Ashtanga Yoga Dublin’s new website went live last month and when we embarked on putting the new site together we decided it would be a good time to also design a new logo. Both David and I love living and working close to the sea – when I think back to my own childhood, I associate the beach with lots of sunshine, Sunday picnics and feelings of happiness, expansiveness and freedom –  and so we settled on a bright turquoise (probably associated more with tropical oceans – but hey we live in hope!) as the main colour for the logo, incorporating it also in the website design. If you go through the site, you will notice that this ocean theme  features strongly in many of the photos and images

We wanted a soft, natural image for the logo (one you could easily draw in the sand) that portrayed the ethos of our shala. We wanted that image to be meaningful, and so the one we chose represents the eight petals/limbs of yoga. (Ashtanga =  eight limbs, the word Ashta meaning eight and anga meaning limbs, rungs, branches).  The eight “petals” of this image simply symbolise these eight limbs of yoga. When we practice yoga in a balanced way, we can reach a state of peacefulness, joy, serenity – a place that feels like our true centre. The circle at the heart of the logo represents this place of peace.

The eight limbs of yoga are Yama (principles of behaviour that help us establish healthy relationships with others), Niyama (practices that help us to achieve balance within ourselves), Asana (postures), Pranayama (breath expansion), Pratyahara (sense withdrawal), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (pure absorption). For more information on the eight limbs see our post ‘What is Ashtanga Yoga’ project management tools free.

In a nutshell, our intention at Ashtanga Yoga Dublin is to provide a space where people can practice all aspects of yoga (not just postures) and for us, this little logo helps to impart that intention. We want our space to be all-inclusive – a yoga shala that welcomes people of all ages (our youngest student is aged 6 and we have students with a strong practice in their 70’s), cultures, levels of fitness, etc., and offers a comprehensive program of classes, workshops and courses that meets the needs of each individual. Our regular daily classes focus mainly on postures but as students develop in their mysore practice, they have the opportunity to sit for pranayama before starting asana, and also sit for meditation on completion of the asana practice. Initially when we start yoga, most of us focus on asana but there comes a time for some when the other aspects of yoga naturally evolve. We have been very blessed to have established a pranayama practice through the wonderful teaching of Paul Dallaghan and his teacher Sri O.P. Tiwari. We have also had the good fortune to have established a Sanskrit chanting practice under the tutelage of Dr. M.A. Jayashree and Professor Narasimhan from Mysore. These pranayama, chanting and meditation techniques are a wonderful complement to the posture practice and in unison all work to bring about balance and clarity in the individual. We are very grateful to have the opportunity to share these same techniques on our Heart of Yoga course and our Italian summer retreat, where the time exists to immerse oneself in yoga for an extended period, and really allow the effects of the practices to take root.

The yoga texts tell us that the purpose of practising the eight limbs of yoga is to develop discriminative knowledge which leads us to our true self – that part of us that is always perfect, completely at peace and free from all pain and suffering.  We feel the logo reflects that idea of wholeness and completeness – the union of all aspects of ourselves leading to that pure centre, that perfect, peaceful  place where only joy, expansiveness and total freedom prevail – a level of liberation that far exceeds the fleeting glimpses of freedom we sometimes experience in normal daily life.

As you roll out your mat to practice, if any of this resonates with you, you can bring to mind the image of our logo and what it signifies and remember that it doesn’t matter if you are 17 or 70; it doesn’t matter if you can touch your toes, jump through or drop-back; it doesn’t matter if you are practising primary or third series – what matters is your intention – your reason for getting on your mat in the first place and then remember the meaning of the word yoga – the union of body, mind and breath and hopefully one day with practice you will contact and reside in that inner centre of lasting peace, serenity, clarity and freedom.

Namaste, Paula.