A Holistic Approach
Yoga means UNION of the individual consciousness with the Supreme Universal Consciousness. This is a long winded way of saying that we are all actually one continuous interdependent flow of energy. We are each as necessary to the "other" as darkness is to light. Divined over 5000 years ago and defined by the great Sage Patanjali, Classical Hatha yoga has been practiced similarly for millennia. There are five essential elements to the Classical Hatha tradition that Lalita teaches, that distinguish it from many other modern forms of yoga. Swami Sivananda, a former MD, popularized the Five Principles at the turn of the Nineteenth Century :
Yoga, from its inception, was not really "exercise" at all. It was a spiritual practice, cloaked in mysticism and shrouded by privilege. The "teachings" were handed down through the centuries to a chosen elite. The modern "masters" like Paramahamsa Yogananda, Muktananda and Sivananda essentially democratized the practice making it available to people across class, gender national boundaries. Sivananda Yoga is unique in that it a rare gem, a purer form of yoga, unsullied by fashion and commercialism, an encapsulation of the deeper wisdom tradition imagined thousands of years ago. The teachings are as relevant today as they were then, speaking to the challenges, complexities and responsibilities that accomplany the human condition
Asana : 12 Specific Postures held for short intervals to establish harmony between body and mind. This is the part that is easiest to adopt and recognize as "yoga." The physical aspect has fooled many into thinking that this all there is to it. The postures were formalized by the renowned yogi Swami Vishnudevananda in the 1950's under the "Sivananda" banner. These formed the foundation of the first ever Westernized Teacher training program in 1957. Lalita is a graduate of this very same program
PRANAYAMA: The breath controls the mind as well as the autonomic nervous system and bodily functions. At its subtlest, yet most powerful, the breath is a manifestation of Life Force, or Prana. From the Latin, to inhale is to inspiratate, the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions - inspire!
Our earliest experiences of stress, transferred from our parents and caregivers teach us very quickly how hold our breath. Hence the emphasis on breathing as a category of its own.
The breath obviously brings oxygen into the lungs, and naturally we take this automatic action for granted. Yoga reminds us how to breath properly and efficiently. A breath that utilizes the diaphragm, expanding the abdomen with air IN and and contracting with air OUT, maximizes the delivery of oxygen to to blood, tissues, muscles, ligaments, and deep into our 50 trillion cells. One deep breath triggers a cascade of positive, unseen effects, that ensures smooth running and integration of all the bodies systems: EVERYTHING from digestion to motivation, to the relaxation response depend upon the breath.
3- Relaxation reduces stress & burns calories
It has been said that our immune system loves silence.
Swami Sivananda said that a restless mind can expend more energy than physical activity, leaving one exhausted. Patanjali stated that all unhappiness is rooted in mental "fluctuations. " Until the mind is quiet it is impossible to acheive a significant level of calm and rejuvenation. TAP INTO YOUR FULL POTENTIAL... Hatha yoga shows the way
As with breathing, Relaxation also requires practice apparently. if properly fatigued we can fall asleep standing on our feet. BUT is that proper rest? Because modern life is so stressful we behave as though resting is something of a time-waster. We often give more loving attention to our cats and cars that we give to ourselves. Chronic disease follows from inadequate rest. Millions of people rely on sleep aids to find sleep and restoration. There is another way..
4- Diet: What is a "proper" diet? A wholesome & nutritious natural assortment of vegetables, healthy fats, clean protein, fruit & grain based diet promotes vitality. We are what we eat. Retrain your tastebuds with fresh unprocessed foods.
5-Proper Thinking = Meditation : A beautiful blend of the first four principles culminates in the ultimate experience ; rounding out a perfectly integrated, meditative formula. Hatha Yoga in its purest form is a spiritual practice, a path to "Enlightenment." It offers a systematic means to transcend the limitations of the ever-changing physical realm we call "Reality."
Mental noise is deafening. Most of the time we are not even aware of the incessant background hummm...until it is not there. Have you ever arrived in the countryside and noticed how loud silence actually is? Stillness and silence are an acquired taste, a flavor that our cells crave. Awareness arises out of the stillness. And it is delicious