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Do you want to know all about your third eye chakra and how to unlock its power?  This Ajna Chakra (Sanskrit: आज्ञा, IAST: Ājñā), or third-eye chakra, is the sixth primary chakra in the body according to Hindu tradition. It is so-called a part of the brain, near your pineal gland.  You can learn this in your Yoga teacher training Course or Yoga retreat. This chakra can be made more powerful through your daily meditation, pranayama, yoga asanas, kriya yoga and other spiritual practices just as you train your muscles.

Our mind is always looking for a proof. We need a proof of everything. Love, friendship, trust… We need a proof that things are the way we think from scriptures, books, video clips, documentary, teachers, family or other people and groups. Constantly we are looking for proof. But yoga is when you drop this. Then alone you can abide in yourself. You don’t need proof to logic is very limited same with enlightenment. If we release this Vritti, this activity of our mind, we are going towards to discover our real self. Do you need a proof where you are right now? You see with your eyes the landscape, smell the air, feel the cold or warmness and you think you might have proven it. Your senses need a proof, but you don’t need your senses to prove where you are right now. This is very delicate, I know. Your senses can fool you. Maybe you think you are in India but in reality, you are already in Nepal. You just crossed the border without knowing it. … If you are beyond your senses, you know, I am, I exist.

If you abide in yourself you don’t need to prove anything. Truth cannot be understood through proving. A proof is beyond proving. Anything that we can prove we can also disproof. God can not be proved, nor can you disprove God. The proof is connected to logic and logic is very limited in it preview. Same with enlightenment, same with love. Love cannot be proofed or disproved. Someone’s action and behavior is not a proof of love. Many movie actors and actress, they all exhibit a lot of love, but they just show it, isn’t it?. But they play it very well so that we believe them, without feeling it, without living it. Our Self is beyond all this proof. The proof is one of the main activity on the mind.

If you learn to understand your mind, you will learn to control your mind step by step. It is an ongoing process of practice, respect, learning, and understanding.

The Ajna Chakra is located between the eyebrows, behind your forehead. The function of the third eye chakra is controlled by the principle of openness and imagination. This can be only reached through daily yoga practice. Ajna is the most common Sanskrit name for the Third eye chakra and means “command” & “perceiving”. A yogi who has passed through the Vishuddha Chakra at the throat to the Ajna Chakra cross the five elements and becomes freed from the bondage of time-bound consciousness. This is where the I-consciousness is absorbed into super-consciousness. Some Gurus call it the Christ-consciousness.

Your personal behavior and vibration frequency could be the one thing holding you back to awaken this consciousness. You can change this only with a constantly regular practice of Yoga. Do your morning Asanas, pranayama and meditation. Learn this skill. After you will learn this practice, your Tapas (endurance, acceptance) without crumbling, you will get a glimpse of your real self, your energy and so much more will be revealed. Svadhyaya self-study is part of your yogic life. It is the second step of Kriya Yoga. It will give you rise to Samadhi, equanimity. Tapas makes you strong, willingly you through a lot what is not easy. People go to different extents. Tapas in the mind is as important as tapas for your body. If one is not strong enough, you will give up after some time.

Behavioral characteristics of the Third eye chakra

The third eye chakra is associated with the following psychological and behavioral characteristics:

  • Vision
  • Intuition
  • Perception of subtle dimensions and movements of energy
  • Psychic abilities related to clairvoyance and clairaudience especially
  • Access to mystical states, illumination
  • Connection to wisdom, insight
  • Motivates inspiration and creativity

The third eye chakra is an instrument to perceive the more subtle qualities of reality. It goes beyond the more physical senses into the realm of subtle energies. Awakening your third eye allows you to open up to an intuitive sensibility and inner perception.

This will connect us with a different way of seeing and perceiving things. The third eye chakra’s images are hard to describe verbally. It needs to be experienced. It puts us in touch with the inexpressible and the indefinable, unexplainable more closely. Third eye visions are also often more subtle than regular visions. They may appear a bit “blurry”, ghost-like, cloudy, or dream-like. Sometimes, however, the inner visions might be clear like a movie playing in front of your eyes.

