The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as “union” or a method of discipline. A male who practices yoga is called a yogi, a female practitioner, a yogini.
The Indian sage Patanjali is believed to have collated the practice of yoga into the Yoga Sutra an estimated 2,000 years ago. The Sutra is a collection of 195 statements that serves as a philosophical guidebook for most of the yoga that is practiced today. It also outlines eight limbs of yoga: the yamas (restraints), niyamas (observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyani (meditation), and samadhi (absorption). As we explore these eight limbs, we begin by refining our behavior in the outer world, and then we focus inwardly until we reach samadhi (liberation, enlightenment).
Today most people practicing yoga are engaged in the third limb, asana, which is a program of physical postures designed to purify the body and provide the physical strength and stamina required for long periods of meditation.
Ultimately, yoga is the art of remembering our goodness. It is an art in which each person can creatively and uniquely participate in the process of aligning with the flow of life using postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. The practice of yoga brings more awareness and integration of body and mind so that we can remember our spirit. Our lives begin to flow with more vitality and joy. Yoga means union of body, mind and spirit. At Lake Center Yoga, themes are interwoven through each class in a way that unites students to the deeper purpose of yoga.
Hatha is translated as ha meaning “sun” and tha meaning “moon.” This refers to the balance of masculine aspects—active, hot, sun—and feminine aspects—receptive, cool, moon—within all of us.
Hatha Yoga is is a path toward creating balance and uniting opposites. In our physical bodies we develop a balance of strength and flexibility. We also learn to balance our effort and surrender in each pose.
Hatha Yoga refers to a set of physical exercises (known as asanas or postures), and sequences of asanas, designed to align our skin, muscles, and bones. The postures are also designed to open the many channels of the body—especially the main channel, the spine-so that energy can flow freely.
Hatha Yoga is a powerful tool for self-transformation. It asks us to bring our attention to our breath, which helps us to still the fluctuations of the mind and be more present in the unfolding of each moment.
The term Hatha Yoga is includes all the various styles of yoga seen today including Anusara Yoga.
Unlike stretching or fitness, yoga is more than just physical postures. Patanjali’s eight-fold path illustrates how the physical practice is just one aspect of yoga. Even within the physical practice, yoga is unique because we connect the movement of the body and the fluctuations of the mind to the rhythm of our breath. Connecting the mind, body, and breath helps us to direct our attention inward. Through this process of inward attention, we learn to recognize our habitual thought patterns without labeling them, judging them, or trying to change them. We become more aware of our experiences from moment to moment. The awareness that we cultivate is what makes yoga a practice, rather than a task or a goal to be completed. Your body will most likely become much more flexible by doing yoga, and so will your mind.
Yoga is a thorough system for maintaining health and slowing down the aging process. Your yoga practice will help you develop greater flexibility and balance, tone and strengthen muscles, boost your immune system, increase physical energy and mental focus, improve digestion, and soothe the nervous system. The poses and breathing exercises also give a massage to your internal organs and glands. Consistent practice at home as well as in class will bring the maximum benefit, and help you reduce the damaging effects of stress. It is never too late to begin. Yoga is a gentle and gradual way to gain flexibility, strength and stamina at any age.
Yoga is not a religion. It is a philosophy that began in India an estimated 5,000 years ago. The father of yoga Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutra says the scriptures provide a framework for spiritual growth and mastery over the physical and mental body.
Yoga is a spiritual endeavor that supports and enhances your experience of your own faith by rewarding your efforts with a strong and supple body, an open and joyful heart, and a peaceful and focused mind. To appreciate what yoga has to offer to your heart and spiritual life as well as your physical health, you need an open, welcoming and supportive atmosphere in which you can enjoy the practice as a lively, playful and yet profound experience.
All Anusara Yoga teachers and Anusara Yoga studios aspire to provide that. Anusara Yoga asks only that you be open to the possibility of having a more expanded experience of the wisdom and goodness of your own heart, as well as of your own strength and ability – than you ordinarily assume for yourself. With that opening of the mind and heart, yoga offers a tremendous amount of guidance for you to find your way. It is not necessary to surrender your own religious beliefs to practice yoga.
Anusara® Yoga offers far more than a technique for doing poses. Our key emphasis is upon having the highest attitude and best understanding of the fullness of yoga as a discipline that opens you to the fullness of life and teaches you how to flow with life in body, mind and spirit.
