Learn the practice of Hatha Yoga with a master who has taught millions of students in numerous countries around the world. Swami Satchidananda leads a level one class that includes 45 minutes of postures to increase flexibility and train the mind to be clear and focused. Next comes 15 minutes of deep relaxation to leave you feeling tranquil and centered. The class ends with breathing practices that create a sense of peace and energize the whole system. Everyone can benefit from this Integral Yoga hatha class, whether you\'re young or old, flexible or not, a beginner or an experienced student.
This Integral Hatha Yoga practice is led by the teacher responsible for bringing Integral Yoga to the United States, Sri Swami Satchidananda. Satchidananda offers a complete class of chanting, yoga asana, guided meditation, and breathwork. He begins by greeting his small class of six participants and leading them in chants of both \"Om\" and \"Hari Om.\" Satchidananda then guides the class through eye exercises (up-down, side-to-side, and rolling) before moving into three rounds of surya namaskar, sun worship. For the first round, Satchidananda has the class move quite slowly while he counts out and describes each of the 12 postures which form the sun salutation. During each of the next two rounds, however, Satchidananda calls out position numbers only, moving a little quicker for round two and then even faster for the final series.Following the sun salutations, the class is instructed to rest briefly in relaxation pose. Remaining on the floor, Satchidananda lead the class through a lying sequence which includes cobra, half-locust, and full locust. Rolling up to a seated position, the participants practice head-to-knee pose, rest again, and then undertake full forward bend. Next comes what Satchidananda names the \"most important position,\" shoulderstand. This long hold of shoulderstand (about 4 minutes) starts and ends with plow pose, and it is followed by the traditional counter-pose, fish posture. The final asana series includes wind-relieving pose, sage twist, and yoga mudra with legs in lotus or half-lotus. Satchidananda subsequently leads the class in a long (about 15 minutes total) guided relaxation, beginning with progressive muscle relaxation (tensing and releasing all the major muscle groups) and then eventually fading to mostly silence. He guides the participants out of the relaxation as well, slowing encouraging them to deepen their breathing as well as to begin re-energizing each part of the body. The final 15 minutes of this class consist half of breathing practices half of additional chanting and meditation. Satchidananda introduces three breathing techniques, deergha swasam (long deep breathing), kapalabhati (skull-shining breath), and nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing). The ending chanting sequence begins with \"Om-Shanti-Om\"and continues with further meditations sung in Sanskrit by Satchidananda and repeated by the group.This class provides a rare treat for all levels of yoga practitioners to learn from a yoga master. Although Satchidananda\'s students obviously had some basic familiarity with yoga, they each displayed varying levels of ability. Satchidananda was accepting of all, sometimes gently correcting (\"you can get straighter!\") but always while displaying much affection. He also comes across as genuinely caring and supportive, frequently telling the class \"you can do it\" and \"you did very well.\" Finally, Satchidananda offers plenty of time for rest between postures, often leading his class back to relaxation pose for several minutes. Overall, this gentle yoga practice provides a unique opportunity to work with one of yoga\'s most revered modern-day masters.