(Hatha) Yoga – Changing your BODY to change your MIND
Through yoga and working consciously with the body, we target stress issues (physical and emotional) in the body and the mind. ASANA (physical practices/poses) and PRANAYAMA (breathing practices) are the most common parts of Hatha yoga, which prepare the body-mind for deeper states of concentration, MEDITATION.
The phrase “the issues are in your tissues” implies the fact that we hold our issues in the body. Our issues most often spring from physical or emotional trauma/stress (new and old) and unbalanced, sedentary life-styles (stress, too little movement, repetitive movement patterns/overloading certain tissues, too little conscious rest and unhealthy eating and drinking).
The longer you wait to address your issues through conscious movement and bodywork, the more stuck the patterns in the body will become. The paths and functions of the nervous system will become wired in such a way that you’ll see your life-patterns repeating themselves again and again. Through inactivity, stress or overload, bodily tissues will get stuck or injured; they glue together, tense up, get worn down or torn and form inside scars. The patterns of your body and breath will reinforce your issues through repetition. CHANGING the patterns of your body and breath will change the function and form of your bodily tissues as well as the wiring of your nervous system. Through repetition of new and more healthy patterns of breathing and moving your body, you’ll see your life-patterns change; your issues will release along with releasing your tissues.
The asana and pranayama techniques of Hatha yoga aim to perfect the functions of body and mind and cultivate “life force energy”. Life force energy (called PRANA in Sanskrit) may be a word for the effectiveness of circulation of energy through the different but connected systems of the body-mind (for example the nervous and endocrine systems), which is also connected to our surroundings, the people and Universe around us. When the body-mind is in balance, the soul/spirit is free to “do its work”, which may be experienced as the drive and intuition for your LIFE PURPOSE. This idea of prana is not a proven fact, but a current idea of mine. Don’t take my word for it, explore it yourself! And then I’d love to hear YOUR take on prana.
Hatha yoga can be seen as part of one of the main paths of yoga (all of which are YOGA) called Raja yoga. Raja yoga main focus is on meditation and transcending the thoughts of the mind, but it encompasses the whole of yoga. The other three paths of yoga are Karma yoga (dealing with our actions in the world), Bhakti yoga (the path of devotion and love) and Jnana yoga (the path of knowledge and contemplation). Yoga is along with Vedanta and Tantra the main practices of the Himalayan masters (a 5000 year old teacher lineage), all of which aim for SELF-REALIZATION/ENLIGHTENMENT (knowing who/what you are, body, mind and soul). These traditions and the paths of yoga all come together in the yoga of the modern Western world, some parts are more emphasized than others (like asana), some are very uncommon (like the advanced internal practices of tantra).
We can read and talk about yoga, but nothing beats personal experience!
To know the deeper and subtler effects of yoga practice, you need to EXPERIENCE it for YOURSELF.
PRACTICE IS THE PATH.
My current styles of yoga teaching
Vinyasa yoga is a modern yoga asana style, where the poses flow one into another, following the breath. Ashtanga yoga and Power yoga can be considered types of vinyasa yoga practices. Vinyasa yoga in general does not comprise of a set series of poses, but chosen poses that flow together with the vinyasa sequence Plank-Chaturanga-Updog-Downdog (with variations).
It’s a creative flow of yoga that can vary in level, pace and include other elements of yoga (depending on the yoga teacher). Classes follow the same framework, but the theme differs from class to class (main focus area, types of poses, approach, philosophical theme etc).
I’m geared towards strong vinyasa practices, but also enjoy teaching soft and gentle practices. I like to include bits of pranayama (breath practices), bandhas (energetic locks/engagement of certain muscles in the body), philosophy and meditation, especially in my more deep-diving classes.
I teach soft vinyasa and beginner’s vinyasa as well as hot vinyasa and power vinyasa.