In addition, Anusara Yoga combines the Anusara Yoga Universal Principles of Alignment with Hatha Yoga poses for a transformative practice of moving the life energy (prana) to more fully manifest your intentions in this world.
Much more than a physical exercise, this yoga celebrates and expands your individual gifts to express more play and connection to your Highest Good. By aligning yourself with the flow of life and integrating all aspects of your essential self, you will discover optimal strength, flexibility and a more joyful way of being.
This method is safe and empowering-physically, mentally and spiritually. The science of biomechanics blended with the basic understanding that all of us are manifestations of Divine Source, is a powerful way to live. Anusara Yoga teaches us more than poses, it gives us a new frame for experiencing our lives.
Absolutely! Through steady, intelligent practice, stiffer students will gain flexibility just as flexible students will gain more strength. Many people think that they need to be flexible to begin yoga, but that’s a little bit like thinking that you need to be able to play tennis in order to take tennis lessons. Come as you are and you will find that yoga practice will help you become more flexible.
The Anusara Yoga Universal Principles of Alignment will help you to access your flexibility from the inside out in a safe and powerful way. Anusara Yoga is always taught as balanced action regarding strength and flexibility. They must be developed simultaneously for safety and full expansion. This newfound agility will be balanced by strength, coordination, and enhanced cardiovascular health, as well as a sense of physical confidence and overall well-being.
Yoga is safe for people with chronic pain and/or injuries as long as it is taught according to principles of alignment by instructors who have experience and a good understanding of these principles and their application. Everyone at Lake Center Yoga begins with the Yoga 101 six-week course to learn the Anusara Yoga Universal Principles of Alignment and how to apply the Anusara Method to the poses as well as to pain relief of chronic or recent injuries.
In some cases, a private lesson may be the way to begin. Anusara Yoga is known for it’s therapeutic nature and all students are trained with the notion that yoga postures should never create pain, which is differentiated from the sensation of stretching muscles. We regard pain as a signal that an action is being performed in such a way that we are out of alignment. The alignment principles of Anusara Yoga have helped thousands of people strengthen and open their bodies intelligently, without injury, and have helped thousands more heal injuries through therapeutic application of yoga poses.
All you really need to begin practicing yoga is your body, your mind, and a bit of curiosity. But it is also helpful to have a pair of sweat pants, leggings, or shorts, and a t-shirt that’s not too baggy. Although Lake Center Yoga has mats for use, we recommend, for your personal hygiene, that you purchase your own mat. Also, your own mat becomes your sacred space for your yoga practice. Owning your own mat is a commitment to your practice.
No. Please remove your shoes and socks upon entering Lake Center Yoga as a way of respecting the ancient tradition of the East and to provide a clean environment in which to practice. It is best to practice in bare feet for best balance and traction on the yoga mat.
In yoga practice we twist from side to side, turn upside down, and bend forward and backward. If you have not fully digested your last meal, it will make itself known to you in ways that are not comfortable. If you are a person with a fast-acting digestive system and are afraid you might get hungry or feel weak during yoga class, experiment with a light snack such as yogurt, a few nuts, or juice about 30 minutes to an hour before class.
Om is a mantra, or vibration, that is traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of yoga sessions. It is said to be the sound of the universe. What does that mean?
Somehow the ancient yogis knew what scientists today are telling us-that the entire universe is moving. Nothing is ever solid or still. Everything that exists pulsates, creating a rhythmic vibration that the ancient yogis acknowledged with the sound of Om. We may not always be aware of this sound in our daily lives, but we can hear it in the rustling of the autumn leaves, the waves on the shore, the inside of a seashell.
Chanting Om allows us to recognize our experience as a reflection of how the whole universe moves—the setting sun, the rising moon, the ebb and flow of the tides, the beating of our hearts. As we chant Om, it takes us for a ride on this universal movement, through our breath, our awareness, and our physical energy, and we begin to sense a bigger connection that is both uplifting and soothing.
We follow the tradition of beginning our classes chanting Om and the Anusara Opening Invocation to create a sense of harmony and unity among the students in a powerful way.
The Divine in me salutes the Divine in you. I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the place in you of Love, of Light, of Truth, of Peace. I honor the place in you where if you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me we are One. We end class with this mantra which signifies union with all life.