Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Back to India!

I have not had time to write lately, putting all my effort into studies and teaching.

I am heading back to India until August, so all classes are on hold in Minnesota.  As always, people are welcome to come visit the Ashram in Vadodara.  I will probably be teaching a few workshops while I am there.....

I am looking forward to being back with my Guruji.

I hope you all have a wonderful summer!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Basics of Hatha Yoga, Yoga Studies in Stillwater Minnesota

Jay Shiv Shakti!

I have started a small study group/practice group that will be covering the very basics of Hatha Yoga.  The program is anticipated to run from now until May when I leave for India, and to cover the foundation of creating a traditional Hatha Yoga practice.  The first few weeks will cover the foundational pre-meditative asanas, basics of pranayama, and body awareness practices.   This is the start of a course that could potentially continue for years and work towards the higher practices of Yoga.  These lessons are appropriate for everyone, and are the basis for creating a healthy home practice.
No disco music, no push-ups!
 Good for all, beginner or experienced!

They will be held Tuesday nights at 6:45 in a residential location in Stillwater.

For more info send me an e-mail:


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What is Kapha? The 5 main types of Kapha

Kapha is the quality that holds us together and gives us stability.  The 5 types of Kapha, or subdoshas, all have this earth and water quality to them.  The job of Kapha, and the subdoshas, is to protect the body from the damage caused by Vata and Pitta.  They are kledaka, avalambaka, tarpaka, bodhaka, and sleshaka.  Some asanas and pranayamas work wonders in balancing out these subdoshas and helping to maintain the harmony in the physical body.

Kledaka- This subdosha has it's main home in the upper half of the stomach.  It lubricates and protects against the stomach acids(Pitta) that make digestion possible.

Avalambaka-  Main home is in the chest, heart and lungs.  This Kapha helps to protect the respiratory system, but is also considered the store house of our sorrow.  If you ever talk to someone dealing with emotional pain, they will often motion to or feel pain in the chest.  This is one place where emotional damage is stored in our physical body.  Many Hatha Yoga Asana and Pranayamas are directed at this particular Kapha.  Backbends are particulary useful for keeping this subdosha in check, as well as certain pranayamas.  This subdosha is often associated with weight gain and clinging emotions as well.

Tarpaka- Lubricates and helps to protect the brain, the mind, and the nerves.  It 's main location is in the heart and the brain.  Meditation helps to promote and strengthen Tapaka Kapha, creating stability in the mind.

Bodhaka- Is located in the mouth and tongue.  It takes form of mucous and saliva and is necessary for our ability to taste.

Sleshaka- Is located in the joints.  It protects the joints from wear and tear, lubricates them, and provides stability to movement.  Traditional Yogasana is excellent for regulating this subdosha.

One thing I look at one I practice is what is happening to the Doshas.  If you increase one dosha excessively, other will diminish.  To much Pitta (heat) or Vata (movement) will eventually wear on Kapha Dosha.  Kapha is what gives us stability, sweetness, and nurturing when in balance.  And, Kapha, especially Tarpaka, is a must for any seated practice!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What are the Vayus? The Five Pranas

We have many different aspects and dimensions to our existence.  We are far more than just the body and our thoughts.  This was elaborated on by the Great Sages who described the five sheaths of our existence.  Having a basic understanding of this will help to understand the five main types of Prana.

In order from the most subtle to the gross the sheaths go:

1. Anandamaya kosha, our spiritual body.
2. Vijnanamaya kosha, the psychic body/highest wisdom body
3. Pranamaya kosha, the energy body
4. Manomaya kosha, the mental body
5. Annamaya kosha, the physical body, or the body sustained by food.

These koshas all work together to form the whole of our existence and experience.  In Hatha Yoga class, when we do Pranayamas, we are trying to  work with the Pranamaya Kosha.  The five main energies of this kosha are known as Pancha Vayu, or the Five Pranas.  They are prana, apana, samana, udana, and vyana.

1.Prana- in refrence to Panch Vayu, refers to an energy that governs speech and respiration.  It's primary home is between the throat and the diaphragm.  This energy moves down and inward, the same as the breath we breathe.

2. Apana is the energy that deals with expulsion of wastes from the body and any downward moving processes.  It's primary home is in the large intestine, and the lower pelvic area in general.  Often in Hatha Yoga we alter the flow of this energy by forcing it to flow in the opposite way.

3. Samana is the energy that governs digestion.  Think of it as the wind that stokes the fires of digestion and you will have the right idea.  It help with assimilation of all things from food to memories and emotions.  It's main home is around the navel center.

4. Udana is the energy of self expression and movement.  It is also active with the upward and outward flow of breath during an exhale.  Udana allows us to move gracefully, hold ourself erect, and express how we feel.  It's main home is the region of the throat.

5.  Vyana is throughout the whole body.  It helps to control all the activities and bring together the other pranas to function properly.

Any more info than this on the pranas should be obtained directly from your friendly Yogacharya!  I am always leery when I see "vayu flows" in magazines, I have watched people get sick numerous times from doing practices in an improper or excessive way.  Instead of trying to beat a prana in submissions or do poses directed at them, try feeling them as you do each pose.  What happens to Apana in an inversion? What happens with Samana when you do a long seated forward bend?  What happens with Udana in ekapadasana?

The are other minor Vayus, and the number depends on what school of Hatha Yoga or Ayurveda you talk to.  They control very specific things like belching, sneezing, yawns, and others.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Free Hatha Yoga Classes in Minnesota

Return of the free class!

Right now I am teaching a free class at MN Hindu Mandir every Saturday morning 8-9:30 a.m.
(suggested donation for the temple $5, but come no matter what!)
Classes include Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Yoga Nidra, Mantra, and much more fun!

The free Tuesday class in Stillwater will be starting again next week and workshops are in the works...more details soon!

Jay Shiv Shakti