented in the yoga sutras. We also learn how by applying these concepts in our day-to-day life, we can understand and analyze our own mind so we can control our emotions and behavior patterns.
I have been teaching these workshops to various groups in the triangle area since early 2007. I taught yoga philosophy at the Moving Mantra Yoga Studio, once a month, for almost three years. I have also presented these workshops to students undergoing teacher training programs offered by various yoga studios in the area.
A brief introduction to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is available here.