Sustaining awareness of third eye chakra energy might require focus and the ability to relax into a different way of seeing. When we focus our mind and consciousness, we can see beyond the distractions and illusions that stand before us and have more insight to live and create more deeply aligned with our highest good. A good tool to learn to focus is Trataka meditation.The third eye chakra is associated with the archetypal dimensions, as well as the realm of spirits.

Third eye chakra imbalance

When the Third eye chakra has an imbalance, it can manifest as:

  • Feeling stuck in the daily grind without being able to look beyond your problems and set a guiding vision for yourself
  • Overactive third chakra without support from the rest of the chakra system may manifest as fantasies that appear more real than reality, indulgence in psychic fantasies and illusions
  • Not being able to establish a vision for oneself and realize it
  • Rejection of everything spiritual or beyond the usual
  • Not being able to see the greater picture
  • Lack of clarity

To balance these energies you need to understand your Body and mind, to bring balance in all your layers of energy, your Pancha Koshas. 

The Pancha Koshas (five sheaths) provide us with a roadmap for a better understanding of our psychological & spiritual development. There are namely:

  1. Physical – Annamaya kosha
  2. Energy – Pranamaya kosha
  3. Mental – Manamaya kosha
  4. Wisdom – Vijnanamaya kosha
  5. Bliss – Anandamaya kosha

Beyond is the real Self – Atman

More info about the third eye you can read here: https://millionsacredpaths.weebly.com/life-journey

If you are interested to learn more, and how to reveal your true self, you should constantly learn, practice and make your different experiences in Yoga. Be a Yogi. A first step can be done with our 200 hours YTTC.

The post All About Third Eye Chakra & How To Unlock Its Power appeared first on Yoga Teacher Training in India at Shree Hari School | Certified YTT course.

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Love is hard. Balancing giving and receiving is hard. Sometimes, being human is hard. Yoga helps. Let’s talk about our heart space today, where our spiritual self meets love. Let’s talk heart-opening yoga and meditation. Intrigued? Read on, my friends.

The magical thing about yoga is that it is good for your physical and energetic body. Today we are going to specifically talk about our hearts and all the beautiful benefits of yoga. Physically, yoga builds cardiovascular health, boosts blood circulation and decreases inflammation… Now, it gets even more interesting. Yoga also works on the energetic body and can help unblock the heart chakra (the anahata chakra). With an unblocked and awakened anahata our beautiful spirits can truly shine through. But what is the anahata chakra? And what is heart-opening yoga and meditation? Let me explain…

What is the Anahata Chakra?

The anahata chakra is located in the centre of the chest. It is where the divine spiritual self (atma) meets love. Very often we have a tendency to build walls around our hearts, convinced that this will prevent any pain. Maybe you had a bad breakup? Lost a loved one? Put yourself out there and got turned down? So then you think, “Well if I hadn’t loved, if I hadn’t been vulnerable, then I wouldn’t have been hurt.” And hurting is… well… painful. So the walls go up. And we block this beautiful sacred place.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the answer. A blocked anahata effects our ability to give and receive love. But what does this really mean? A huge part of all healthy relationships, not just the romantic, is the ability to be loved and to LET ourselves be loved. When I look back to previous romantic relationships I see that I was too obsessed with whether they loved me. Actually, sometimes I still do this and have to stop to observe myself. Anyway, I never used to think about how I was giving love. Now I realise I was the one not able to give love properly because I didn’t have any for myself. And relationships are mirrors to our internal world.

Sometimes I also tend to give a lot and then not really know how to receive. Letting someone love you, and trusting them, means that you believe that you deserve this love. And this is hard. So walls go up, as do the excuses. It is important to be able to go inside and gently ask, why am I blocking love? Am I really open to loving? Am I scared? Do I think I don’t deserve it? Does loving feel unsafe? You tell me.

