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Bhakti – devotion, also loyalty -the way we commit ourselves to ourselves again and again through these practices -everyday we choose, bhakti yoga happens in first moments on waking, we can choose to live bright and powerful -make the choice at the beginning of the day in the way of deep loyalty to ourselves, we set the tone -valentines day interesting time to teach yoga -utter euphoria or absolute terror -everyone in different states of outer relationships -we identify valentines day with whether or not we are in relationship that makes us happy or unhappy -yoga insists that its about divine inner love, about the stabilization of who we are from the inside out, regardless of the outer status of relationship -love, unlove, happiness, terror, its amazing what we go through as human beings -yoga is about an internal stabilization of the self love, clearing our minds in a vibrant way, pouring our hearts into our lives in the way of devotion, committing ourselves in the way of self loyalty “I love all of me no matter what, inside I am stabilized in this inner bhakti”


theme: seeing beauty and responding to it
heart quality: remembrance and celebration
action: ME – hug the midline OE – expand out circumferentially

pinnacle: wild thing

Hands up if you’ve heard of “double rainbow” the big youtube meme on the internet? Explain – guy making a video of seeing a rainbow, he cries and screams and wonders for seven minutes, so expressive, no holds barred. Got 8 million hits in a week, now at 24 million views! What was it that people resonated with in this video?

I think it was his ability to see beauty and respond to it with full expression. Alot of the time its hard for us to really see beauty and culturally we don’t usually know how to respond to it. I think we’re relieved when we see someone respond authentically to something truly marvelous.

We can connect this to the two core purposes for practicing yoga: remembrance & celebration. Remembrance is connecting to the world around us, the beauty in us and the beauty all around. Celebration is expressing our experience of that, making it known.

Practice of yoga helps us to connect to ourselves, and the poses become an expression of that connection. So today we are going to do what the double rainbow guy did: remember the beauty and wonders of the world and ourselves and then express that.


-hip circles, cat/cow
-SN – lunge/gentle twist
-SN full stretch/runners stretch
SN – hip opener/twisted lunge

DD – mini demo “wax on, plug in, strong arms, soft heart”
everyone try it

utkatasana>prayer twist>full stretch>mod. side plank (foot in front)
utka> gentle twist> side plank

cobra X3
salabhasana (hands behind head)
bhekasana (thigh stretch)
bow pose

half moon (balance)
side plank *HAB
wild thing *HAB

happy baby


theme: lila and kula
heart quality: joy

hands up if you’ve ever heard of a flashmob! (explain what they are – people getting together and practicing singing or dancing and then surprise performing them in public places – malls, public squares, buses)

when i see flashmob videos i get chills. i think it’s because they are people doing something for the pure joy of it. and the really elaborate ones remind me of our potential as a human community – whats its possible to do together.

flashmobs remind me of two concepts in yoga: lila which is the divine play of the universe, and kula which means community. lila is the idea that we are here in these bodies for the pure joy of it, that this life is the play of the universe. and we come together in kula, to practice together, to explore and expand our potential as humans together.

today our class is going to be a little flashmob -a little spark of community and play. we are going to practice for the pure joy of it: lila. and we are going to see whats possible when we bring all of our energy together: kula.

Hanuman class!

-Hanuman appears in the Indian epic the Ramayana

-he represents remembrance, play and power

-he shows us that we can do anything when we align with our true nature, with our path

-in the Ramayana, Hanuman is trying to help his friend Rama get back his wife Sita from an evil king. at first he forgets that he is a divine incarnation of Shiva, but when he remembers, he puts his SUPERPOWERS into action

-hanuman’s superpowers are:

  • he can expand and contract at will, become as huge as a mountain or as small as a bug
  • he can leap over anything (oceans for example)
  • super speed!
  • incredible strength



