Yoga Philosophy

Meditation Tips from Vikasa Yoga Teacher Training

Meditation can seem like a daunting practice, but it can actually be quite simple when correct techniques are applied…here I will tell you the key elements that will lead you to your own successful meditative process.

With regular enough practice to build up a connection within, you might feel the benefit and natural desire to have a regular practice, even if it’s just a few minutes morning or evening and cultivating a meditative state of mind throughout your daily life.

 
Sitting Up Right
First and foremost is the upright spine. Extending the spine to feel tall physiologically creates a feeling of wakefulness. It is also the best action for reducing inbalances in the curvature of the spine and promotes balanced 3-dimensional actions of breath. Sitting upright is initiated by many muscles but focusing to the deepest abdominal muscle, the tranverse abdominis, will improve your posture and increase your endurance…

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The Five Yamas of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga

The five moral ethics of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga are the absolute foundation of yoga practice for people from all walks of life. Why? Because when you adhere to them your mind is a guilt free, easy going place that is ready to really focus on being and creating, two main qualities of nature. The concepts are simple and familiar and the more you practice them the more clearly the connection between behavior, beliefs, and experience stands out.

1. Ahimsa – Non-Violence
We could actually call it a day right after this one. It pretty much covers everything. Violence doesn’t work for spiritual development in three ways as I see it. First, violence is traumatic for humans as animals, and as psyches. The fear generated by it causes our energy to recoil into a dense form for self preservation, which can be considered the ego. This can happen to both parties…

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Practice – Steaming Awareness in our modern Physical Yoga Culture

That Present Feeling…

What makes yoga practice, yoga practice?It is the consistency of streaming your awareness to a simple aspect of your existence.  It doesn’t matter what it is, just that it is simple. What is streaming awareness? Take a deep breath in and just experience it, let all else fade away. Feel the space you change in your lungs, the movements through your body, and the immediate changes in your physiology. That’s it. Now, breath out slowly and feel the relaxation and release, the quiet mind. It’s a continuous flowing experience,  and most importantly, your perspective becomes centered and calm. This is why people practice Yoga, to touch in with the spiritual home. But it doesn’t have to be breathing. That just happens to be a really easy way. It’s just about streaming awareness.
The breath is this simple and profound magic door to understand this kind of awareness.…

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What is Karma? How does it work and where did it come from?

Karma is an ancient Sanskrit word that literally means action. Within the backdrop of Vedantic and buddhist philosophy, and the growing momentum of humans to experience the workings of the universe and our own spirituality, it has more connotations. It often comes with the understanding that actions have results, not only to the external environment, but also in individual human tendencies to create significance from and beliefs about experiences. This is what shapes each ones’ own sense of  identity, or in a yoga perspective, separateness.Technically this affect of action, or karma, is called sanskara, the impressions that influence future actions.
I believe existence started as spiritual consciousness and evolved to matter, and then eventually to what I might call “manifest consciousness” or life. This fits with the story that many people call the fall of humans, a fall from a state in which we were beyond physical bodies and unbound…

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Yoga: Classical, Modern, and New Age

There is a theme in all subjects as they come from their origin to modern day understanding and applications. The older the subject the more this seems to be true. It is simply evolution. Knowledge is adapted to present day understanding and needs. Is something lost? Or are the adaptations merited because the universe itself is becoming something fundamentally new?  From the experience of many spiritual contemporaries it does seem that way. However, claiming to know what that fundamental nature is, how it’s changing, we might be supposing things just shy of the most base principles.  The power of our own fundamental nature, conscious curiosity, is delving into itself and we are seeing that our awareness can be as expanded as the universe or open up whole cosmos out of a single point of interest in the infinite field of possibilities. Is it possible to skip over the faithfully employed…

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Peeling off your Layers – Koshas

Let’s remember Yoga is a system of techniques and information we use for physical and spiritual liberation and is designed to be accessible. Some aspects of it then will be generalizations, in fact, all forms all generalizations, but helpful for pointing us in the correct direction. It is the duty then, and blessing of each individual practitioner to translate the language of Yoga systems into their own practice. Experiences of “what happens” when we practice should be completely unique.
Traditional Yoga Vedanta describes five main “layers” of the human being which make up our experience. Each successive layer supersedes the previous in terms of intricacy and subtlety and also works on a larger scale, encompassing all of the qualities of the layer before it. These layers in Yoga are called the Koshas.
Let’s look at the outer most Kosha, the body, Annamaya Kosha. All the Koshas use the word maya…

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Ways to Yoga

 
 
The goal of the Yogi is to realize his or her fundamental nature as the infinite homogeneity of the universe. The tools to do this are plentiful and everywhere. It actually turns out that anything can be used to point at our true nature when observed carefully and made into practice. Do you like to sing and dance until forget about everything else? Have you had one of those lazy afternoon naps where you didn’t actually sleep but you really just stop thinking. Or…the liberation from your own situations that comes by bringing happiness to another human being? And what about the captivated curiosity of learning something new? These positive human behaviors are the foundation of Yoga practices.
 
Hatha Yoga
The most easily observable yoga practice(leading us to believe it’s what most
people practice), Hatha Yoga,  is a physically oriented foundational practice.  It brings balance in the…

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The Space Between: Shavasana

One element that distinguishes Hatha Yoga  from other physical disciplines is the practice of Shavasana, the corpse pose. My favorite part is that it starts as a physical experience and then can take me to spaces between thoughts and illusory identities.  It’s first role is to let the body completely rest after the posture practice. Positioned laying down on the back allows all the supportive muscles of the body to release. You’ve probably felt this when you practice, more and more the longer you stay in the pose and the more calm you become. The body actually lengthens when these muscles release just like in a good nights sleep, giving that slowly melting feeling. Your arms should be spaced apart from your body with your palms up and the fingers allowed to gently curl into their natural resting position. The feet should be spaced apart wide enough that your legs…

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