Heart-Opening Yoga

In yoga we can work on unblocking the anahata by practising “heart-opening” yoga and meditation. This means chest-openers and back bends. By lifting your heart, expanding your chest and bringing your shoulders back you are increasing your heart space, and stimulating the anahata. This practise can help us release tension and trapped emotion. It can also help to start knocking down metaphorical walls. Meditation can help us to start tuning into ourselves, and see what our heart tells us. Slowly as we open our heart space we can let in all the good that life has in store for us. Sounds good right?

Let’s start by opening our arms wide and saying (or shouting), “I open my arms wide and declare with love that I accept ALL of the good that life has in store for me!” (Thanks, Louise Hay, for the idea). I do this, in public, or to the sea… and I’m not remotely embarrassed.

Anyway, back to the heart-opening yoga. Here are some chest-opening, heart-expanding, love-generating asanas for you:

Heart-Opening Asanas Virabhadrasana 1 Modification (Arching Warrior Pose)

1. From tadasana (mountain pose) take a 3ft step back with your left foot. Turn your back toes out diagonally slightly. Bend your right leg, whilst keeping your knee directly over the ankle.

2. Make sure your front knee is pointing out towards the second or third toes. Keep your hips squared with the front of the mat. The back leg is straight and engaged.

3. Inhale and raise your arms above your head next to the ears.

4. Let your shoulder relax down the back and feel your chest opening and lifting.

5. As you exhale, sweep your hands behind your back and clasp them together. Roll your shoulders back and expand the chest.

6. As you inhale feel your chest expanding. Maybe visualise that warm loving energy flowing from your heart space. Also realise that your chest is open to receive it right back.

7. As you exhale feel yourself grounding your back foot into the floor.

8. Hold for 5 breaths.

9. Inhale, your arms back up to the sky and step your back foot to meet your front foot.

10. Exhale, palms to your side. You are ready for the next side.

11. Repeat on the other leg for a balanced practice.

Utkata Konasana (Goddess Pose)

1. From tadasana step your feet wide apart. Face the side of the mat and turn your feet out towards the corners of the mat.

2. Take a deep inhale and raise your arms so that the arms are parallel to the mat and the palms are facing up towards the sky.

3. As you exhale, bend your knees and lift your heart to the sky. Make sure that your knees are over your ankles and pointing in the same direction as your toes.

4. Bend your elbows slightly so your hands are higher than the shoulders.

5. Inhale, and let your shoulder relax down the back and feel your chest opening and lifting.

6. Draw your belly in and tailbone down.

7. Hold for 5 breaths. Look up and really feel the chest space expanding. Maybe even say in your mind, “I open my arms wide and accept ALL of the good!” Feel your heart open.

8. Exhale, straighten your legs and lower your arms.

9. Jump back to the front of the mat.

Chakrasana (Wheel)

1. Lie on the floor on your back.

2. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor as close to your seat as possible.

3. Bend you elbows and press your palms next to your ears. Make sure your fingers are pointing to your shoulders.

4. Exhale, press your inner feet into the floor and press your tailbone up the pubis. Activate the buttocks and start to lift them off the floor.

5. Firmly press your hands into the floor and press your shoulder blades against the back. Lift the upper body on to the crown of your head.

6. Make sure arms and legs are parallel. No sticking out knees or elbows.

7. Exhale, push into hands and feet, and push the tailbone up and shoulder blades together. Lift your head and straighten your arms.

8. Turn the upper thighs slightly in and activate the outer thighs. Turn the upper arms outwards and spread the shoulder blades across the back.

9. Let your head hang.

10. Hold for 5-10 breaths.

11. Slowly lower. Lie down and resssst.

12. Maybe go again? Yaaay.

Bhujangasana (Cobra)

1. Start by laying on the floor on your front. Stretch your legs back with the top of your feet on the floor.

2. Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Keep your elbows tight to your body.

