Karma Yoga

We’re reviewing the classical paths of yoga. Having explored hatha yoga and raja yoga, we’re moving on to karma yoga. This is the yoga of selfless service or action. Two karma yogis to consider would be Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa.

We’ll begin our practice with Dridha Kriya. This is a great way to re-align the spine – home performed osteopathy!

Let’s take a last in-depth look at the Mountain pose, which has been our challenge this half-term. Moving smoothly into Salute to the Earth, repeated three times, and then we’ll work with the triangle and the reverse triangle.

On to parsvottonasana for a good back-bend and forward-bend. And then we’ll balance in the dancer’s pose. Let’s finish the standing poses in the Mountain.

Coming to seated through the squat, we’ll move into the forward bend, paschimottonasana, followed by the backward stretch, purvottonasana. The class will be completed with seated twists, and possibly the mermaid, if there’s time.

We’ll action karma yoga in the meditation and the relaxation. Sending out the light to a chosen person in the former, and asking the question, ‘How can I serve myself’ in the latter.

It’s half-term next week!

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

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Bringing ourselves into a meditative place

We’re continuing our focus on raja yoga. We’ll begin our practice in relaxation pose, thinking the sound ‘OM’ on the in-breath and ‘OM’ on the out-breath. Then, after the stretches and warm-ups, we’ll sit for kapalabhati.

Standing, we’ll review the mountain pose before doing three rounds of salute to the sun. Having returned to the mat through the squat, we’ll attempt the crow balance, followed by the gate sequence. (There’s a sitting version for anyone with knee issues.)

Moving on to the abdomen, let’s spend time with the cobra, locust and bow. Then it’s time for a lovely counter-stretch in the form of the swan, and its variation.

After the cool-downs, we’ll sit for meditation – silent repetition of ‘OM MANI PADME HUM’.

During the relaxation, I’ll sing the GAYATRI MANTRA to you.

This practice is designed to bring us to a meditative state of mind. How long will it last?!

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Raja Yoga

As we continue our journey through the classical paths of yoga, this week we’ll be looking at Raja Yoga. Raja means royal or king, and this is the yoga of meditation. Our previous subject, Hatha Yoga, has led us here through self-awareness and a growing knowledge of our inner being.

Let’s begin by looking at the world from a different angle. We’ll practise shoulderstand, plough, fish and the bridges. After a gentle twist movement, we’ll work with supine side-stretches. Coming up through the boat, we’ll move on to the camel. Those with knee problems will be given an alternative.

All standing for the mountain pose! This is the posture that we’re repeating each week this half-term. We’ll continue into the mountain sequence, with the arms shoulder width apart

Now let’s attempt the tree balance. Can we open the arms wide like branches?

Back to the mat through the squat and, after the cool-downs, we’ll meditate on SO-HAM. We ‘think’ the sound ‘So’ on the in-breath, and the sound ‘Ham’ on the out-breath. These two sounds mean ‘I am that I am’. Raja yoga leads us to a deep understanding of ourselves.

Oh, do let’s have some sunshine for our relaxation! We’ll work with Surya Kriya and recharge our batteries.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti