Why study yoga? For greater endurance, flexibility and strength? To lose weight, increase circulation and improve your posture? To relax and find inner peace? A steady Hatha yoga practice can offer all of these benefits. However, yoga is often misunderstood in the West as simply a system of physical fitness.
In Sanskrit, the root word “yuj" means to yoke or join. “Ha” means sun and “Tha” means moon: the joining of opposites. Five thousand years ago, Indian yogis were some of the original explorers of consciousness who charted a course that, to this day, is a living art and science of awakening to our true nature.
"Now, the teachings of yoga.
Yoga is the still the patterning of consciousness.
Then pure awareness can abide
in it's true nature".
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 1.1 -1.3
Although the most familiar and popular aspect of Hatha yoga studied in the United States is asana (posture) practice, Hatha Yoga is a progressive discipline incorporating 8 limbs referred to as ashtanga: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. Each limb serves as a guide for attuning our intention and attention to observing and releasing habitual patterns of tension that obstruct greater awareness of our true Self. In class we will explore introductory practices within seven of these eight limbs (the eighth limb is a state of being):
Yamas: learn and apply five social restraints - universal ethical behavior toward others.
Niyamas: learn and apply five personal observances.
Asana: caring for the physical body through posture practice. We will practice prone, supine poses, seated poses, standing, balancing, inverted and restorative postures.
Pranayama: regulation of breathing. We will learn energizing and calming breath exercises.
Pratyahara: drawing attention inwardly, away from sensory distractions.
Dharana: concentration on a single pointed focus in preparation for meditation. The breath will be the primary focal point for this practice.
Dhyana: cultivating witness consciousness through meditation.
Samadhi: I AM. This is not a practice that can be taught, only rediscovered.
My Yoga Journey:
A dedicated student of yoga since 1999, I have been leading yoga classes and playshops since 2006 and retreats since 2011. I earned my 200 hour teacher certification at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, am a registered yoga teacher (E-RYT) with the Yoga Alliance, a LifeForce Yoga Level 1 and 2 practitioner, studied Integrative Yoga Therapy and completed a 180 hour training Thai Yoga therapist certificate through Blue Lotus Thai. In 2012, I co-founded Sacred Breath Healing Studies, and studied and taught the art of Thai yoga massage for five years with Kelly Kempter, RTT, LMT, CPMT. I taught a two credit course on the philosophy and practice of Hatha Yoga at Washtenaw Community College from 2014-2021. My Hatha yoga classes are moderately paced with an invitation to practice gentle or vigorous variations of classic postures, with attention to breath regulation, meditation, ethics and philosophy. For more about my professional training, visit my About page.