3. Press your feet, thighs and pubis into the floor.

4. Inhale and begin to straighten the arms to lift up the chest. Press the tailbone towards the pubis. Firm the glutes without fully hardening them.

5. Press the shoulder blades against the back, whilst pushing the side ribs forward. Lift the sternum.

6. Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths. Make sure you are breathing easily.

Ustrasana (Camel)

1. Begin in an upright kneeling position. Keep your knees hip-width distance apart. Rotate your thigh inwards. Don’t clench the glutes. Push your shins and the top of your feet into the ground.

2. Exhale and bring your hands onto your lower back. Keep your fingers pointing the floor.

3. Inhale, lengthen your tailbone down towards the floor and lean back. Keep your chin gently tucked in. Beginners stay here. Focus on opening that chest and keeping the hands on the lower back.

4. If you are comfortable, take the pose further. Reach back and gently clasp the heels. Point your fingers towards your toes, and your thumbs should hold to outside of each foot.

5. Make sure your thighs are engaged and your hips stay directly over the heels.

6. Push up through the pelvis and focus on a maintain a long lower spine.

7. Allow your head to drop back

8. Hold for 5-10 breath.

9. To come back, bring your hands back to your lower back. Inhale and straighten up leading from the heart. Your head should be last.

Anahata Meditation

Lay down in shavasana. Bring your attention to your body touching the ground. Feel how this earth is holding you, supporting you. Come to the realisation that the ground is always there for you. You are safe.

Slowly start breathing into your chest. As you inhale feel your chest expanding and filling with warmth. As you exhale start to feel this warmth radiating from you. Feel your heart space softening and expanding. Keep slowly inhaling and exhaling.

Feel yourself going deeper and deeper into your heart space. You are entering a beautiful never ending ocean. Start observing everything that comes. Gently, start asking yourself… What do I feel? Do not push or judge, simply observe. Notice any sensations. Maybe there is tension or a need for expansion? Notice any emotions. Is there any fear or hope? Know that there is no wrong or right. Whatever you hear, it is exactly what you need. Let yourself sink deeper into this well of love. Keep observing what comes up.

Slowly come to the realisation that it is okay for you to love yourself. I invite you to embrace yourself. Feel how your fingertips feel on your body. Gently feel your skin and the sensations your palms make pressed against it. Get to know yourself. Maybe you’ve never done this before? The world never told you that it’s okay to embrace yourself, but how can we really love others without loving ourselves first? Hold yourself tightly. Feel this deep love from your chest spreading all over your body, warming you.

Now, gently tell yourself one thing you like about yourself. Maybe this is hard? Maybe this makes you want to cry? Maybe you feel nothing? Whether it is good or bad, just let it be. Whatever you hear, it is exactly what you need. Allow the warmth to continue flowing from your heart.

Bring your arms back to the ground, palms facing up. Realise that you can express and give this love and joy to everyone. Allow this joyful and loving energy to radiate from you like an infinite fountain. Now, bring to mind someone you don’t really know. A stranger… You don’t even know their name. Send this radiating warmth and love from your heart to them. Maybe picture this love as a green light, the colour of the anahata chakra, flowing from your heart surrounding them. Visualize it truly connecting you both. Now, think about one thing you like about them. Feel the beauty of giving without expectation.

Now think of someone you love. A partner? A parent? A close friend? Feel yourself sending them this love, surrounding them in your healing green light. Realise there is no limit to this loving energy. Feel yourself wishing them all the good and bring to mind something you love about them. Realise how good giving feels.

Come to the realisation that being able to receive love is as beautiful as giving. And that it is as important to love yourself as others. Feel the light and warmth expanding all over your body. It flows down your legs into your beautiful toes. You feel your toes shining and breathing. The green light flows into your arms and into your finger tips. You glow. You shine. The light continues into your head and face. Your jaw relaxes and you keep glowing. You feel warm wrapped up in your self-accepting and loving light. Think about something else that you really love about yourself. Feel the sensations that arise in your body. Do not judge any emotion. I know this is hard, but you made it here. You are brave.