Who was hanuman?
Hanuman is the son of Anjani, (who had been cursed into a female monkey) and Vayu – the wind god, his father. Sundara Kanda, the fifth book in the Ramayana concentrates mainly on the adventures of Hanuman. Hanuman is easily reachable – just by chanting the name ‘ram’.
Hanuman is worshipped as a symbol of physical strength, perseverance and devotion. On Saturdays and Tuesdays, many people keep fast in honour of Hanuman and give special offerings to him. The character on Hanuman teaches us of the unlimited power that lies unused within each one of us. Hanuman directed all his energies towards the worship of Lord Rama, and his undying devotion made him such that he became free from all physical harm & tiredness. And Hanuman’s only desire was to go on serving Rama.
In order to aid Rama, Lord Brahma commanded some gods and goddesses to take the avatar of ‘Varanas’ (or monkeys). Indra was reincarnated as Bali, Surya as Sugriva, Vrihaspati as Tara, and Pavana, the god of wind was reborn as Hanuman, the wisest, swiftest and strongest of all apes.
How did Hanuman learn to fly?
He received the ability to fly from his father, Vayu. Other qualities such as forceful travel and mighty strength were also inherited.
Why was hanuman’s knowledge of powers removed?
Hanuman was a naughty monkey god, in his childhood. He used his powers to pester the saints, create whirlwinds, pulling a supporting stick with his tail, pulling a beard and messing with sacred fire. All the gods prayed to Brahma to find a solution. To protect the world, he was cursed & that’s how his knowledge of powers was removed.
However, it was Jambavant, the King of bears who reminded Hanuman of his powers. With these powers, he could turn big or small and these took him through many adventures for the good.
How did he become immortal?
At the end of the Ramayana, Ram defeated Ravana and Ram & Sita were crowned King & Queen of Ayodhya. Hanuman remained Ram’s favorite general & continued to serve Ram. When Rama offered Hanuman anything that he mentioned, he asked to live for as long as men spoke of the deeds of Rama.
Hanuman Jayanti
Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Hanuman. It is celebrated during the month of Chaitra, on a full moon day. He was a devotee of Rama and on this day all devotees of Hanuman visit temples to worship the monkey god. Hanuman is the symbol of strength and energy. He had enough power and strength, to move mountains, run through the air, etc. The devotees apply ‘tilak’ of sindhoor to their foreheads from Hanuman’s body as it is considered to be good luck.
According to the legend, Sita was applying Sindhoor to her head and Hanuman questioned her about why she applies it. She said that it would ensure a long life for her husband, Rama. Hanuman then smeared his entire body with sindhoor, as an effort to ensure Rama’s immortality.

From :

Anava mala arise from cloaking of Iccha Shakti: Desire (Attitude):

The One takes on the limitations of form out of a deep longing to experience its own goodness. Our deepest intentions arise from this same desire to experience our own true nature- what is often referred to as our heart. When we start a day, a practice or a project from this deep intention, we have access to immense power.

If our fullness is hidden from us, it becomes desire for fullness (raga), bringing feelings of unworthiness (anava mala). When we open to the deepest desire that beats our heart and breathes our breath, this is Attitude.


From Amy Ippoliti: Anava Mala This is the cloak of uber low self-esteem, insecurity, a deep feeling of separateness, and a complete pre-occupation with self.  Too much subject.  This is the person who looks in the mirror, sees the zit on her face and assumes that everyone must be disgusted by it too.  This is the anorexic who looks in the mirror, and thinks she is fat, when she actually is emaciated.

When this mala has gone really bad we become so pre-occupied with ourselves that we rarely consider the consequences of our actions and how those might affect others. So we end up doing bad things like cheating, lying, betraying and withholding. By the time we come out of our bubble it is only because we have completely trashed our life and the lives of those closest to us and are forced to wake up.

The good news about this Mala is that when you wake up, you get to look at the root of the problem which is your insecurity and low self worth, and then….remember that you are a good person at heart. Being transparent about feeling unworthy is the ONLY way to accept our insecurities and then release them so we can grow.


