The Sanskrit word ‘Purna’ means integrated, complete or ‘full’. Purna Yoga represents a holistic approach to yoga integrating all eight limbs of yoga the way it was originally taught in India. The focus is not just on the physical postures, but also on the other seven limbs including philosophy, meditation, pranayama and yogic personal and social code of ethics (yamas and niyamas). The postural instruction is based on Iyengar’s precision and alignment. Purna yoga is suitable for both beginners and advanced students, since the sequences range from gentle restorative to dynamic vinyasa. While yoga philosophies, such as ahimsa (non-violence) are threaded throughout Purna Yoga classes, students are encouraged to build flexibility, strength and stamina of body, mind and spirit. It creates the ultimate mind-body challenge and encourages you to adopt a yogic living: “The art of loving yourself by living from the heart.”
Train your mind
I’m currently being trained to be a yoga teacher under the Purna Yoga umbrella by Byron Yoga Centre. For me, it brings yoga back to its origin and away from the fancy exercise focused yoga classes in the gyms. It brings me back to simplicity. For now, no fancy arm balances or inversions, but first of all learning the basic postures safely and correctly. The main aim of asana is to train and discipline the mind. I know for myself, it is often way more challenging to sit still or to do a pose very slowly then going to a fast-paced Vinyasa flow. Like most people nowadays, I’m used to rush through life as well as through my yoga practice. My challenge is to shorten my asana practice and lengthen my pranayama and meditation practice. The meaning of asana is not without reason ‘comfortable seat’, the preparation for meditation. Once again, I learn that yoga is not at all about flexibility and beauty, these are just two positive by-products.
The power of meditation
Categories: Sharing, Yoga
Tags: ahimsa, asana, beauty, Byron Yoga Centre, comfortable seat, flexibility, Iyengar, meditation, mind-body, niyamas, non-violence, philosophy, pranayama, purna, Sanskrit, vinyasa, yamas, yoga teacher, yogic living
Google satya and you will find lots of Indian restaurants and a movie. If you include truthfullness in your search, you will come closer to the meaning of the second yama. Satya is the sanskrit word for truth. The practise of satya goes way beyond not lying. It includes being truthful and honest with ourselves, followed by being truthful with anyone else.
It does not mean that you have to say out loud all harmful thoughts appearing in your mind. Saying: “What a ugly dress are you wearing today”, while your neighbour passes by, is not satya. This action would interfere with the first yama ahimsa, non-harming. If you can not say anything nice, do not say it all. Moreover your mind and the resulting thoughts are not The Truth. Though, at times you have to confrontate others with their behaviour. For example your brother is addicted to alcohol and this affects the whole family in a negative way. While dealing with difficult situations like these, it is good to remember the first yama: non-violence and try to handle with love.
Forcing yourself in an intense yoga practise, because your mind says you have to while you are not feeling well, is an example of not practising satya and/or ahimsa. If I find it difficult to be truthful I remind myself that every time I am being untruthful to myself, I install an internal block which keeps me from seeing my own divine radiance. In addition, the law of Karma will grab you anyway. Most of us have experienced that at least one time during their life. If you break that beautiful vase of your grandma and you do not dare to tell her, she will find out anyway and you will feel even worse for not telling her straightaway.
Practising satya will result in openness towards yourself and others. And the best part, it just feels great to be honest, to speak The Truth, to listen to The Truth, to live The Truth. It will bring your relationships with others to a higher level. And at last but not the least, I can assure you, it will increase your feelings of happiness.
Categories: Happiness, Yoga
Tags: divine radiance, happiness, harmful thoughts, Karma, love, non-harming, non-violence, satya, truth, yama
The first yama ahimsa, is usually translated as ‘non-violence’. It refers not only to physical violence, but also to the violence of words or thoughts. For me, the violence of words or thoughts is not as obvious and clear as physical violence. It makes me think; which of my thoughts or words are harmful? I have to be alert while interacting with others as well as explore my own thoughts. For example; is listening to a good friend with only half of my attention harmful? What about being abrupt to your partner, because of morning moodiness? Within the Yoga Philosophy you are one. It is the ego which makes me feel separated from others. Someone’s misery is mine and vice versa. I should treat others as I want to be treated.
Yoga asanas and breathing exercises brings me back to the present moment and make me aware of my thoughts and intentions. Meditation makes me realize I have negative thoughts about myself and I attract what I think of. The law of attraction is profound. Thoughts, words and intentions can have as much power as physical violence. Practising ahimsa means I take responsibility for my own behaviour, including thoughts and intentions. It is a life lived from true love for ourselves, others and the world we live in.