Most of us believe that the moment we step onto a yoga mat, we’re doing yoga. Our physical practice (asana) and breath work (pranayama) are important parts of yoga, but there’s so much more! Starting this month, we will introduce a studio theme at Kula each month so you can begin to take your practice out of the studio and into the world.
While the physical part of yoga is most well known to most, our Downward Dogs are only the tip of the iceberg. Yogic philosophy tells us that yoga actually contains eight limbs, or non-sequential steps: yamas (restraints), niyamas (observances), asana (poses), pranayama (breath), pratyahara (withdrawl of senses), dharana (focus), dhyana (state of meditation), and Samadhi (bliss). Our studio themes will start to explore the first two, yamas and niyamas. Yamas and niyamas concern our behavior, lifestyle, how we respond and react to events and environment, as well as the way we deal with problems. More specifically yamas refer to the way we interact with others, and niyamas concern our attitude towards ourselves.
With these themes that are woven throughout our Hot, Flow, Yin and Barre classes, we hope you’ll come to understand what the concepts mean to you personally. The theme for March is Sauca/Saucha, or purity. We can relate this cleanliness both to our mind and body. So how can we summon Saucha on and off the mat?
Establish a consistent practice: When we heat the body through strong breath and strong movement, we purify the body from the inside out. When we create a daily ritual of yoga (whether it’s an hour long Hot class or 10 minutes of Sun Salutations at home) the body gets used this detoxification and will actually start to crave it.
Sweat- let it flow: During our yoga classes we tend to get pretty sweaty- and then we let toweling off or fixing our hair and clothes distract us from the practice. The sweat released from the body during a fiery practice can cleanse the body, don’t fight it!
Stay present: It’s essential to recognise that each moment is pure, just as it is. Instead of trying to rush through the present towards whatever lies ahead, or remain stuck in the past, finding a bit of acceptance in the “right now” is how we can keep the mind clean, clear and calm. By staying away from the “unclean” thoughts (fear, anxiety, ego, posessions) we open up space for authentic, kind and pure mind space.
Whether you’d like to purify the body with a Hot, Flow or Barre class or perhaps purify the mind with Yin, check out our class schedule to see how you can get on the mat today: https://kulayoga.com.au/classes.
About the author: Miranda Raimon is a yoga instructor, Kula studio manager and freelance health & wellness writer from the San Francisco Bay Area.