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Monday night Jivamukti Open classes

 

Brand new Monday 6:15pm Jivamukti Open classes at GO YOGA!

Created by Sharon Gannon and David Life, Jivamukti Yoga is one of the nine internationally recognised styles of Yoga and is open to all levels.

Whether you’re a beginner, deciphering the difference between vrksasana (tree) and sirshasana (headstand) or an advanced yogi who can put both feet behind their head, open class is for you.

Every class includes Sanksrit chanting, breathing practices, flowing vinyasa and asana sequences, physical alignment exploration, Yogic philosophical teachings drawn from the Focus of the Month, meditation and deep relaxation. Music plays an integral role and each class features an eclectic playlist ranging from Indian kirtan to hip-hop, rock, funk, trance, classical and spoken word.

In short, Jivamukti Open is a comprehensive yoga class that transforms, invigorates and energizes, while at the same time grounding and leading the student inward on an exploration of the deeper spiritual aspects of the self.

If you are wishing to join in there’s no need to pre-register, just remember to book in each week by no later than the Saturday before each Monday class.

Read more about the Jivamukti Open Yoga Class
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Asana Practice and the True Goal of Yoga

Autobiography of a Yogi book

Autobiography of a Yogi book

Recently I re-read one of the most influential Yoga books in recent history, Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda. There are so many thought-provoking messages in this text that you could blink through a line of prose and miss out. One teaching that seemed particularly relevant to Yoga practice on the mat occurred to me in chapter 7. Here, the author describes his first encounter with the levitating saint, Bhaduri Mahasaya, and his remarkable feats. During this first encounter, the Saint and the young Paramhansa enter the meditative state. After about an hour, the spiritual teacher rouses Paramhansa from his silence and cautions him on not confusing the technique of meditation for the goal. The young man loves to mediate and his teacher can see how fond he is of entering the meditative state for the feelings it gives him. Yet the true goal of meditation is not just to quiet the mind and “drop out”, it’s a method for developing actual perception of the Divine.

I can see many parallels in this wise teaching to how we all in the West sometimes confuse the practice of Yoga asana for the true goal of Yoga. We can become very attached to how well we perceive we “perform” in Yoga class, with judgements about how we can’t do this pose or think we are really good at that one. We can become attached to the buzz, the way that yoga class makes us feel afterwards. We can find ourselves growing fonder of practising asana to improve our physical body. We can get caught up in the belief that Yoga class gives us an opportunity to also “drop out” of the world, when in fact the true goal is to more fully “drop in”. All of these scenarios mask the truth. So like Paramhansa with meditation, we shouldn’t confuse the technique of asana for the ultimate goal – that asana practice is a method for purifying our karmas to liberate us from feeling separateness. It can lead us to the true goal of Yoga, realisation of our own union with the Divine.

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How Practicing Yoga Postures Can Help Purify Your Karmas

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In my recent post, “Freedom from Karma…and from Chocolate Cake“, I explained what Karma Yoga is and ways to practice Karma Yoga; Off-the-mat practices to free ourselves from seeking external sources of happiness to fulfill desires, cravings, expectations and ambitions. But do you know that your physical practice of asana on the mat also provides a valuable opportunity to realise true happiness within yourself that is everlasting?

Most people already know that asana practice has many physical, physiological, mental and emotional advantages. If you are a regular student, you’ve probably already noticed any of the following therapeutic benefits:

  • Improved muscular strength, flexibility, coordination and balance.
  • Improved organ function and hormonal balance.
  • Increased mental clarity, confidence and ability to cope with stress.

Sharon Gannon refers to our bodies as “storehouses” for all of our past unresolved karmas. Western science and medicine are also now validating the side-effects of our life experiences – our bodies don’t only carry physical experiences, but mental and emotional trauma as well. It is well documented that our diet, habits, actions and our experiences can cause imbalances manifested within our body as injury, stress, chronic pain and disease. You may have heard the saying that we hold our “issues in our tissues”. We have bodies filled with toxins from the air we breath, the food we eat and the pharmaceuticals we ingest. Yet we also are composed of the karmic consequences of suffering, be it our own suffering or the suffering of others around us. When we are exposed to fear, violence and greed, these attributes promote a sense of detachment and isolation from the world around us. However, we do internalise the experience. We feel hurt or sick from such exposure, or at the very least uneasy in our own skin. Yoga philosophy affirms that the reality we think is external to us is actually a reflection of what is going on inside.

Practicing Yoga postures gives us a sacred and safe opportunity to go inside, to analyse our own physicality, physiology and psychology. If we approach our asana practice with curiosity, we can uncover holding patterns, beliefs and tendencies ingrained within us that don’t serve us, tendencies that we may have thought were outside of us and impossible to change. Once these ill-thoughts and habits (i.e. our karmas) are brought to the surface, to our consciousness, we have a greater chance of calling upon change or letting them go. We can begin to ask ourselves questions like “what is this I feel?”, “where has this resistance come from?”, “why am I still carrying it here with me?”. So through the physical practice we can begin to gain insight into our own personality – the way we see ourselves shifts, it becomes clearer and assured. We gain both strength and compassion from within. We can then use our practice on the mat to strengthen, stretch, twist out and essentially purify our bodies of our karmas, our experiences and relationships. We can find resolution and peace with our past, current and future situation and in doing so, discover who we truly are.

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