Anava mala: Hindu – Hinduism Dictionary on Anava mala

anava mala: (Sanskrit) “Impurity of smallness; finitizing principle.” The individualizing veil of duality that enshrouds the soul. It is the source of finitude and ignorance, the most basic of the three bonds (anava, karma, maya) which temporarily limit the soul. Anava mala has the same importance in Agamic philosophy that maya-avidya has in Vedantic philosophy. The presence of anava mala is what causes the misapprehension about the nature of God, soul and world, the notion of being separate and distinct from God and the universe. Anava obscures the natural wisdom, light, unity and humility of the soul and allows spiritual ignorance, darkness, egoity and pride to manifest. It is inherent in a maturing soul, like the shell of a seed. When anava is ripe, anugraha, “grace,” comes, and anava falls away. Anava is the root mala and the last bond to be dissolved. See: evolution of the soul, grace, mala, soul.


Today me had breakthrough. We did exercise. Talk like Tarzan. One pose. Five UPAs twenty seconds. Big Help. Big breakthrough. More succinct. Now add heart quality. Then theme. Sometimes detail. But stay concise. Good practice. 🙂


These are adjustments that can be given by a teacher. If the comfort level and sensitivity of the class is high the more therapeutic ones could also be taught as partner exercises.

Parsvokonasana Top Arm Integration Assist

-this adjustment can be given if the periphery of the top arm(i.e. the hand) is extending backward at a faster rate than the lower arm

-approach the person from behind with SSA (Sensitivity, Stability and Awareness

-have them reach their top arm out straight in front of them (or guide them there)

-hold their wrist, cup their bicep and plug the arm bone into the socket. holding that firmly, extend the arm up overhead, and instruct them to stretch long from the pelvis through the legs and up through the arms

-your thigh is right behind their torso so they feel stable but you are not pressing into them

-to come out, inhale and keeping hold of their wrist, assist them back up

Ardha Chandrasana Assist

-this is simple. from behind, stabilize the top hip with one hand and hold the top wrist with the other.

Headstand Assist

-with the palm of your hand, root the base of the skull down (active organic) as they lift everything else up from that point! an experience of the upper palate focal point.

-another one, to get an opening in the mid back: approach from behind and bring the outer shin across the upper back, making sure the tone of the shin is even – because they are balancing you have to be especially sensitive. place hands on their hips and pressing the shin evenly into the low back lift them up through the hips!

Ustrasana Assist

-Anchor the hips down (active organic energy) to give them more rooting to rise up from

Inner Spiral Therapeutics

-have person lie on their back with their knees bent, soles of the feet on the floor, arms in cactus position

-standing over them, cross hands and bring hands to inner thighs, and widen in back and apart, and root down (to bring femurs into sockets)

-release and use both hands to do each side individually, drawing the flesh of the buttocks and thigh out as you widen the thigh in an inner spiral

-watch the thighs, observe them, see if they are changing/releasing

-pick up the legs, bring the ankles into armpits, then hold the shins and hike the legs up, bringing their pelvis off the ground. sway lightly from side to side. oh sweet release.

-release them down, pulling gently on the feet to release the pelvis

-lengthen the legs, bringing them down, then have them bring soles of the feet to the floor again, and start from the beginning, holding the inner spiral and watching their breath return and deepen

-you can have them bring their arms into robot arms, press into their upper arms, and then keep pressing the inner thighs back, apart and down. AWESOME.

Pigeon Therapeutics

-have person come into pigeon. you want to make sure their sacrum is level, that is the optimum position for the sacrum. don’t worry about the buttock flesh, it will be uneven because of the position, but you want to make sure the sacrum is not on an angle. So to release it, you need to create stability and width. Stabilizing the outside of the back leg with your foot/ankle, widen the thigh of the back leg back, pressing into the outer hip, drawing it all the way around. On the bent leg side you can place the hand in the hip crease and create an outer spiral, bringing the other hand to draw the belly away from the thigh, creating space. If the person is pretty tight you can have them bring their torso diagonally over the front leg to help square the hip of the back leg. Have them keep the shin hugging in and then widen the thigh themselves. Once the sacrum has leveled you can root their hips down.

-a simple sequence for this would be to adjust the back leg (manual inner spiral, stabilizing the back leg with your ankle to their outer shin) then adjust the back leg AND the front leg (inner spiral on back, outer spiral on front), then root their hips down

From Sianna’s teacher training


Review: Ankle loop starts in the core of the ankle, flows down the back of the heel, comes up the middle of the arch in the foot and enters at the front of the ankle/base of the shin bone. Ankle loop roots the back of the heel down, lifts the arch and takes the base of the shin back. This creates length in the back of the ankle, as compression there can be a problem for some.