Finally, think of someone you feel hostility towards. Surround them in your shining green light as well. Send them understanding, forgiveness, and warmth. Truly realise the power of understanding and forgiveness. When we hold on to hostility we are really only hurting ourselves. We carry that burden, not them. So then send them your love and think of one thing that you like about that person. Really focus on this.

Maybe you have hostility to yourself? Realise it is okay to forgive yourself. None of us are perfect, and we always just do our best with what we knew at that time. Love that beautiful human who has made mistakes. Really love them. Dive deeper and deeper into your heart space. As you exhale discard all hostility, and as your inhale feel that heart space filling with love.

Be sure that you are capable of love. Now let’s say one final thing that we like about ourselves. Congratulate yourself for actually sitting with yourself. It can be difficult to do.

Stay in silent meditation for 5-10 more minutes.

When you are ready gently come back to your body. Feel the loving light energising and moving your fingers and toes. Feel your whole body energising and preparing for the beautiful day ahead. When you are ready, bring your knees to your chest and turn to your right side. Keep this loving light and warmth with you for the rest of the day. Remember this feeling of loving warmth. With your eyes closed come to a sitting position at the front of your mat. Bring your hands into namaskara (prayer) position. Thank yourself and your body for coming to your mat today. Remind yourself of the three things you loved about yourself. Remember how whole and perfect you are. Gently hug yourself. Find your softness. Then gently blink your eyes open. It is a beautiful day.

The post Heart-Opening Yoga & Meditation appeared first on Yoga Teacher Training in India at Shree Hari School | Certified YTT course.

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5 Best Things To Do In Dharamshala

I love the mountains. I mean I really love the mountains. There are few things I like more than hiking, enjoying the fresh air, and taking in magical views. This is why when I was teaching English in Bangalore I took the first possible opportunity to visit the Himalayas. In the school holidays we took our chance and caught a plane up North and planned to see as much as possible in the short time we had.

Of all the places we saw there definitely was one place that stayed in my heart: Dharamshala. Beautiful… beautiful Dharamshala: a magical little Indian town situated in the Himalayan foothills. The home of the Dalai Lama, beautiful hikes, and more yoga schools than you could even imagine. A dream, within the dream.

I ended up staying for far longer than I ever intended. Who wouldn’t want to experience as much as possible? I could go on for hours about all the glorious things to do in Dharamshala. But, that would be exhaussstinnnng. So just I picked the top 5 best things to do in Dharamshala.

1. Hiking

Dharamshala is surrounded by many many wonderful hikes. There are one-day hikes, 2-day hikes, 3-day hikes… you get the picture. You can go with a guide or without. You can take food or get food provided for you. There are also many options for all abilities, and we all like options. Whilst we were there we did one of the most popular hikes to Triund. This can be done in one day, or you can camp on the summit and extend your stay as long as you want! We didn’t have that much time so we went up and down in one day.

We started hiking early morning, post-coffee, enjoying the cooler weather and clear skies. On the route you are greeted by mesmerising views, mountain goats, and a healthy sweat. Pick a hilarious group of people, and you also get great conversations, laughter, and maybe even songs. On the top we enjoyed our picnic in the clouds. It really felt like we had found a secluded spot in heaven. You can also order food from the one restaurant at the top. Oh, the luxury!

The peak is also the base camp for acclimatisation for trekkers going higher. It is a magical place to camp and is known for its outstanding evening sky. If we had had longer we would have stayed longer. Temporarily living there surrounded by nature at its finest truly would be a blessing. Anyway, this was not the case. After we made the most of the views, sitting in peaceful awe, we jubilantly hiked down to the bottom. If you want things to do in Dharamshala, hiking is a must.

It was a wonderful day.

