Namaste from Pondicherry, India

Beautiful Ripple Yoga Community!

We practice a lot of yoga here at the Ashram.  Hatha practice starts at 5:45 am facing the sun as it rises over the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean.  We chant the Suri Namaskar and then practice our Sun Salutations as the sun rises.  The sun is incredibly important to human beings, we are circadian in nature and rhythm.  We practice Hatha for 2 hours and then just after breakfast we practice Pranayama breathing for 2 hours!  But that is not all we practice.  We practice Karma Yoga each and every day, by serving each other and the teachers our meals, taking care of the 6 dogs that live at the Ashram, cleaning and taking care of anything else that we can in our free time.  We do our laundry by hand and hang it in the sun to dry.  Performing Karma Yoga is extremely important and it is one of the paths to enlightenment.  It means simply service to others, without any expectation of something in return.  This is something that is sorely needed in our Western culture where people are so self-seeking.  We are socially conditioned from birth in Western culture to be self-seeking and consumers.  These conditions are not the Yogic way, and we use Yoga to vibrate to a higher level, to shed the social conditioning and evolve into loving, kind and Karmic human beings!!

Performing good Karma allows us to burn our bad Karma from the past, in this lifetime and all our previous lifetimes!  So we have lessons to learn, and Karma to burn.

In this week’s lesson, we look at some of the tools we use to become aware of our body, the first level of conscious awareness in Yoga.  There are 4 definitions of using the physical body to move or make shapes that we use here at the Ashram.  They are Jyotis, Kriyas, Asanas and Hathenas.  Note that in all of these we are always using our breath.

A Jyoti is a movement to warm up the body and is constant movement.  A jumping jack would be considered a Jyoti.  Or, sometimes we sit on the ground and just rotate all of our joints starting with the toes and moving up to the head.  This warms the body for practice.  We will introduce some of these at the studio!!

A Kriya is moving in and out of an Asana with the breath, but not holding the Asana.  Vinyasa practice can be thought of as a series of Kriyas.

An Asana is a shape we make with the body but we hold the shape for more than one breath.  Asana is the third limb of the Ashtanga Yoga system, but in this context it encompasses all physical movement of the body, not just the strict definition.

A Hathena is a forcing posture utilizing the breath to open a part of the body.  Up to this point in time, we have not practiced Hathenas at Ripple Yoga.  They are the quickest route to opening stiff bodies but should not be taken lightly as they are the most challenging.  We will begin practicing Hathenas when I return from India!!

Always remember to be aware of your body as you practice.  It usually starts with awareness of the big muscles and joints and then as you practice more you become aware of the smallest movements.  Having body awareness and understand how we move is a beautiful thing.  It keeps us healthy and strong!!

Enjoy, keep practicing, keep evolving and so much more to come!!  As always if you have any questions, you can email me at gary@rippleyoga.com.

In Unity and Love,

Gary