Poses: Uttanasana with a Blanket Roll, Malasana

-teach utt on blanket roll as a contrast to reg utt. bring them in, then step ball mounds onto roll, add muscle and organic energy, then step off and feel the difference

-for malasana have people bring a folded blanket under their heels if their heels don’t go all the way down, also make sure that their knees are facing the same direction as the toes (people with tighter hips can bring the feet wider apart and might even turn the toes out, so knees will face out too)


Review: Shin loop starts at the top of the shin bone, flows down the back of the calf, through the bottom of the shin bone, and then back up the front. It brings the top of the shin bone BACK and the bottom of the shin bone FRONT.

Poses: Parsvotonasana with a Blanket Roll, Trikonasana

-in parsvo, lift and spread the toes, and drag the heel back to create shin loop. Bring the hand to the back of the shin and press it forward. Then create muscle energy to keep the shin in place, release the hand.

-in trik, remind people of what it felt like to have their hand pressing their shin forward. ask them to bring that energy now to the front foot, as they drag the feet toward each other.


Review: Thigh loop begins in the centre of the body, in between the navel and the middle of the lumbar spine. It travels out at the base of the sacrum, flows down the back of the thigh, and brings the bottom of the femur/top of the shin bone forward, then travels back up the front of the thigh and enters back in at the navel. It has the effect of rooting the femur into the hip socket, though the loop itself arises from deep inside the body, rather than starting at the top of the thigh bone, which is a common misunderstanding.

Poses: Downward Dog, Prasarita Padotannasana

-in DD, squeeze the shins in, keep them squeezing and then root the femurs back into the hamstrings

-in prasarita, root the top of the thigh bones back


Review: Pelvic loop begins in the same place as Thigh Loop (core of the pelvis between navel and mid-lumbar) and it travels down the back of the buttocks, comes in and forward at the pubic bone and enters at the navel. It has the effect of drawing the flesh of the buttocks down, lengthening the low back and lifting the low belly. Hmmm, i am confused about this because it seems like pelvic loop and thigh loop overlap. Need to look this up in the manual, not sure if I have it correct.

Poses: Cobra, Anjaneyasana

-in cobra, root the tailbone, lift the low belly and feel the flesh of the buttocks flow down

-in anjaneyasana, possible adjustment, stand behind and root the hips down (OE)


Review: Kidney Loop has the same origin as pelvic loop, it flows back and up and enters at the bottom tips of the shoulder blades and flows down the front of the belly, entering back in at the navel. It has the effect of puffing up the kidney area, and making the front of the torso softer as the belly flows down.

Poses: Parsvakonasa, Bakasana

-a way to come into bakasana for people who are less open in the hips – start in uttanasana, place hands a bit forward, bring feet together, lift the heels, widen knees, and bring the mid shin as high up on the upper arm as possible. then lean forward. this is more accesible for people who find it hard to come into a full squat.

1. Noodle Arms

This is from a Tai Chi teacher that I had in Findhorn. Standing with feet wider than hip width, turn the torso and hips from side to side and let the arms fling around  the torso. When you turn to one side you can turn the toes out. You can bend the knees in between a bit. The arms sort of slap the torso, waking up the sides of the body. As Jen said during our teacher training “twist and slap like no one’s watching!”

2. Chi Warmer

Have partners stand a few feet from each other and press their palms together and lean forward, almost touching noses. Then press into hands and push back, sort of doing pushups towards each other. Then go from side to side (like european kisses) and eventually as you push back you can release hands and then bring them back together and lean forward. Super fun!

3. Shakti Flings

Holding opposite wrists, sit into a chair and bring opposite hand back behind you, opening the heart to the side. Straighten legs to switch hands and then sit back and open out to the other side.  (Fun version for the more active: turn it into a kind of breakdance move, bringing hips all the way down to the floor and bringing the back hand to the floor behind, then jumping up and switching.

Anusara Yoga Syllabi

Click to open the PDF