Yin yoga is a quiet and still form of yoga asana practice, with seated and supine poses that are held for longer periods of time (1-10 minutes, depending on pose and individual needs, usually 3-5 minutes in a group class). In yin yoga we relax the muscles to target the connective tissues of the body; muscular envelopes, ligaments, tendons and joint capsules, in order to strengthen and hydrate these tissues to increase their mobility.
In Yin yoga, we release tensions stored in the body, we practice relaxation, we learn to consciously use the breath and we practice being fully present (“mindful”).
It’s a very meditative form of yoga asana practice, originating from Daoist yoga and Chinese medicine principles. It was introduced to the West with Paulie Zink, a Taoist yoga and martial arts teacher. His student Paul Grilley further developed and spread Yin yoga. Sarah Powers and Bernie Clark are other yin yoga teachers that have contributed a lot to spreading the practices and philosophies of Yin yoga.
Yin yoga is, like other yoga asana practices, a body-mind practice; great for the physical body, and great for learning to BE with yourself, your thoughts, emotions and sensations, the uncomfortable and challenging as well as the joy, release and relaxation. Allowing yourself to observe and relax body and mind whatever arises. Learning self-compassion. GROWING LOVE THROUGH LETTING GO.
I teach “pure” yin classes, yin/yang-classes and yin yoga with meditation.
Hatha Yoga – traditional
These hatha yoga classes are composed of dynamic poses, static poses and breathing techniques. The dynamic poses are often more gentle and light than the modern vinyasa yoga style sequences. In this practice you will cultivate flexibility, strength, body-mind awareness and presence. Classes are suitable for all levels of yoga practitioners.
Dynamic exercises and poses flowing from one to another. Similar to vinyasa yoga but without the regular vinyasa-sequence of plank-chaturanga-updog-downdog.
In this practice you will cultivate flexibility, strength, body-mind awareness and presence. Classes are suitable for all levels of yoga practitioners.
A deeply relaxing and healing technique using the process of sleep. Yoga Nidra is practiced in complete stillness in Savasana pose. The practitioner is guided into a deeply relaxed state where deep held attachments/blockages can be released and the practitioner can experience a spacious state of Consciousness.
All forms of yoga asana (physical poses) are practiced to BALANCE and CREATE HEALTH in body and mind. With practice you will learn to choose the yoga you need every day to come into balance.
My yoga experience & teaching
Since I completed my Yoga Alliance certified Yoga Teacher Training (200 hrs) with Swara Yoga school in May 2013, I’ve been teaching in schools, yoga studios and gyms as well as corporate yoga. Yoga teaching is my main occupation since spring 2015.
I took my first few yoga classes in 1996, but didn’t take a regular yoga course until 2004. After that I was on and off with yoga until around 2008 when I started a regular and dedicated practice. During my yoga journey I’ve encountered a range of different yoga styles, of which I spent more time practicing: ashtanga, iyengar, bikram, kundalini, vinyasa flow, yin and classical hatha yoga and meditation.
After completing my Yoga Teacher Training I’ve continued my practice and learning through trainings, workshops and immersions with teachers like Sianna Sherman, Tara Judelle, Michael Stone and Kia Miller. In 2017 I’m completing a Yin yoga teacher training with Sofie Ringsten and a Yoga Nidra teacher training with Chitra Sukhu.
Teaching yoga is a great inspiration to me! It encourages me to dive deeper into all aspects of yoga and it feels very meaningful to share the practices that helped me improve my life in so many ways.
Yoga is a powerful practice: transcending, healing, transforming and linking together all parts of our being, clearing body and mind, leading to calm, strength, happiness, clarity and above all a greater awareness and presence in life. Yoga is a method, originally (and still!) aiming towards enlightenment. Understanding what we really are underneath all the sheaths of our human Being. Yoga provides a great toolbox to support, heal and develop ourselves, simultaneously bringing us to a greater understanding of connection, contributing to a healing evolution of life on planet Earth.
For your enlightenment!
My favorite, deep-diving website on yoga, tantra and meditation: http://swamij.com/