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Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga ( Ha -"Sun", Tha - "Moon", Yoga - "Union") is the term used to describe the physical practices of yoga, including asanas (postures), pranayama (breath control), mudras (symbolic or ritual gestures), kriyas ( purification techniques), yogic diet, and yoga nidra (yogic sleep or deep relaxation). Remember that the practice of yoga is comprised of the eight limbs ( Yama [moral codes], Niyama [self-purification and study], Asana [posture], Pranayama [breath control], Pratyahara [sense control], Dharana [concentration], Dhyana [meditation], Samadhi [contemplation].

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Journal Post

Paying attention to alignment in your yoga postures can be confusing.  Lift this, drop that; lengthen here, shorten there; soften one side and strengthen the other one.  And, in the meantime: don't forget to breathe. For many students, looking more closely at alignment can be intimidating. Alleviate that stress by breaking the postures up into sets with alignment points in common.   For example, in standing postures, we can say that we are either focusing on squaring the hips or on opening them.  Although this is somewhat of an oversimplification, it can help students that are newer to alignment principles get a handle on where to start.
I have mentioned before that I lost my mother at an young age. It was a devastating time to lose her, but from my perspective, any time is devastating. In an ideal world, your mother is the one who is there to pick you up when you fall and tell you that everything is going to be all right. She is your biggest fan and she is always looking out for what is best for you. I know this is the ideal and even those of you whose mother is alive and well, did not have this experience. But what if we could turn this around and treat each other with the kindness of the archetypal mother?
Although some are talking about another 40 inches of snow this month, March is the month of the spring equinox and therefore heralds the beginning of spring. Until then, we are still in the water element and the end of the winter.
We are surprised to find, or not find rather, Vrschikasana, Scorpion Pose, listed among the backbends or the arm balances on the Yoga Journal List of Poses. As we wind down our backbends as we approach the spring equinox, we would be remiss in not including this challenging backbend among our poses.
There is no one pose that is the most feminine pose. Some poses are more feminine than others and some poses make you feel more feminine on different days of your practice. Ardha Chandrasana, Half Moon Pose, always feels very feminine to me. Perhaps it is because when I practice it on a good day, I feel extremely graceful and elegant. And while the name, camel pose, may not sound very feminine, Ustrasana, is very uplifting and powerful.
Bhekasana or Frog Pose is another challenging backbend which requires strength not only in the back but also in the arms and flexibility in the shoulders. Bhekasana is best practiced after warming up with standing poses or other preparatory backbends.
Fine tune your approach to Corpse Pose through an exploration of varying teaching philosophies.
By Sara Avant Stover
Devika Gurung was one of my first yoga teachers. I met her while traveling to India to study Yoga. But Devika had just returned from India and opened a Yoga Centre in Pokhara, Nepal. I decided to spend 6 weeks with her helping her with her Yoga Centre and learning English and in exchange I lived with her like she lived in the Ashram in India. We practiced Jala Neti in the morning, meditation, asana twice a day, karma yoga, yoga nidra, and pranayama. It was an incredible experience and helped me on my path towards a daily yoga practice. She is an incredible inspiration to women and yoga teachers everywhere. I was particularly inspired by her dedication to helping Nepalis study yoga.
Discover how using themes can turn your yoga class from mundane to memorable. We all have yoga classes that stand out in our minds. Perhaps we found ourselves in a puddle of cathartic tears durning Savasana (Corpse Pose) or euphoric after rising into an unassisted Sirsasana (Headstand) for the first time. Something that the teacher said, or simply her way of being, can stick with us for years. As yoga teachers, we all want to deliver such classes. We want to touch our students' hearts, even long after they leave their yoga mats.
So, then, what is it that sets an exemplary yoga class apart froma forgettable one? Is there a method behind the magic? The Power of Themes
If you're like most people nowadays, you probably spend a good portion of your waking hours sitting, mainly at your desk at work, but also driving in your car, at home reading or watching TV. But in fact humans aren't well adapted to spend long hours every day sitting in a chair. Our bodies crave and thrive on movement. Sitting, especially for prolonged periods of time, is actually more stressful on our spine, and the little spongy disks between the bony vertebrae, than standing. This stress is compounded by two other problems: most modern chairs are poorly designed for healthy sitting, and most people have poor posture (and not only while sitting but standing as well).

iHanuman Features

Recorded Live at Common Ground Healing Arts in Charlottesville, Virginia. These demonstrations supplement the Audio Recordings of the entire workshop found in the iHanuman Download Store. Over 50% of the net proceeds from the sales of Kofi's classes on iHanuman will benefit Common Ground Healing Arts, a non-profit working towards affordable healthcare for all.
Recorded by Saraswati at Studio 206 in Charlottesville, VA. We release this video in honor of mother's day and women in general. Practice Moon Salutations as you would Sun Salutations, but use moon salutations to evoke your feminine side.
Filmed by Saraswati at Studio 206 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Hatha Yoga Teacher Cynthia Woodring breaks down the strength and poise required for Garudasana, Eagle Pose.
Captured as part of our in the studio series with Saraswati, this interview highlights the work of Street Yoga, a non-profit organization in Portland, Oregon. Street Yoga's mission is to give youth and their caregivers the tools to overcome early life trauma, through the sharing of life-building mindfulness and wellness practices grounded in the ancient healing principles of yoga. Street Yoga holds teacher trainings across the US. Check out www.streetyoga.org for more information.
iHanuman is honored to offer you the third in our series of lectures from the First Annual NIH Yoga Week. Timothy McCall, M.D. is a board-certified internist, the Medical Editor of Yoga Journal, and the author of two books, including Yoga as Medicine. Since 2000, his main focus has been examining the therapeutic aspects of yoga from a scientific perspective. His most recent book,Yoga As Medicine, begins to address the question which the NIH Yoga Week asks: "How can doctors and researchers bring Yoga into the main stream as a therapeutic modality with scientific support?" Dr. McCall is a critical spokesperson as a researcher AND practitioner of yoga for over 10 years.
Hanuman is the monkey god most renowned for his service, strength and devotion. His story is told as part of the Hindu Mythological Epic, The Ramayana. This week, we would like to offer a free audio download of a yoga class dedicated to Hanuman, called Hanumanasana.
Victor Van Kooten was born in Holland and began practicing yoga in 1966 with renowned teacher Dona Holleman. He moved to Pune, India to study with B.K.S. Iyengar and became one of the first certified Senior Advanced Iyengar teachers in the world. Following a traumatic experience that left him partially paralyzed, he became fascinated with the energy body and began to explore its subtle wisdom and healing power. The insights that accompanied his eventual recovery caused him to look anew at how yoga was being taught and to question the efficacy of forceful practices and methods.

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