There are so many elements of Yoga and Ayurveda that support our health and journey on earth. Diet, herbs, mantras, meditation, pranayama, yoga nidra, the concepts of the gunas and so on. Advanced (or Level 3) Integral Yoga Hatha is one of the main elements on my journey that brings me back hOMe every time. It is such a comprehensive practice for personal transformation, working with all the layers of our being: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
I have been practicing Integral Hatha Yoga for 15 years now. A beautiful seed of grace was planted within me right from the point of my first practice, and it continues to be nourished and encouraged to grow by the Level 3 Hatha practice. I started at the beginners’ level and gradually, mindfully, and joyfully advanced in the practice. I absolutely love to practice level 3 Integral Yoga Hatha, and I enjoy teaching the Advanced Integral Yoga Hatha Teacher Training, which is coming up in August!
The level 3 practice consists of the same elements of levels 1 and 2: asanas (physical postures), yoga nidra (deep relaxation), pranayama (breathing practices), and meditation. Plus, there are new components: the bandhas (locks applied during pranayama), and new asanas and pranayama practices. We also do the inversions after the sun salutations and standing poses, in the beginning of the class. I love how we have more energy to invest in strong inversions, and thus experience the bliss of inversions right away, carrying it throughout the practice, which gives the class a wonderful flow.
The advanced practice of Integral Yoga Hatha can be quite strong, yet very meditative. This challenge is my favorite element of the class. Even though the practice becomes more complex and rigorous, there is an even deeper sense of stillness and internal awareness. I learn to challenge my body with such mindfulness, that I can still discover the optimal flow of energy. Through the balance between right effort and surrender, I deepen my awareness of the unity of body, mind, and spirit.
Integral Yoga Hatha Level 3 is my entry into intuitive living movement. The skillful and creative sequences take me smoothly from moment to moment, making it possible to witness the body and mind with loving kindness. Sometimes I begin my practice with either my body aching or my mind talking loudly, and sometimes both! As I move through the sequence, I witness the body surrendering to softness and the mind is silenced. The unchanging witnesses expands, and the “little me” dissolves into the stillness and quietness of the now.