Hatha Yoga (the yoga of physical movement).

Hatha is the branch of yoga in which we use the physical practices – including postures, breathwork, dietary selection, and other “external” means – to build better control of our thoughts in order to move ultimately toward one-mindedness.

As part of this, we strive to balance the body and mind, with the understanding that they are always in fluctuation.

Goal: To gain freedom through physical discipline.

How to get there: Through practicing the 8 limbs of yoga.

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Yamas and Niyamas,

The five yamas are moral directives intended to guide the practitioner’s behavior towards others.

  • Ahimsa: Nonviolence towards others.
  • Satya: Truthfulness.
  • Asteya: Not stealing from others. Though this probably had a literal meaning originally, it has been extended to mean not putting others down to build yourself up.
  • Brahmacharya: Chastity. Whether this means celibacy or simply controlling one’s sexual impulses is open to interpretation.

While the yamas direct one’s behavior towards others, the niyamas describe how to act ethically towards oneself.  The 5 niyamas are:

  • Saucha: Cleanliness. Again, probably a practical meaning originally but has a modern interpretation keeping your intentions pure.
  • Santosa: Contentment with oneself.
  • Tapas: Self discipline. Having the commitment to sustain a practice.
  • Svadhyaya: Self study. Having the courage to look within yourself for answers.
  • Isvara pranidhana: Surrender to a higher power. Whether that is a deity or the acceptance that the world is governed by forces outside of our control is up to you.

Together, these two sets of rules were meant to guide one to a righteous lifestyle.

Asana

The practice of yoga postures, although it should be noted that the word asana means seat.

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Pranayama

The practice of breathing exercises. Choosing to control the breath for specific effects.

Pratyahara

The withdrawal of the senses, meaning that the exterior world is not a distraction from the interior world within oneself.

Dharana

Concentration, or the ability to focus on something uninterrupted by external or internal distractions. Dharana builds upon pratyahara.

Once you can ignore external stimuli, you can begin to direct your concentration elsewhere.

Dhyana

Meditation. Building upon dharana, your are able to expand your concentration beyond a single thing so that it becomes all encompassing

Samadhi

Bliss. After you have achieved dhyana, the transcendence of the self through meditation can begin. The self merges with the universe, which is sometimes translated as enlightenment.

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Bhakti Yoga. (the yoga of devotion)

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While Hatha Yoga requires a strong and flexible body, Raja Yoga requires a disciplined and concentrated mind, and Jnana Yoga requires a keen intellect, the only requirement for Bhakti Yoga is an open, loving heart. 

GOAL: To develop a personal relationship with the ‘divine’, which could include a higher power, nature, or the self.

HOW TO GET THERE: Prayer, chanting or your own preferred way of expressing devotion.

MORE INFO:

Bhakti means “devotion” or “love” and this path contains various practices to unite the practitioner with the Divine.

Bhakti Yoga is considered the most direct method to experience the unity of mind, body and spirit.

This deeply spiritual practice draws heavily on the Hindu deities. Each of these deities is seen as representing a human aspect of the single Godhead or Brahman (similar to the way Christian saints represent specific attributes and qualities of God). The use of Hindu deities in Bhakti Yoga can be a large obstacle for Western practitioners, especially for those with a deeply religious background. But the use of the Hindu deities is not required for this practice.

 

The most popular limb of Bhakti Yoga in the West is  Kirtan,  with national and local Kirtan walas performing weekly in small to large cities. Bhakti Yoga can be practiced by itself or be integrated into other types of yoga or spiritual practices.

Branches of Yoga.

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What opens your heart to being receptive to new ideas, creativity and compassion?

There are many branches of yoga that reflect the diversity in our temperament, personalities and goals.

There is a style of yoga for everyone! Maybe your goal is to exercise, or open your heart and quiet your mind, maybe it’s music or service to others?

Here are a few of the modern forms of yoga and I will be writing a short blurb about each individually.

 

BHAKTI YOGA (Devotion)

HATHA YOGA (Physical Exercise)

JNANA YOGA (Wisdom)

KARMA YOGA (Service)

MANTRA YOGA (Sound)

RAJA YOGA (Meditation)

TANTRA YOGA (study of the universal from the point of view of the individual)

One Love San Francisco

one love serve

I’d like to invite you to join me and my friends, Danni Pomplun, Martin Scott and Susannah Freedman to take your yoga off the mat and help us give back to underserved and homeless youth.

