YOGA IS ONE.

Photo credit Mikael Ståhle
What style of yoga do you teach?

This is a question that I get asked often. My roots are in Ashtanga Yoga and I have great reverence for the practice. An immersion in the traditional method of Ashtanga — a 6 AM practice of a dynamic series of postures 6 times a week — will jump-start the physical, mental, and energetic processes towards a radiant, healthy, pure, balanced and fully realized You.

But isn’t it just acrobatics?

Some “critics” deem that the practice of Ashtanga (and other forms of Hatha Yoga, where the initial focus is on the posture practice) is nothing but gymnastics, calisthenics or acrobatics. Given the ubiquity of images of yogis upside down, bent over backwards, with legs behind their head and God knows what else, it would be fairly easy to dismiss the practice of Hatha Yoga as something that works solely the physical body. But — like anyone who has embraced the path of yoga will attest — as the practice deepens with time, one comes to notice that the gross manifestation of the practice (the postures) is a tool that helps one us maintain the integrity and strength of the physical body that in turn helps to sustain, purify and align the more subtle and expansive levels of our blessed existence.

Working through the levels of existence

Hatha Yoga starts the work towards self-realization from the gross level and progresses towards the more subtle ones. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Guruji, the father of Ashtanga Yoga, recognized that the physical body is often out of alignment, weak and ridden with toxins. A consciousness inhabiting such a body will find it rather challenging to access to more expansive levels of Being.

To be sure, the practice of Ashtanga Yoga (like other Hatha Yoga practices) purifies and aligns all levels of the human organism. It begins with the physical body, breath by breath moving on to the more subtle levels of existence. Outwardly the practice consists of a series of postures (asanas) linked together by the flowing breath (vinyasa), focusing the gaze (drishti), and using the energetic locks (bandhas) to preserve energy or prana, and to guide its flow. The form of the practice — the series of postures — remains the same every time. Meanwhile, the subtle effects of the meditative dance change everyday as we evolve with it. As the practitioner deepens the practice and mindfully incorporates to it the seven other limbs of Patanjali’s yoga: the development of a virtuous character (yama and niyama), conscious breathing (pranayama), withdrawal of the senses (pratyahara) concentration (dharana) meditation (dhyana) and finally experiencing the unity of all there is (samadhi) the true nature of the yogic aspirant as a limitless Being of Light becomes more apparent with every vinyasa.

Ashtanga Yoga holds massive potential to improve the physical, mental and emotional well-being of anyone who chooses to embark on the journey.

However, the Ashtanga method is like everything else that manifests in the physical realm — forever changing and evolving. The practice taught by myself and others at this point in time is not identical to the form it was passed on to Guruji’s first students in the 40’s and 50’s. As humanity continues to evolve so shall the tools for our self-realization adapt. Yet the parampara or lineage of Ashtanga has been beautifully maintained, and the essence of the teachings continue to be passed on with integrity and gratitude. I too am committed to emanating the method as it has been given to me (albeit allowing for fluctuations in the intensity and expression of the practice in accordance with each aspirant’s needs and intentions). Ashtanga Yoga holds massive potential to improve the physical, mental and emotional well-being of anyone who chooses to embark on the journey.

Yoga is a fast-track to conscious evolution.

Letting go of the attachment to form

Even if the Ashtanga method isn’t for you, I invite you to join me on the path of Yoga. There is no need to be dogmatic or to deny the validity of any and all paths that connect us with the Source. Yoga in its various manifestations (Kriya, Jñāna, Karma, Raja, Bhakti, Tantra…) is about increasing the awareness of our amazing human potential by tapping into, and aligning, the subtle bodies. The path — given to us by Patanjali — that consists of the development of a virtuous character, conscious breathing, a steady and comfortable posture, withdrawal of the senses, concentration, meditation, and finally experiencing the unity of all there is, is one practical, pragmatic method of upgrading our experience as human beings. It’s a fast-track to conscious evolution.

There is no need to be dogmatic or to deny the validity of any and all paths that connect us with the Source. Yoga in its various manifestations is about increasing the awareness of our amazing potential by tapping into and aligning the subtle bodies.

In essence Hatha Yoga is but one of the beautiful tools passed on to us by the teachers before us. Nevertheless, the practice has massively benefited me by bringing more vitality, joy, healing and peace into my life. Thus, my noble intention is to be an instrument of the Divine and facilitate the discovery of Your own path towards the highest Self. I encourage you to explore, with childlike curiosity, different modalities. The practice — whatever form it takes — will be Yours and it will help You be fully present in each moment to access the Source of love, healing and harmony that resides within. Welcome home ❤

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