A modern offshoot of traditional Hatha yoga, Ashtanga vinyasa takes a particularly rigorous form, in which the dynamic play between polar energies––be they solar and lunar, masculine and feminine, expansive and contractive–– are expressed and harmonized. Harnessing the expansive generosity of the breath, in Ashtanga we trace a line between effort and ease, strength and passivity, invigoration and exhaustion.
Three fundamental principles transcend the practice from exercise to a moving meditation. The first principle, vinyasa, connects movement to a focused intention in union with ujjayi pranayama (breathing with sound). The second principle, bandha, guides us to engage internal physio-energetic “locks”––primarily mula bandha (the root lock)––in order to elicit the power of kundalini, the Goddess, who resides at the base of the spine. Finally, the principle of drishti––or “gazing point”––provides the eyes and the mind with a point of focus in each posture, aiding in the adoption of a meditative state facilitating balance and poise.
Our classes at YoS will draw upon the first two of these series: yoga chikitsa (yoga therapy), which is concerned with the purification and strengthening of the physical body; and nadi shodana (nerve cleansing), which acts upon the nervous system and begins to bridge the gap between gross and subtle, preparing the way for the later branches of traditional ‘eight-limbed’ (ashtanga) yoga.
Dharma yoga is a modern interpretation of classical Eight-limbed or Hatha-Raja Yoga, formalized by Sri Dharma Mittra in 1975. Dharma yoga is deeply rooted in ethical precepts that includes elements of flowing Vinyasa, inversions and held poses that will help you to discover concentration, meditation, abiding contentedness and deep healing relaxation. The asanas (physical postures) tone and invigorate the body and mind, leading to enhanced flexibility, strength, balance and concentration.
The pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditative techniques regulate the heartbeat, de-stress the nervous system and calm the mind. Guided deep healing relaxation (Yoga Nidra) relieves stress, slows down the thoughts, calms the mind and recharges one’s physical body. Dharma yoga is a complete practice that will lead to radiant health, a peaceful life and, eventually self-realization. Dharma yoga is traditional, yet contemporary — perfect for today’s fast-paced world.