2. Waterfalls

Another fantastic thing to do in Dharamshala is to visit the local waterfalls. There are two waterfalls (that I know of) within walking distance of Dharamshala. And I can tell you: they are glorious. I can also tell you when we left, it started raining. It was only us walking up to the pools. I can even tell you that we found secluded little pools at the top. And that there are few greater feelings than sitting on a rock, next to the waterfalls, naked, in the rain… in the Himalayas.

Want to try this? You will have to go and see. You could even swim naked in the pools. I mean, you could even go and keep your clothes on. But where’s the fun in this? No fun.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any potential arrests.

3. Incredible food

Food is extremely exciting, I think you’ll agree. And eating is definitely one of the best things to do in Dharamshala. Honestly, it has some of the best food I have ever had in the whole of India. Sick of channa masala, dal, and aloo gobi? I’m joking, this isn’t actually possible.

BUT maybe sometimes you fancy another option? Like… TOFU? SMOOTHIES? VEGAN SHAKSHUKA? AVOCADO? I have been living in India for 8 months and I eat Indian food 95% of the time (because it is a glorious taste explosion), but sometimes I want something different. You know, I have gone from eating an avocado a day, to eating an avocado absolutely never. This is a huge sacrifice for my life here, I hope you will agree. In Dharamshala, there is no more sacrifice. There are all of the options and you can eat all of the things. Win win win. You ARE welcome.

PS – the Indian and Nepalese food there is also incredibly tasty. Because what is a day without aloo gobi? The answer would be nothing, absolutely nothing.

4. Yoga everywhere

I have never seen more yoga schools in one place, than in Dharamshala. And there is yoga for all types of people. Again, many OPTIONS, and we all like options. Because we all know that we are all different, and that’s more than okay. Maybe you are into ashtanga, Sivananda, vinyasa flow, hatha, or yin? Well, Dharamshala has it all! All of the things.

Now, picture this: You wake up in the Himalayas. A bird is singing a magical melody outside your window. You open your curtains and see the rolling, serene, calming mountains. You walk into a sweet little Nepalese cafe and enjoy a hot cup of coffee, because coffee is life. Unless you don’t drink coffee, and then I salut you… you are my hero. But…. I mean, how do you do it? Are you really happy?

Anyway, you walk a couple metres to your choice of yoga class. You start your day stretching, breathing, sweating, and meditating amongst a group of fresh-faced beautiful fellow human beings. All enjoying the uncountable benefits of yoga together.

Try to have a bad day after this start. You can’t. This is the peak.

5. Tushita

You cannot talk about things to do in Dharamshala without mentioning tushita. Tushita is a beautiful meditation centre sitting in the forested hills above the town. It is a Buddhist meditation centre offering short meditation courses, retreats, an extensive library, and daily drop-in classes. During my stay in Dharamshala tushita formed an essential part of most days. There is something truly special about meditating in a room of like-minded people from all over the globe. The high vibrations of the people and the enchanting surroundings lift you into such a deep, pure, healing meditation it cannot be described with words.

These drop-in classes, are really for everyone, whether you have never meditated or you have been practicing for many years. They explore many topics, nurturing you, whilst pushing you out of your comfort zone to allow yourself to feel or explore things you may have been blocking. It is an experience you don’t want to miss.

I will be moving back to Dharamshala again in the Spring. And I am really excited to live in the mountains again. To connect to the nature that really calls me. And I really hope to connect with you as well. See this as an open invitation to come and see me. I can even guide you through a yoga session in one of my drop-in classes. You are all always welcome. All the kisses, hugs, love, and light, Jana

The post 5 Best Things To Do In Dharamshala appeared first on Yoga Teacher Training in India at Shree Hari School | Certified YTT course.

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What is a Guided Sacral Meditation?

A guided sacral meditation is meditation that focuses on activating the sacral chakra. This chakra is our second chakra, located two inches below the navel and above our root chakra. This energetic wheel is related to our creativity, sensuality and acceptance of change. In yoga practice the asanas that help us to activate this area are hip openers. When working on hip openers it is a great opportunity to set an intention to release old trapped emotion, memories and pain. You can also set this as your theme for your closing meditation. This way your time on the mat isn’t only a beautiful physical practice, but also a healing internal journey. The fact that this meditation is guided means that it is led, so all you have to do is sit/lie down and let yourself go.

