What is Yoga?
Yoga means “to yoke” or “union.” It connects mind, body, and spirit through the practices of asana, pranayama, meditation, and mantra.
Asana is the most widely recognized element of yoga but is just a small part of the entire practice. Asanas are the postures or poses. You are probably familiar with Downward Facing Dog or Tree Pose but there are thousands of asanas to choose from. Postures strengthen and lengthen muscles in moving meditation.
Pranayama is a vital element! It means life force or energy. This is the breathwork portion of the class. Breath is life! Ujjai, or Ocean-Sounding, breath and the Yogic 3-Part breath are most commonly known. There are so many breath techniques to try! Some encourage calm while others energize.
If you believe that meditation is the attempt to make your mind “blank,” you are wrong. Meditation begins with the withdrawal of senses (pratyahara), moves to an intense focus (dharana), becomes a flow (dhyana), and leads to bliss (samadhi). Benefits of meditation include improved focus and mental function, reduced stress, better emotion management including anxiety, and better sleep.
Often a portion of the class that gets dropped from classes in Western Society. Mantra is the sound work of yoga. Chanting mantras such as “OM” (the universal sound), “Har Hari Haray Wahe Guru” (a creativity mantra), or very lengthy one like the Akhanda Mantra can be intimidating to learn. These mantras work with sound vibration which can affect the energy body. Don’t worry if this doesn’t feel right for you, you can just listen and not all classes incorporate it.
MY YOGA JOURNEY
In December of 2015, I signed up for a Wild Women Expeditions trip in Nelson, BC. One of the activities we would be participating in was Yoga. Because I didn’t want to look stupid, I signed up to take classes with Tapestry Yoga in Prince Albert, SK. While I was expecting to learn how to stretch, I didn’t expect that it would be so much more than that!
My experience on that trip was so wonderful that I wanted to recreate it back home, but my journey has proven to me how beneficial the yogic teachings are for everyone! Last December I signed up to become a teacher. No one tells you how life-changing the experience is! Lucky for me I had a wonderfully supportive teacher at home and incredibly knowledgeable teachers in Edmonton.
I completed my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training at Prana Yoga Studio. I was trained in the Akhanda Yoga tradition developed by Yogrishi Vishvketu. Akhanda is a beautiful and holistic practice that I am so excited to share with you!
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