The Heart of Yoga 1 year Intensive Course – Is it for Me?

Who Is The Heart of Yoga Course For?

The Heart of Yoga course is for everyone, whether you have only recently come to Yoga or have been practising for some time already. If you are interested in really discovering what Yoga can do for you then here is an opportunity to make that happen. There is a very simple relationship in Yoga; the more you give yourself to it, the more you receive from it. And this does not mean just doing more postures, which can only give you so much, but rather, utilising many other aspects of Yoga as well.

The course will provide you with the means and support to integrate the practices and principles of Yoga into your daily experience, and to use them to enhance the quality and tranquillity of your life. This is as true for the Beginner as for anyone else. If you would like to use Yoga to develop more joy, greater awareness, increased compassion and improved well-being, then this course is for you.

Origins of the Course

In 2005, we spent some time in Mysore, and in addition to our practice on the mat, we did lots of reading and studying. We began to reflect on the training courses we had been through and to talk about the elements that we felt had been missing from those courses. Before we knew it we were putting together the Heart of Yoga Course, an 6-weekend exploration of the practices and philosophy of Yoga.

Details of the Course

Most courses we had experienced were almost entirely focused on the physical practice of Yogasana or postures. We wanted to develop a course, which kept the key aim of Yoga at its heart. The goal of Yoga is simple. It is to know peace and freedom in every aspect of life. It is not a physical practice only, but one of body, mind, emotions and spirit. It asks of us that we look deeply and carefully into every aspect of our make-up and ask the question, ‘What is the truth of who and what I am?’ The examination of ourselves in this way, at every level of our being, is what is meant by practice, and the means we use to do it are the different techniques listed below.

Four Areas of Study

I. Yoga Postures:
These are the physical practices used to develop strength, flexibility and balance in the body, improving the physical health of all of the organs and systems, removing toxins and relieving stress.

Asana on the course includes:

– Technique – ‘how to’ of each posture
– Anatomy – key anatomical features
– Variations appropriate to individual needs
– Psycho-physiological benefits

II. Breathing Practices:
These practices work directly on the nervous system and the emotional state of the mind. The health benefits are remarkable and include reducing the stress response, decreasing sympathetic and increasing parasympathetic nervous activity, improving oxygenation and promoting increased cognitive capacity. These techniques are called Pranayamas.

Heart of Yoga Pranayama incorporates:

– 5 Cleansing techniques,
– Preparatory techniques
– 5 Pranayama techniques

III. Meditation Practices:

These are practices that we use to quieten the mind, developing the capacity to still our thoughts and let go of mental agitation and distraction. We begin with a practice called Antar Mouna, meaning Inner Silence, by which we learn to be master of our senses, freeing ourselves from attachments and aversions, which might otherwise rule us.

From Inner silence we move to the practice of concentration or directed awareness, called dharana. The ability to focus the mind without distraction is the aim. From our capacity to direct our attention towards whatever we choose, and remain focused without distraction, the state of meditation evolves. This is a deeply peaceful state in which the mind is at rest. When it arises, joy and peace are experienced as ever-present; our essential nature underlying everything.

IV. Diet, Behaviour and Lifestyle

Yoga also teaches us about how our diet and lifestyle can be harnessed to enhance the quality of our lives. Using the science of Ayurveda, we will look into various aspects of how diet, habits and lifestyle can enhance or hinder our health, and the effectiveness of our practices. Put simply, a harmonious balance of work, exercise, recreation and sleep and a regular and balanced diet of easily digestible foods, appropriate to our constitution, purchased, prepared, cooked and eaten in a calm and peaceful way, can enhance our health and well-being enormously. All this is manageable if we learn how. Ayurveda can teach us this and we can take simple steps that can have a profound impact on the quality of our lives and our practice. Ayurveda is a vital component of Yoga practice.

B. Other Course Elements

I. Going to the Source of Yoga

This is the study of Yogic Texts, principally the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, the Bhagavad Gita, and hatha Pradipika, as well as Light on Life by BKS Iyengar. This is a key part of the course, opening up our understanding of what Yoga is for and how we should approach our practices. The texts are magnificent in the simplicity and clarity of their insight into the human psyche and the difficulties we all experience in navigating our way through life.

The wisdom of Yoga is simple, not that this necessarily makes it easy for us to understand, or act on it. The Sutra, Gita and the other texts brilliantly reveal the obstacles to happiness that we place in our own way, and point towards the means of removing these obstacles.

The insights from these Yogic texts complement and strengthen the foundation of our practice. Gradually we begin to understand the true purpose and benefit of Yoga and to experience this in our life off the mat. We become healthier, calmer, more aware and contented. The things we need come our way and there is greater ease and more joy.

II. Yoga History

The story of Yoga is truly ancient and truly remarkable. The wisdom and knowledge of the original Yogis of over 5000 years ago is hard to fathom. Understanding the origin of the tradition that we are still following today gives us a deep sense of connectedness and rootedness that is a real support on our own Yoga journey.

III. Chanting

Chanting is another integral practice in Yoga, and we use the oral tradition of Sruti Paramparaa to learn to chant some of the the Yoga Sutra and other Sanskrit Mantra in the traditional way, by listening and repetition. While this is always new and challenging for us at the beginning, as we become used to doing it, we will discover the profound impact that the Sanskrit chanting has, both physically and mentally. Translation of the Sutra and discussion of their meaning and how they can assist us in life and practice is part of this section also.

More Information Needed?

If you are interested please speak to Paula or David by calling us on 087 237 6383 and we can answer any further questions you may have and give you more details as required.

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