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The Subtle aspects of Hatha (Ashtanga) yoga

The ashtanga yoga system belongs to the hatha yoga tradition. The word “Hatha” (pronounced Ha-ta) literally means force. Those who have done the primary series of Ashtanga yoga will know that there is nothing “Yin” about this relentless sequence of demanding poses. Though there may seem no resemblance to Patanjali’s sthira -sukham, i.e. steady comfort, there is a reason for doing hatha yoga.

I am planning to hold a workshop on “The Subtle aspects of Hatha (Ashtanga) yoga”.

Venue: In person in a studio + online

Duration: 1hr and 45 minutes

Cost: FreeDate: TBD (Saturday or Sunday) in the next 3 weeks.

Format: 50 minutes of theory and 50 minutes of asana practice.

If you are interested please sign up here: https://forms.gle/cUQ5HkVmjXYTzn8L8


“Ashtanga Yoga: Asanas and Philosophy” Class this Sunday at 10am

I am teaching a class named “Ashtanga Yoga: Asanas and Philosophy” every 2nd and 4th sunday at the YIY studio in Mountain View from 10am-11:30am. This is a 90 minute class where the 1st 45 minutes is dedicated to asanas and the other 45 minutes to yoga philosophy. The yoga philosophy will be material from www.yogasukshma.com covering topics on the yoga sutras, meditation, bandhas and other subtle aspects of yoga.The asana portion of the class will typically consist of the starting and finishing sequence of the ashtanga yoga primary series. In every class one subtle aspect of asanas will be focused. For example the aspect of focus in a class can be bandhas, dhrishti, prana, breathing, mudra etc.The yoga philosophy portion will be in the form of slides and will include chants from the yoga sutras etc. If you would like to attend just the yoga philosophy portion, you may come in or login at 10:45 am.The class is free for now. Please find registration info at https://yogaisyouth.com/




Mudra-The seldom taught aspect of asana practice (or) Achieving higher states of mind in asana practice

https://www.yogasukshma.com/articles-and-lecture-presentations-by-ganesh/the-seldom-taught-part-of-asana-practice

How I stumbled upon Mudras

Two years after I started doing the Ashtanga Yoga practice, which itself started a few months after my hip joint replacement surgery, I got a basic feel for the Bandhas. In certain poses, when I would touch (using my head, feet, hands etc.) or press into certain parts of the body, I would experience intense bliss, joy and a feeling of love which for a left-brained engineer is very uncharacteristic to describe to others. So I did not ask anyone about why this was occurring. Some Ashtanga yoga teachers would complain that I was not doing the practice correctly because I was spending way too long in those poses beyond the 5 breath guideline that is followed for most poses in the Ashtanga system. They probably thought I had lost focus and was going into a reverie.

Nevertheless, I followed my intuition and continued to explore these intense sensations because I felt there was healing involved. On the occasional day, when I would feel more than normal intense feelings, I would carry with me a sense of well being throughout the day. This feeling, for my highly Vata system, was a blessing.

It was only during a visit to India when I practiced under a very experienced teacher of hatha yoga, himself a long term student of Pattabhi Jois and B.N.S. Iyengar, that I understood that some of the poses where I experienced these feelings were actual Mudras used in Hatha Yoga and that the parts of the body where I pressed during these times, were indeed energy centers (Marma points) that are used in hatha yoga to clear energy blocks and facilitate the movement of prana.

I also learned that Mudras were numerous though a few like the Viparita Karani Mudra, which looks like the shoulder stand, are popular and easier to do than some of the more complicated ones. I was also told that when any asana is modified to the effect of raising one’s energies (I do not wish to use the word Kundalini here because it will sound too grand), it becomes a Mudra.



Ekapada Shirashasana :Cutting the Ego in asana practice

Some poses in yoga have a symbolism. For example Vasishtasana and Kapotsasana, two poses that require a lot of effort and result in an upsurge of energy through the body, symbolize the powers of sages Vasishta and Kapota respectively. Similarly the leg behind the neck poses in yoga are a symbolism for how the ego can destroy us if we are not careful. The leg that goes behind the head symbolizes a sword as shown in the illustration below. The sword (behind the neck) is a constant reminder that if we are not watchful, the ego will destroy us.

https://www.yogasukshma.com/articles-and-lecture-presentations-by-ganesh/ekapada-shirashasana-and-ego-in-asana-practice

May be an illustration of one or more people and text that says 'Foot Behind the Head Pose Eka Pada Sirsasana'


Breath, Bandha and Agni(Fire) :The core of asanas in Hatha Yoga

Have you ever wondered :
– Why such a high importance is placed in Ayurveda on maintaining a balanced fire (Agni) in the body ?
– Why hatha yoga teachers ask you not to drink water during asana practice ?
– Why such a high emphasis is placed in Hatha Yoga on the Bandhas and the Ujjayi breath ?
– About the ancient adage with respect to eating less and maintaining a mild appetite always, especially when traveling in conditions where people could be subjected to illnesses, especially food and water borne ?

https://www.yogasukshma.com/articles-and-lecture-presentations-by-ganesh/breath-bandha-and-agnifire-the-core-of-hatha-yoga


Breath, Bandha and Agni(Fire) :The core of asanas in Hatha Yoga

Have you ever wondered :
– Why such a high importance is placed in Ayurveda on maintaining a balanced fire (Agni) in the body ?
– Why hatha yoga teachers ask you not to drink water during asana practice ?
– Why such a high emphasis is placed in Hatha Yoga on the Bandhas and the Ujjayi breath ?
– About the ancient adage with respect to eating less and maintaining a mild appetite always, especially when traveling in conditions where people could be subjected to illnesses, especially food and water borne ?

https://www.yogasukshma.com/articles-and-lecture-presentations-by-ganesh/breath-bandha-and-agnifire-the-core-of-hatha-yoga


Advanced Asana Practice and Circus Acrobatics

https://www.yogasukshma.com/articles-and-lecture-presentations-by-ganesh/advanced-asana-practice-and-circus

Want to know the difference between advanced asana practice and Circus acrobatics ?

The difference between yoga asana and acrobatics primarily lies in the mental attitude. If it is practiced with a goal of achievement and display of one’s prowess, then it is driven by ego and it is therefore not yoga. It is acrobatics. If asanas are practiced with a goal of maintaining health, it becomes exercise. If practiced with the aim of stilling the mind and tuning into one’s inner self, it becomes yoga.


Helping with War

From Mitchell:

Friends,

Someone close to me with direct and extended family in the Ukraine has created this sharable file to make it easier to navigate and donate to reliable support organizations. They would appreciate any help we have to offer:

If you have questions, please reach out to Olga at: 

e-mail: oponomarenko@gmail.com

cell: 617-997-7596

Please contact Olga directly if you’d like her to collect via post or Venmo, prior to her forwarding. 

Thanks & love, Mitchell ❤️ “