Please join us for One Love’s San Francisco 2016 Charity Yoga Event! Help us give back to the SF community and make a positive impact in the lives of local and global underprivileged youth. Your ticket purchase will be a direct donation locally to Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco, aiding to get homeless and at-risk kids off the street, and globally to the One Love shelter in India, which is home to 20 kids rescued from the streets.

Date: Saturday, June 18th 2016
Time: 1:30 – 3:30pm (doors open 12:45pm – arrive early to save your mat space)
Location: Yoga Tree, Castro (97 Collingwood St, San Francisco, CA 94114)
Tickets start at $30. available here: https://www.movewith.com/at/onelovemovementsf

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Yoga Teachers

teachers

Thank you to LYFT for making it easy for our yogis to get around
NEW LYFT USERS get $50 in credit towards their first 10 rides. Promo code: lyfttoonelove
https://www.lyft.com/invited/lyfttoonelove

EXISTING LYFT USERS get a 25% discount on their Lyft ride to or from Yoga Tree Castro on the day of the event (June 18th). As long as your ride begins or ends at the event, the code will be applicable. Promo code: Ridetoonelove
https://www.lyft.com/invited/Ridetoonelove

Easy Cheesecake

This past weekend we celebrated my big brother’s birthday, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Justin!

I made a no-bake cheesecake that I thought was super tasty and thought I would share the recipe with you here.

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I decided to make the crust myself by combining 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup melted butter (I also added a little cinnamon, but that is optional).

Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and bake for 8 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven. Cool completely.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces prepared whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 prepared graham cracker crust (6 ounces)
  • 1 pound fresh berries for decoration

From cell to birth… (a yoga lesson)

The human body (which is made up of about 100 trillion cells) begins as a single, newly fertilized cell.

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Nutrients need to get through the cell membrane, and once inside, the cell metabolizes these nutrients and turn them into energy that fuels its life functions. As a result, waste is generated and needs to somehow get back out through the membrane.

Any impairment in the membranes ability to let nutrients in, or waste out, will result in the death of the cell via starvation or toxicity.

The observation that all living things take in nutrients provides a good understanding of Prana, which is what nourishes a living thing. Prana is not only what is brought in as nourishment, but also the action that brings it in.

The yogic concept that complements prana is apana. Apana refers to what is eliminated as well as the action of elimination. Prana and Apana describe the essential activities of life.

In order for a cell to thrive, certain conditions need to exist. The cell needs to be permeable so nutrients and waste can pass in and out of the cell, but it can’t be so permeable that the cell wall loses its integrity.

The yogic term that reflects these opposites are sthira and sukha. All living things need to balance containment and permiability, rigidity and fluidity, persistence and adaptability, space and boundaries, etc…

 

Let’s look at the things that happen at the start of life on earth.

In utero, oxygen is delivered through the umbilical cord (the mother does the breathing), your lungs are sealed off and non functional or mostly collapsed. The circulatory system is largely reversed, with oxygen rich blood flowing through the veins and oxygen depleted blood flowing through the arteries. (I will go into much finer detail of this in another blog post)

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Being born means being severed from the umbilical cord, which has sustained you for nine months. Suddenly, and for the first time, you need to engage in actions that will ensure your continued survival.

The first breath causes blood to surge into the lungs; the right and left sides of the heart to separate into two pumps; and the specialized vessels of fetal circulation to shut down and seal off. Your first breath is the most forceful one as it needs to overcome the initial surface tension of your previously collapsed, fluid-filled lungs.

 

Another first time experience that occurs at birth is the weight of the body in space. Inside the womb, you are in a weightless, fluid filled environment. At birth, your universe expands and you can move freely in space, your limbs and head can move freely in relation to your body and you must be supported in gravity.

 

Right away, you have to start DOING something, you have to find nourishment, which involves a complex action of simultaneously breathing, sucking and swallowing. All the muscles involved in the act of survival create your first postural skill – supporting the weight of your head.

Postural development continues from the head downward, until you begin walking, with the completion of your lumbar spine at about 10yrs old.

 

To summarize: At birth you are confronted by two forces that were not present in utero: breath and gravity. The practice of yoga can be seen as a way to consciously explore the relationship of breath and posture.

 

In the language of yoga: Life on this planet requires an integrated relationship between breath )prana/apana) and posture (sthira/sukha). When things go wrong with one, they go wrong with the other.

 

Content from Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff