5 tips to prepare yourself for a yoga teacher training

When summer comes to a close, kids get ready for their first day of school. This first day of school requires careful preparation and it’s a moment of great excitement, not only for the little ones starting their first grade, but also for the “big” ones starting their first teacher training in a school, in a Yoga school.

How do you know when you are ready?

You know that kids go to school when they turn 6 or 7. However, when you decide if you are ready for a Yoga teacher training or not, age is not a criterion at all, not even the “age” of your practice. Young or experienced, yoga beginner or super-advanced, you will find a Yoga teacher training that suits you as soon as you feel you are prepared for such a course.

How do you know precisely when you are ready for a yoga teacher training? I believe a student knows s/he is ready for Yoga Teacher training by looking at the burning desire to dive into the eight limbs of yoga. One needs to have a burning passion (rajas) and true desire to embrace all eight limbs of yoga, not just the asana practice which is only one of them. This should be considered before embarking on any Yoga Teacher Training. I think that it is more important to have a daily practice or start doing one than the ability to do advanced asana, although a certain level should have been attained, at least a level two in classes. However the ability to have an open mind, strong body and a great desire to learn and good knowledge of how your body feels when practicing asana is a great starting point too.

Preparation tips for Yoga Teacher Training 

There are a couple of tips for you to prepare for the wonderful learning journey of Yoga teacher training. The following tips will help you prepare not only for the first day of the teacher training programme but will set up the basis for your entire yoga journey.Sonja Appel at Sushumna Teacher Training

  1. Read through some Yoga literature in order to get familiar with the key concepts. Ask if there is a reading list recommended by the Yoga school where your teacher training takes place and try as much as possible to go through it before the course. During the course, you would be so busy with the practice and the study of the textbooks that there will be no time left for extra curriculum readings
  2. Get in touch with recent graduates to know what to expect from your Yoga school: how is the place like, what should you bring with you, daily schedule, classes structure, teaching methods, teachers, is there a “silent day”, what kind of food will be served for meals. Ask your Yoga school if it can provide you with alumni contacts who could be a valuable insightful support in preparing your trip and setting up your expectations for the teacher training course. Furthermore, talking to alumni, other yogis or yoga teachers will boost your motivation and inspire you to get the best out of the course.
  3. Spend some time working on the asana. As soon as your application is successful, this is the time when you really start to prepare. In my opinion, one can only teach to the level of his/her own daily practice. So, what I recommend before embarking on a teacher training course is asana practice 6 days a week, one day of rest and if you do Mysore self –practice; rest is taken on the moon days too, which is twice a month. No inversions at that certain ‘time of the month’ for women. Practicing with full mind/body awareness will not tire you out as you should never push your body in yoga. I encourage you to always practice ahimsa – non violence, in thought, word and action.
  4. Give yourself time for the learning process. Learning occurs differently for each of us and in different time spans. Reflecting on your learning process would help you understand how you function as a learner (what is the most helpful for your understanding – to see it, hear it or try it?) and then enhance your learning based on what you know about yourself.
  5. You may want to buy a notebook more than the ones counted on the list received from your kid’s teacher. You will need a notebook and some pencils just for yourself. Prepare your notebook for taking notes during the classes and for journaling. Inspiration, thoughts and reflections may pop up and it’s good to have a space to gather them all.

 

Reading the recommended literature of your yoga school before the course, getting in touch with other yogis, graduates of the yoga school, their teachers or staff, dedicate some of your time to the regular conscious practice of asana and reflect on your learning process in order to improve it, should support you in the endeavor of becoming a great yoga teacher. This will allow you to enjoy the experience with all your senses. But at the same time, realizing that the five senses can be limiting, if we cannot move beyond them into a more expansive realm, which is the true journey of the yogi.

For all the little ones, and the big ones starting their school this fall, an open mind, a big heart, a strong body and a burning desire to learn will keep up your excitement for the courses. Not only for the first day of school, but for the entire learning journey.

This article, signed by our Executive Director, Gita Sahni, was published on YogiTimes based on an interview with Sonja Appel

We are all beyond time

We usually know time from changes in nature. We observe that the earth circles around the sun, and we call it “a year”. Then we have the seasons that can be such a subtle reminder that time flies. The earth turns around its axis and we call it “one day”. To get more precise with the time measurements, we invented hours, minutes, seconds, as subdivisions of the day. sun

But there are particular moments in life when we know time from changes in people. If for some reason, the earth lost contact with the sun and our nature-related time units would become meaningless, then I imagine we would be able to measure time by looking at the changes in people around us.

These particular moments when we get the time awareness by looking at the changes in people, are the moments of return, return to our childhood land. You see “years” in the white hair of a primary school colleague who used to have crow-black hair; or in the news that the neighboring house is now empty since the neighbor is no longer alive; you see “seasons” in the big belly of a pregnant friend who you haven’t met for a long time; you see all the days, hours, minutes, and seconds that you have been away from home when you hug your dad and feel the weakness of his growing-old body.

In these moments of return, in order to cope with all these changes in people, I become in the daily life as “yogi” as I am on the mat. I salute the Indian logic as serene as I salute the sun in a Sun Salutation: what is not real in the beginning or at the end, is not real in the middle either. You know time was not real prior to the Big Bang when all the matter was condensed in one spot. There was no observer to acknowledge time then! And you know time will cease as well fifteen billion years from now when the universe will come to its end. Then too, no human mind will be there to observe the end of time. As we know from Einstein’s relativity, time is depended on the observer: no observer to witness it, no time. Therefore, according to the Indian logic, time is not real, it does not exist. Time did not exist at the beginning, will not exist in the end, therefore it cannot be real in the middle either. It is a construct. Time is the child of our minds.

That’s why, beyond an open heart, I would say yogis have another super-power: to dissolve time. Once you dissolve your mind on the mat, time will also vanish with it. At least for a while until your mind returns.

This summer, returning to my hometown, I have tried to see the people I love beyond all their transformations, beyond the passage of time: Geo, the pregnant woman, she will always be my friend although her body and status are changing; my love for my neighbor is still there in my heart although she is not there in her house anymore; my dad will always remain the person who gave me life and taught me the good, the bad and the ugly in this life, regardless the wrinkles, weight loss or illnesses.

My friend, my neighbor, my dad, your dad, the crow-black haired colleague, you, me, we are all so real while time is not. Let’s enjoy the seasons changing, keep an eye on the watch to be punctual, make the best thing out of our time. But always remember: we are all beyond time.

Sonja’s article about Yoga and Time was published by Yogi Times on the 18th of September, 2013. For more personal stories from Yogi Times, visit their website at: http://www.yogitimes.com

Have you ever felt the rain? 3 reasons to do it

We rush inside whenever it starts. We get into cars, under roofs; we desperately look for shelters the very first moment it starts. We arm ourselves with long sad raincoats, sharp umbrellas and cover our bodies as much as we can, as if rain will not simply “fall” but it will angrily “attack” us. Looking at how well people cover up their skin when it rains, one could easily imagine the rain drops aren’t just a natural phenomenon, but an epidemic: God forbidden to touch you! And if it had touched you, you better go and change your clothes immediately, have a cup of hot tea, a hot shower and a Paracetamol or any other “rainkiller”.

With this apocalyptic “run-rain-comes!” attitude, have you ever taken the time to actually feel the rain? Have you taken the time to simply watch the rain, and just let it be?

“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.” Henry Wadsw1175455_10151821430387567_38432289_north Longfellow.

Let it be, as you let your breath be when you are in Savasana. Just notice it without wanting to change anything about it.

There are good reasons to do it, both to feel the rain and to notice it without having to run, to hide or wish it stopped immediately.

It’s romantic!
First of all, the touch of rain can be wonderfully romantic.The soft touch of rain is the first reason why you should take a moment and deep dive into the feeling of “being rained.”In Goa, the monsoon’s rain sometimes comes in perfect liquid soft beads – like the sky is inhabited by milliards elegant beings wearing transparent beads who decided to tear the threads from their beads and let them all drop down to humans. They surely wear loads of beads up there, in the Goan sky, because this July, for days in a raw, the beads kept on coming to the ground. When they touchthe ground, they transform in muddy bubbles and thick flows. But when they fall on your body, the beads are always soft, warm and clean. You just need a steady yoga mind to enjoy the drops and the running playful flows on your body. Keep your awareness alive and feel the rain. If you only think about how wet you’ll get, you will not be able to simply walk in the rain. Feel the dropson your face; feel themwith your forehead, with your eyebrows, your hair, your shoulders, your neck, your chest, your back, your feet. Feel the raindrops.

It’s healthy!
Maybe being rained sounds foolishly romantic to you. I bet the most rational of you are already thinking about the effects of rain, translated into the terrible cold you’d get afterwards. You would be surprised to find out that rain is actually healthy for your body. As incredible as this may sound, it has been scientifically proven that when water moves, a release of negative ions occurs – electrically charged particles that attach themselves to damaging free radicals. These ions alkalize your body and an alkalized body means stronger bones. Therefore, a good summer rain is not only romantic, but it has also positive effects for your bones.

It’s relaxing!
Furthermore, it’s more than our bones that enjoy the rain drops. The sound of the rain, the touch of water and the fresh air brought by the rain will revitalize your entire body at once. You must have heard the rain in healing or relaxation music. It sounds beautifully; it relaxes your body, your mind and brings some moments of quietness to your soul. Then why not trying some natural live musical rain? If you don’t get enough of it there, pay us a visit in Goa. We have plenty of musical rain in here!

For the sake of the romanticism, of your bones or for the relaxation effect, next time it rains you need to rush. Grab your raincoat, take your umbrella and your rubber boots and put them all into the cabinet.You are going to embrace the rain and not fight against it. Take off your socks and the fears that rain is bad for you.Rush from inside to outside: bare feet, wearing a light T-shirt and an open heart. Bring your awareness with you; you will definitely need it to feel the pure rain effect.

It’s time to feel the rain!

Sonja’s article, “Have you ever felt the rain” was published by Yoga Curious Blog on the 3rd of September, 2013. Dig for more Yoga-related articles here.  Happy reading!

Photo source: pinterest.com/ericyeung/

Yoga Teacher Training in India – are you ready or not?

For particular actions in our life, we know exactly when we are ready because nature or social conventions taught us so:

  • Kids are ready to go to school when they turn 6 or 7
  • Cherries are ready to be picked when they have a reddish color
  • A baby is ready for a night’s sleep after being fed
  • You are prepared to teach after you have successfully graduated a teacher training.

However, when you decide or think you are ready for a yoga teacher training or not, age, nature or social conventions are not criteria at all: not even the “age” of your practice, what the others say about you or if it is a “yoga season” or not. Young or experienced, yoga beginner or super-advanced, you will find a Yoga teacher training that suits you as soon as you feel you are prepared for such a course.

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How do you know precisely when you are ready for a yoga teacher training?

Sonja Appel, Founder and leading teacher at Sushumna Yoga in Goa, India, affirms that a student knows they are ready for a yoga teacher training by having a desire to dive into all the aspects of what yoga truly means.

“Of course one needs to have a burning passion (rajas in sanskrit) and true desire to embrace all eight limbs of yoga, not just the asana practice which is only one of them. This should be considered before embarking on any Yoga Teacher Training. I think that it is more important to have a daily practice or start doing one than the ability to do advanced asana, although a certain level should have been attained, at least a level two in classes. However the ability to have an open mind, strong body and a great desire to learn and good knowledge of how your body feels when practicing asana is a great starting point too.”

For those of you who have discovered in your heart the burning passion for yoga and feel ready for our yoga teacher training in India, at Sushumna Yoga there are two upcoming events that may interest you:

1) Sushumna Teacher Training – 300+ Hours

Dates: 16th March  to 13th April 2014
Place: Sushumna Yoga Retreat in Goa, India
More information: Click Here

2) 100 hours Yoga Immersion 

Brief: Yoga Immersion in Ashtanga & Vinyasa Flow & Yogic Philosophy with Anand Semalty and  Sonja Appel.
Dates: 12th to 26th January 2014
Place: Sushumna Yoga Retreat in Goa, India
More information: Click Here

Article retrieved from Yoga Curious Blog, published on September 2, 2013.  Read more articles on Yoga Curios here.

Death is nothing at all

Poem by Henry Scott Holland

 

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.

Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well.

Yoga – A Proven Escape to Happy and Healthy Life

This is a great summary of the benefits of yoga that we would like to share with you. Namaste!

Vital Tips For Health

Yoga, an ancient style of positioning the body in various styles, is being practiced in a large number of countries across the globe. It isn’t a latest trend, but it’s a form of exercise that exists in the world for more than 5000 years. Unlike aerobic and other form of westernize exercises, yoga helps you rejuvenate both – your body as well as soul.

Professional yoga classes focus on physical poses, breathing techniques and meditation techniques. Some yoga classes specialize in meditation and some specialize in pregnancy related yoga exercises. No matter what type of yoga training (yoga-Ausbildung in German) you choose, but one thing it guaranteed that the training will bring the greatest health benefits to you.

Physical Benefits

Yoga turns out to be very useful in improving the physical fitness of the body. Following are some major benefits of yoga training:

  • Increase the mobility of joints
  • Increase…

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Time to meet Sushumna Yoga’s Ambassadors

Whoever seeks information about Sushumna Teacher Training or our retreats, shall find it on sushumna.inFacebookTwitterYouTube or on other different corners of the online “world wide web”. But reading a webpage can rarely be as heartwarming, touching and revealing as talking to somebody who has had a direct experience of the place you are interested in. Because we want you to hear about Sushumna from our dearest students but also because, through them, we want to hear more from you, this summer we are excited to inagurate Sushumna’s Ambassadors network.
Sushumna’s network of Ambassadors brings together our best teacher training graduates all over the world. They are our spokespersons in the local community and they would be happy to offer you all the details you may need about our teacher training programme but also about travelling and being in Goa. This month, we are happy and honored to welcome Andrea, Jessica, Janet and Cecile as our first Ambassadors.
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Andrea Jensen
Sushumna Ambassador in Los Angeles, USA

Andrea graduated from the Sushumna Teacher Training in fall 2012 and she is currently an active practitioner and yoga teacher in Los Angeles, USA. Andrea has video documented her entire trip to India. After returning from Goa to Los Angeles, she has been working on a video series, 30 days in India, depicting her everyday experience in India, as a yoga teacher in training but also as a curious traveler. Peep into our studio and course by watching the second episode of “30 Days in India” on simpleyogalessons.com. Feel free to poke Andrea to ask her more about her experience in Goa!

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Jessica Evans
Sushumna Ambassador in Melbourne, Australia
Jessica completed Sushumna Yoga Teacher Training in fall 2012. She has embraced yoga since and is currently teaching yoga in Melbourne. Returning home to Melbourne after receiving her certification was actually returning home from four years of travelling abroad. She is now settled back into work as an Osteopath and has started a Master of Public Health. Those of you participating in Sushumna Teacher Training this fall (3rd November-1st December 2013), you will be learning about yoga anatomy from Jessica during the Anatomy Modules. A warm welcome to Sushumna Yoga teachers’ team for Jessica!
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Janet Richards
Sushumna Ambassador in Cumbria, UK
“Since undertaking my training with Sushumna in April I have returned to Cumbria and am currently teaching yoga at the Purple Lotus in Carlisle. Yoga is very much an integral and important part of my life and is something that is continuing to grow in my heart improving my feeling of self worth and my dealings with others. I am so grateful for the team at Sushumna who awakened my potential and have set my life in a new and exciting direction.” You can find out more about Janet on 79 Cook Books on My Shelf, Janet’s blog dedicated to her passion for good food and cooking. Her experience at Sushumna Yoga during the Yoga Teacher Training is also documented on her blog, Travel Blog section, which will satisfy your hunger for details about the vegan diet, green fasting or silence days at Sushumna.
cecile
Cécile Roitg
Sushumna Ambassador in Bordeaux, France
Cecile completed Sushumna Teacher Training in fall 2012. After her intense learning experience at Sushumna, she went on travelling around Asia, meeting other yoga teachers in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. “A yoga school offered me a job in Singapore, so I accepted for a few days. It was amazing because the majority of my students spoke only Chinese…” but hopefully they could “speak” and “understand” the body language of Yoga. After her travel, Cecile returned to France. She is now living in Bordeaux and she is preparing herself for a training in pre and post natal yoga.
To contact Andrea, Jessica, Janet, Cecile or to find out who is the closest Sushumna Ambassador to your area, please contact us here via the contact form on our website. If you mention the name of the Ambassador you would like to get in contact with, or your location in this world, then the closest Sushumna Ambassador will get in touch with you in no time.

Don’t take my breath away

There are these lyrics that I often hear on the radio lately:

You don’t know what you’ve got till you’re missing it a lot.

These simple lyrics meant to be sung to the beloved one are very suitable to describe also the relationship we have with our own breath. Breath is with us from the very first till the very last moment of our life. We don’t have to do anything to achieve it. It’s just there for us to nourish life in our bodies. Like a fish who takes water as a given, we take breathing for granted. We realize how much we miss our breath only when we are facing moments that take our breath away, when we lose our breath in intense physical exercises, when we are taking the stairs till the fifth floor after a five-course Christmas dinner or when we sit next to the dearest one giving out his/her last breath.pranayama-breathing

One essential thing Yoga does for the relationship with our breath is to bring in awareness. To put it again in the words of the lyrics, by practicing yoga, one becomes aware what s/he got before missing it a lot. A yogi will not wait to lose his/her breath to notice it. In the practice of Yoga, sometimes we simply notice our breath without changing anything about it; other times, we consciously stretch the inhalation, the exhalation and the time in between them; or maybe we take “victorious breaths” (Ujjayi Pranayama) by stretching the breath and practicing a slight constriction of the glottis which produces a gentle hissing sound.

Listening to the sound of our own breath has several implications.

First and foremost it is pratyahara, the fifth limb of Yoga. Pratyahara means “to withdraw the senses from the outer world.” Instead of looking outside, for instance at the neighbor’s mat and start comparing your posture with his/hers, pratyahara takes your attention inwardly, away from external stimuli. This is a valuable meditation aid. We need to truly ask ourselves who we really are without our 5 senses, surely there is more to us than just our bodies and minds? What is truly living? What really happens when we die? Is happiness restricted to our 5 senses only?

Second, listening to our breath informs us about our attitude in the posture or in that particular situation. Have you ever paid attention to your breath when you were furious? Did you like the sound of your breath then? I guess not. At times when the breath sounds short, aggressive, heavy, we know there is something in the posture or in the situation that we need to correct to avoid unhelpful attitudes.

Furthermore, adjusting our breathing by increasing our inhalation, we increase the amount of oxygen supplied to our bodies. Then, by increasing exhalation, we exhale more toxins of all kind, from the physical and environmental toxins (lead, nicotine, sulfur dioxide) to mental and emotional (“Does he still love me?”).

I started by quoting from one song. Now I will end by making slight modifications to another famous refrain: “Don’t take my breath away.” From all the life processes taking place in our wonderful complex body, breath is actually the only one we can purposefully adjust or change. You may often feel breathtaking experiences, but don’t let anybody or anything take your breath away. You need it to practice Yoga, to practice life.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamorcillov/

by Sonja

Sonja’s article “Don’t take my breath away” was published by yogacurious.com on July, 15th, 2013, and retrieved by our blog. To dive into more reading on Yoga Curious, click here.

You – Your Ego -Yoga

Ego is like a sphere that covers you and does not allow you to stay in peace with your inner higher self. It blocks you from feeling complete, loved, peaceful, natural, calm and benign. This sphere pushes you to criticize, to complain, to feel superior or overly important; encourages you to spread anger, feel insulted when disagreed; requires you to win every argument, show that you are right. It makes you feel a lack of confidence; it radiates fear, aggression, and mistrust.
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We are taught since childhood to wish for something, to want something. It is good to have wishes, dreams; to achieve them, to follow them. But somewhere in our life it becomes a wish to have more material things, to have a better car than your brother, build a fancier house than your neighbor, let your kids to a prestige kindergarten, buy branded clothes, just because it instantly shows your income level and adds you to a certain brand community. But at the end of the day we fundamentally just want to be happy, healthy, calm and free. And these feelings cannot be achieved in any other way than spending time with yourself and working with yourself, teaching and showing yourself the right way to live, right way to be.

Learning from Yoga as a philosophy and a way of life, doing your practices and forming, creating yourself, you can become free of ego. Yoga helps you to look at yourself, focus on yourself and solve problems you have by yourself as well as letting you to actually discover who you are. Living in peace with your true self gives you freedom from tension, anxiety to be in a group, a need to be right.

Your ego is a milestone of majority of your problems and feelings that you don’t want to feel – greediness, jealousy, fear. In order to be able to live as a strong and calm individual soul you should achieve egoless phase without rating yourself in your daily life according to achievements, looks, behavior or opinions of other people; without requiring the universe to act in your way, without major disappointments, without limitless complaints and destructive feelings. When through your meditation and yoga you get to know yourself ego has no place to exist.

 Once you have disidentified from your mind, whether you are right or wrong makes no difference to your sense of self at all, so the forcefully compulsive and deeply unconscious need to be right, which is a form of violence, will no longer be there. You can state clearlyand firmly how you feel or what you think, but there will be no aggressiveness or defensiveness about it. ( Eckhart Tolle)

Raminta

Ishvara Pranidhana

Ishvara Pranidhana means love and surrender to the divinity within the individual.

In Sanskrit Ishvara is the creative source, purusha, (the authentic self which is eternal) pure consciousness, God, Goddess or Supreme Guru. Pranidhana means “with sincerity, dedication and devotion, practicing the presence, surrendering to the fruits of practice.”

I like to interpret it as deep platonic love for the creative, source of pure consciousness that is bigger and more powerful than us. Why should we have a problem with surrendering to our own serene, innate, luminous force that lives inside us? Our true S.E.L.F.

For a western mind, caught up with these words that have become redundant for us. We feel that this is almost impossible. We can’t fully surrender to our loved ones or partners, how do we surrender to a higher, knowing, loving force?

Keely came to me in a state, at 45 she felt that she had gone through a mid-life crisis and was at a loss as to what to do. She had conducted a year, long affair with a man other than her husband, but it all had to come to an end once her spouse found out. Keely had been given an ultimatum and couldn’t break up with her partner especially after 15 years and initially, she selfishly wanted to keep the two relationships going. However presented with a fait accompli like this she was in a quandary.

I suggested the fifth niyama (observances for ourselves on the eight limbed–path of Patanjali’s yoga sutras, (Chapter II, verse 32) – Ishvara Pranidhana or I.P. as I would like to call it. The groundwork has to be done through the other four niyamas first of purification, contentment, burning through obstructions and cultivating self-study and study in order for I.P. to innately arise. Keely knew about the niyamas as a long time student of mine and this is why she was so upset that she had allowed herself to ignore them, as she knew she could not have carried on this affair if she had tried to observe them.

The Samkhya system of Indian Vedic philosophy defines the language of yoga. Patanjali accepts the theory that it is the clarification of advancement. How can we advance out of the ‘me’ syndrome into the wider and bigger picture of a life lived virtuously and well? I suggested to Keely to surrender to a better nature, a better life, a song of true and platonic love, to a soul, which has no boundaries, pride or stipulations, to a source/Goddess within her. Surrender yourself to a higher purpose. This was the only way to deal with the stress and tension she had unleashed on herself.

Fighting against feelings of despair and guilt and hatred of herself she felt that this was a last resort.  But Patanjali believes that this crisis response, can be an essential ongoing practice. As B. K. S. Iyengar wrote in Light on the Yoga Sutras, “Through surrender the aspirant’s ego is effaced, and . . . grace . . . pours down upon him like a torrential rain.”

How was Keely going to put I.P. into practice? A start is visualizing and bringing up an image of a specific goddess or god, representing powers, attributes, qualities and virtues of the Supreme Being, or the Divine nature within. Since I.P. focuses not on our ego but on the inviolable ground of being, it reunites us with our true Self – S.E.L.F.  Ishvara Pranidhana then is a pathway through the obstacles of our ego toward our divine nature, which is freedom, peace, grace, clarity and unconditional love.

As I live and teach in India, where worship of the divine is part of everyday life. I pointed out to her why I prostrate in front of my Devi (consecrated, living energy) before starting every class. Through this devotion to her qualities of absolute love, kindness, forgiveness, fortitude, grace and positivity, I am able to carry this through my teaching and use an asana class into transforming people’s lives off the mat. Anand an inspiring yoga philosophy teacher who works with me always asks western students to cultivate some form of bhakti (devotion) or surrender to the Divine. This is the way of the path to enlightenment – Samadhi.

There is no obstacle, emotion or inner state, which is beyond the influence of I.P. Even if you are a natural bhakti yogi or yogini or a complete cynic, whether you are performing a straightforward task like cleaning your house or a daunting task like a tough conversation, whether you feeling confused or guilty, the whole breadth of life is in the orbit of I.P. When we listen to our true intuition or heart and become aware how each action and emotion is a constant connection to our higher Selves, our hearts become aware of the divine in everything.

Sonja

This article was published in The Global Yogi magazine on the 9th of July, 2013.