Everything starts and ends from stillness.
Yoga is finding that stillness.
Ashtanga vinyasa yoga is a set sequence of postures that utilize movement linked with breath, creating heat to purify the mind and body. The Primary Series is the first sequence, titled Yoga Cikitsa (yoga therapy). It is a beautiful set of postures that target the spine with forward folds, backbends and twists, lengthening and mobilizing the spine, to heal the entire body.
Why do I continue practicing ashtanga yoga? It hasn’t been easy. Many people tell me that ashtanga is meant for teenage boys. The science of ayurveda tells me it is too much for my body. My schedule says that it is too much commitment. Yet every time I practice, I experience an energetic purification. I feel strengthened. I feel balanced. I feel inspired. I feel relaxed and de-stressed. Both my mind and body feel better. I practice ashtanga to stay healthy and to feel good.
A few lessons I have learned on the mat are:
1) Without the bad practices, you don’t appreciate the good ones.
2) In ashtanga, you take 3 steps forward, 2 steps back. It’s never a linear growth.
3) With a regular practice I don’t always notice how great I feel because great is the new normal. However, it’s when I don’t practice that the “junk” creeps in. I feel erratic, irritable, lethargic, unstable, reactive, and stressed. Fortunately my body tends to always feel good, but it’s my mind where I notice it the most.
Ashtanga (literally eight limbs in sanskrit) yoga was named after the section in Patañjali’s Yoga Sutras that defines the eight limbs. From social and personal ethics, to purifying the physical and subtle body, to reducing sensory input, to focusing the mind, this practice was designed to provide the practitioner with these benefits in one complete practice. Ultimately, the practice is to guide you to discover your true divine Self.
When talking to people about yoga, the things I hear most are they aren’t flexible and they can’t sit still or meditate; therefore they can’t do yoga. I always laugh because yoga isn’t a sport in which you must be skilled in order to participate! Yoga is for everyone, especially the inflexible and the active minds. This is why ashtanga, although very intimidating to a new practitioner, is the best way to dive into the amazing realms of yoga. It will quickly open the body, relax the mind and soothe the emotions. It just requires a little abhyasa. Abhyasa is a term from the Yoga Sutras that states with passion and dedication, yoga can be successfully practiced.
Come to an ashtanga class at Centered City Yoga or schedule a private yoga session.
- Build strength, flexibility and balance
- Increase prana (life energy)
- Purify the body
- Calm the mind
- Learn chanting & Sanskrit
Eight Limbs of Yoga
If you are familiar with yoga, you have probably read Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The first chapter is how to meditate, but many of us are not able to dive into that yet. So we jump to chapter two, the practices to prepare us for meditation.
The eight limbs of yoga are organized from the largest and most important the the most subtle. They are meant to be practiced daily, starting with Ahimsa (non-violence), the most important of all practices.
yama • niyama • asana • pranayama • pratyhara • dharana • dhyana • samadhi
To practice yoga, ideally one would first start with social and personal ethics. We need to behave like yogis. Next we prepare the body for meditation with postures and breath. Together they purify and open the channels. Next we go inward from our sensory perception so that we can focus the mind. This brings us to the final three limbs, the inner limbs, called samyoga. Here we begin to train the mind to focus and to go further inward, letting go of the external world, beginning to discover our true nature.
Yoga Teacher Training
Teaching yoga teachers is one of the greatest honors bestowed upon me. I have been teaching teacher trainings since 2010, all over Salt Lake City. I am a Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 and I have experience as a lead teacher for 200-hour training programs.
My passion is the language of yoga, Sanskrit. I love teaching Sanskrit for Yogis, which includes pose names and breaking them into their smaller parts to make them easier to understand. I use Sanskrit in all of my yoga classes and focus on pronunciation, being that Sanskrit is a vibrational language that carries meaning in the sounds. I include chanting (in Sanskrit of course!) in all of my classes; it focuses and transforms the mind. I have studied under Nicolai Bachman and with Niall Mandal of The School of Practical Philosophy.
Being an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor, I integrate the science of ayurveda into my yoga classes. Yoga and ayurveda are integrated tools for healing and they are meant to be used together. Without understanding the doshas and gunas, how can you understand balance and healing?
I have been practicing ashtanga yoga since 2007 and have been teaching it since 2010. I have an amazing ashtanga yoga module that many studios include in their training programs. It is part lecture and part practice that works through the Primary Series in order to experience the true essence of the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice. I keep everything very traditional while teaching, but I do offer modifications, philosophy and ayurveda to individualize the practice for each person’s body and mind.
I love to travel and meet with new studios! Please invite me to share my expertise with your students!
- Ashtanga Yoga