Before we go full speed ahead with 2018, let's review what we covered in class last year. In class elements of yoga teachings & philosophies have been used to work movement (āsana), breath (prāṇa) and mind (citta) to improve how we feel, physically, energetically and mentally. In 2017, I have described the foundations of starting a yoga practice during classes to increase your understanding of the "the why's" of yoga practice on, and, off the mat.
“There are eight components of Yoga practice. These are yama, our attitudes toward our environment; niyama, our attitudes toward ourselves; āsana, the practice of body exercises; prāṇāyāma, the practice of breathing exercises; pratyāhāra, the restraint of our senses; dhārāna, the ability to direct our minds; dhyāna, the ability to develop interactions with what we seek to understand; and samādhi, complete integration with the object to be understood" TKV Desikachar.
At the beginning of the year we covered the yama and niyama. For those who would like a reminder, please see my posts, www.jatinderyoga.com/single-post/2017/02/05/5-Practical-Tips-on-the-Yamas and https://www.jatinderyoga.com/single-post/Some-Ideas-on-Niyama.
We looked at the qualities of āsana; sthirasukhamāsanam (balance of steadiness & comfort) in a standing balance posture; visualized different breathing (prāṇāyāma) practices to deepen the experience; and practiced mindful eating to demonstrate pratyāhāra, the role of the senses in our actions. Taking time to observe the senses of sight, smell, sound, touch before finally tasting a raisin, (one at a time) was an interesting exercise for many – a true appreciation of being in the present moment and a change of perception of dislike to like.
Later in the year we studied the cakra-model (pronounced chakra) for good health of the spine, how to breathe well in the postures, and the cakra-s as "points of concentration for the mind", (Desikachar). This is where we ended the year, at the sixth component, dhārāna, the ability to focus the mind on an object of choice.
I hope you now have a better understanding of the logic and ideas that guide our lessons, and that over the year you have found that the practices have improved both your physical and mental well-being. I feel honored and grateful that I have such great students that continue to inspire me.
Namaste, from Jatinder