More on Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti means love and selfless devotion.

We’re beginning with nose-to-knee challenge posture. Then we’ll continue with side-stretches and come to sitting through the boat. Checking that we’re up on the ‘sit-bones’, we’ll move into paschimottonasana, the east west stretch, followed by janu-sirsasana (all forms). Let’s do our purvottonasana back-stretch, before continuing with all the seated twists.

Butterfly knees next, with rocking buddha, merudandasana balance and the tortoise pose. Our last posture will be the cosmic egg – such a good balance, and it strengthens the abdominal muscles too!

During meditation, we’ll count mantra on our fingers. We’ll use the well-beloved mantra ‘OM MANI PADME HUM’.

Relaxation will be Anu Loma Viloma Kriya. This brings into balance the right and the left, the solar and the lunar.

Last class of this term next week, so that’s April 6th and 7th. We return on April 27th and 28th. This is for an 11 week summer term. The annual retreat this year is on July 28th/30th.

In true Bhakti Yoga spirit, I bid you farewell with love, light and blessings,

Carole xxx

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Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti Yoga is the yoga of love and devotion. A Bhakta is a devotee; Bhakti means worship or devotion; Bhakti Marga is the path to realisation through devotion; and Bhakti yoga is one of the four major branches of yoga, the others being Raja, Karma and Jnana.

Let’s begin our class this week with 3 resounding ‘OM’s’. We’ll greet our challenge posture – nose to knee – then come to sitting through the boat. Now up to standing for the Tree of Life breath. Moving from Warrior 2 through to Triangle, and then deep immersion into the Mountain Sequence. Shall we try two balance postures? Working with outer balance brings inner balance, and that is so needed in our turbulent world.

Back down to the mat through the squat, and then we’ll have a good look at the half-headstand. It’s great to look at the world from another angle!

Meditation is a chant, ‘OM Namah Shivaya’. It’s set to quite a jolly tune which I’m hoping we’ll all find uplifting.

Relaxation is all about breathing in ‘OM’ on the inhalation, then breathing out ‘OM’ on the exhalation.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Enquire, enquire, enquire

We’re continuing our work with Jnana Yoga, the path of knowledge.

This week we’re going to work with Pawanmuktasana 1, the anti-rheumatic group, Pawanmuktasana 2, the anti-gastric group, and Pawanmuktasana 3, the energy release group. These methodical exercises keep the joints, digestive system and energy body healthy. I like to work with these systems once every term so that you can learn them thoroughly and use them at home.

The meditation will be Sama Vritti Pranayama – the square breath, and the relaxation will use the head movement from Kaya Kriya.

Jnana Yoga teaches us to enquire, to strip away the layers until we find our truth. Krishnamurti said that ‘truth is a pathless land’…Jnana Sakti means the power of knowledge.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

 

Jnana Yoga

Jnana Yoga is the yoga of knowledge. Krishnamurti was a Jnana yogi. this week, let’s question our practice. Why do we do this? Why do we do this in this way?

We’ll begin with a reading from Krishnamurti, then go into our warm-ups. Nose-to-knee will be our first posture. It’s our challenge for this half-term. We’ll continue into yogic sit-ups, then Kapalabhati. Moving on to cat pose. We’ll work with bringing the knee to the nose here too.

Let’s stand and reacquaint ourselves with Mula Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha. Then we’ll work with Agni Sara – a great movement to assist the digestive process and to tone the abdomen. After a rest in mountain, we’ll try standing twists and a balance posture.

Salutation to the moon is a beautiful moving meditation. Let’s see if it helps us to clear the everyday chatter from the mind. Then we can seek real knowledge by listening with attention.

The squat will take us back to the mat where we’ll rest in cosmic egg. After the shoulder rotations, where we’re seeking ‘space’ by incorporating different movements, we’ll meditate on the words of Mahatma Gandhi, ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world’.

Relaxation will employ the mind to move around the body and to bring rest to each part.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Twist, twist and twist again

We’re continuing our focus on Karma Yoga. To serve our nervous systems, digestive systems and our spines, we’ll be working with twists.

The reading is an old Hindu rhyme: “Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a characteristic. Sow a characteristic, reap a destiny.”

Let’s begin with lying twists. We’ll explore all forms. Next, we’ll move into nose-to-knee poses. Apanasana will be our challenge pose for this half-term. We’ll repeat the twist postures before moving on to bridges. A third repetition of twists will follow the bridges.

Coming up through the boat, we’ll proceed with seated twists. We’ll explore all forms. Then we’ll move into a forward bend, before repeating the seated twists. A backward bend will allow the spine to stretch out thoroughly before we repeat the twists again. We’ll finish the practice with the mermaid pose.

At a convenient point in the practice, we’ll use Kapalabhati.

Meditation is ‘sitting in your heart’ – the place from whence unconditional love springs.

Relaxation is going to focus on the breath, breathe in peace, breathe out love.

Remember Thich Nhat Hanh tells us that the world needs your happiness, so BE HAPPY!

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti