I have learned from my Yoga Master Sri Swami Satchidananda that the main goal of Yoga is to have good control of the mind, so we can experience and reflect the peace and joy which is our true self. But I also have learned from him to never neglect the body because it is our most important instrument. Whatever we do, we need the body. It is true, and it is quite hard to experience our inner peace and joy if all we feel is aches and pains. Without purifying the body, it is difficult to purify the mind… and vice-versa!!!
There are so many elements of Yoga & Ayurveda that bring me to experience my true self. Integral Yoga Hatha is one of the main elements on my journey that brings me back hOMe every time. Sometimes I begin my practice with either my body aching or mind talking so loudly or both! As I move through the sequence, I witness the body surrendering to softness and the mind, to silence. That which witnesses expands and “little me” dissolves into the stillness and quietness of the now. Integral Yoga Hatha really has a brilliant sequence that takes us into a physical and mental stillness which leads us to the experience of the profound peace and well-being that lies within.
The practice consists of asanas (physical postures), yoga nidra (deep relaxation), pranayama (breathing practices), and meditation. The practice is approached as a meditation in action. This allows us to discover the optimal flow of energy where we find the balance between right effort and surrender, deepening our awareness of the unity of body, mind, and spirit. It is really a comprehensive system for personal transformation working with all the layers of our being: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
The following is a summary of each of the individual practices that make up the Integral Yoga Hatha class:
1. Centering: to bring our focus to the present moment and set the intention of peace for the practice
2. Eye movements (Netra Vyayamam): to turn the senses inward and relax the eyes
3. Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskaram): to remove the energy of stagnation preparing body and mind to turn inward as they move through the physical postures (asanas) and subtler practices
4. Back-bending postures: to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, energizing and activating eliminative processes
5. Forward-bending postures: to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, stimulating the rest and digest response
6. Inversions: to bring balance to all the systems of the body. To change the mental state by changing perspective on the world. In the advanced level, the inversions come after the sun salutations
7. Spinal twist postures: to do a final tone and balance of the autonomic nervous system
8. Yogic Seal (Yoga Mudra): to close the physical practice, sealing the energy and deepening awareness
9. Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra): to allow the benefits of the asana practice to be assimilated. This practice is a guided meditation to further connect with the peace and joy within.
10. Breathing practices (Pranayama): to further calm and purify the nervous system, increase vitality, and to directly deal with the mind. To prepare for concentration and meditation.
11. Meditation: to transcend the mind and reconnect with the true Self.