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4th Niyama- svadhyaya means “studying the nature of the Self.” “remembering to be aware of the true nature of the Self.” Sat chit ananda- sat=itness/the self, chit=consciousness, and ananda=bliss.

–       For me this is like a definition of yoga –Yoga is a practice of self discovery.

–       I had a student once say, for her yoga was like a body-date. A time she set aside a few times a week to check in with her body, and connect with her self.  When we slow down, and take a break from all that very important stuff we stress about all the rest of the day, when we shed the labels we and other give to ourselves then what’s left is awareness and joy (chit and ananda). John Friend says we practice yoga in order remember who we are and celebrate who we are.

–       Beyond all the labels of gender, occupation, interests, relationship status- who are you?

Heart qualities and actions- Acceptance: OTG, Steady remembrance: ME, Celebration/joy: OE

Context statements

–       We come to the mat time and time again with beginners mind and with curiosity- start by accepting where we’re at. With each breath become more awake and self-aware.

–       As you exhale let go of stress and distractions that take your mind away from being here and having this time for yourself.

–       Deepen the breath and notice how that affects the pose.

–       When we are more self-aware and mindful we feel more centered. With practice, when life is stressful or situations are difficult we are more able to respond rather than react.

–       When you hit up against resistance in your body, can you pause and choose to be curious rather than reactive?

–       Yoga is a practice of accepting ourselves and the world as they are, and then responding with love.

–       Draw in with a steady remembrance of who you really are. Extend out in celebration of your uniqueness.

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Theme: Tapas- burning desire, passion to connect with something bigger. I just spent 5 days at YTT – and I get so much fuel, it just lights my passion for yoga and I’m so excited to share and serve.

Seat of passion and our internal fire-place is in our belly- digestive fire, 3rd chakra – fire of your will. When we fire up the belly and draw the belly into the back body, which represents the universal in our yoga practice, we connect our own power with a greater power, we connect to a broader vision in our lives and we can light this bright fire of transformation in our lives.

Take a good seat. Feel your breath and rest into your breath to get quiet inside. What’s your passion? What is your love? Follow that thread into your own heart. What’s the source of your passion. Yoga is an art and a science that helps us awaken the heart and embody our passion. When you connect our passion with a higher purpose and a bigger source of energy your light burns brighter.

With passion pray. With passion work. With passion make love. With passion eat and drink and dance and play. Why look like a dead fish in this ocean of God?

Context Statements:

–       Tap in to a bigger energy, let this energy be fuel for your fire.

–       When we follow our passion it takes us to joy and bliss with life- and this is something we can all relate to. It helps us all connect back to that one source.

–       “What’s your passion?”, what gets you excited and how can you connect to that and use it as our fuel for your practice and your lives?

–       Fire/outerspiral- burning aspiration for the highest, when you connect to that kind of passion in your own life, you light it up in others, its like a forest fire.

–       It takes zeal, passion to stay on course in your life, and to stay connect with something bigger

–       Passion is an intense desire and enthusiasm for something- passion is what makes us feel more alive.

–       Exhale and let go of anything that blocks you from following your heart, from living with passion.

–       Let your passion guide you in the pose, its not about how deep you go but that you are staying true and opening to your passion.

Context Statements:

–       Tap in to a bigger energy, let this energy be fuel for your fire.

–       When we follow our passion it takes us to joy and bliss with life- and this is something we can all relate to. It helps us all connect back to that one source.

–       “What’s your passion?”, what gets you excited and how can you connect to that and use it as our fuel for your practice and your lives?

–       Fire/outerspiral- burning aspiration for the highest, when you connect to that kind of passion in your own life, you light it up in others, its like a forest fire.

–       It takes zeal, passion to stay on course in your life, and to stay connect with something bigger

–       Passion is an intense desire and enthusiasm for something- passion is what makes us feel more alive.

–       Exhale and let go of anything that blocks you from following your heart, from living with passion.

Let your passion guide you in the pose, its not about how deep you go but that you are staying true and opening to your passion.

Theme: “We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” ~ Frederick Keonig (1774 – 1833)

Contentment– What does it mean to find contentment in the present? We can start with the body>  Can drop all prejudices against your body and just love exactly how it is right now? Hug in- accepting and appreciating the present – contentment naturally arises when we recognize what we already have. 

Introduce Niyamas– actions and attitudes we can cultivate to help us realize more connectedness. Saucha- Rigidly interpreted as “purity”- it can become a strict code of things to avoid, the concept of purity implies a dichotomy- that world is a profane place. A more liberal interpretation of saucha could be to interpret it as clarity rather than purity. In Anusara we embrace a tantric philosophy that emphasizes the intrinsic goodness in each of us- at our heart each of us is already pure. So then what does this niyama mean for us? In tantra, individuals still have agency, and we can interact with the world in more or less skilful ways- Embracing saucha- clarity in thought, word and deed, can interact with the world in a more skilful way.

The first thing we need to get clear with in our practice of yoga and life is our intention- what do we want to manifest? What’s our bigger purpose for this practice? The word yoga means union in sanskrit. For me yoga, it is a practice that helps us unite our individual selves with something bigger, but not separate from ourselves. This can be simple as recognizing the goodness that lies within each of us. My broader intention each time a practice is to remember and celebrate that connectedness. Maybe that’s not something that feels true for you right now, so take some time to get clear with yourself- in one clear phrase, sum up what your bigger intention is. Let yourself brighten with intention.

Tadasana – be really clear about the foundation in the poses. Ask: Why does it matter how we place our hands and feet? Physical reasons, and then also the bigger picture. In lining up our physical body, we show our dedication to aligning with a bigger purpose and broader vision for our lives.

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