So put down your phone, turn off your computer and silence that never ending “to-do” list in your mind. Now is time for YOU. I really promise you everything can wait. It’s only 20 minutes! And you deserve to love and look after you, actually this is the most important thing you can do. It is time to pull out your mat and listen to our guided sacral meditation – you won’t regret it!

If you can’t listen to the audio do not despair! We have a written guided sacral meditation below. Oh, we really do think of everything don’t we. Enjoy:

Opening Meditation

Lay on your back and come into supta baddha konasana (reclining bound angle). Set your intention for your practice. What do you want to release. For example, for me, I regularly focus on releasing my inner critic. Frequently I set un-attainable expectations for myself instead of accepting myself the way I am. I have a tendency to think what I am right now is not good enough. This is NOT true. We are all good enough right NOW, actually we are even better than that. Therefore my intention of this practice is to release this habit.

Picture when this habit/ emotions/ thing has affected you. Remember a time it made you unhappy. Now remember that you CAN let it go. Feel yourself letting go. Really feel the release. Imagine yourself without it. Feel how free you are, how much lighter you feel. As you inhale think “let”, and as you exhale think “go”. Take a few long slow deep breaths.

Now we are ready for our practise. Remember your intention and the feeling of letting go during the asanas.

Closing Meditation

Come back to your shavasana (corpse pose). (Optionally – come back to supta baddha konasana).

Feel your hips. Are they looser. What do your feel? Just observe, do not judge. It does not matter what the answer is. Simply practice listening to your body.

Now take a deeeeeep loooong sloooooow breath. Hold it, and let it go. Imagine all the tension leaving your body like a gentle grey mist. Come back to your deeeep and rhythmic breath.

Picture a bright white divine light above your head. It’s getting closer and closer. Larger and larger until it surrounds your whole body. You relax from the tip of your head to the bottom of your toes. You can feel the light shinning inside you, healing and relaxing. The light shines out of you. You are glowing brightly. You are at one with love and self-acceptance. You are at one with divine light.

It encourages you to let go. Remember your intention. Let it go. Let it go. Remember your intention. Remember your perfection, your truth. You relax deeper.

Stay in silent meditation for 5-10 minutes.

When you are ready gently come back to your body. Feel the light energising and moving your fingers and toes. Feel your whole body energising and preparing for the beautiful day ahead.

When you are ready, bring your knees to your chest and turn to your right side. This foetal position symbolises a new birth, a new birth after releasing what no-longer serves you. Keep this divine light with you for the rest of the day. Remember this feeling of lightness.

With your eyes closed come to a sitting position at the front of your mat. Bring your hands into namaskara (prayer) position. Thank yourself and your body for coming to your mat today. Tell yourself one thing that your love about yourself. Remember how whole and perfect you are. Gently hug yourself. Find your softness. Then gently blink your eyes open. It is a beautiful day.

The post 20-Minute Guided Sacral Meditation appeared first on Yoga Teacher Training in India at Shree Hari School | Certified YTT course.

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Shree Hari Yoga by Stefanie - 3M ago

Dear yoga friends,

We, the whole Shree Hari Yoga Team,

wish you and your family a happy Easter!

May everybody be blessed with wisdom,

health and happiness!

Did you know that Jesus was one of the greatest Yoga masters?

Have you ever heard about his journey in the Himalayas? Jesus was not what many people think only a christian, he was a great Yogi, discovering and practising yoga to realize truth. Jesus became great and for many people a idol, because he was steady in his practice and believe to find god, so that at the end he found it. Jesus was actually a self realised yogi.

Jesus didn’t go his path alone in the Himalaya, he was mostly accompanied by great Yogis like Maha Avatar Babaji. In his age of 12 to 30 he was Babaji’s disciple in India and got initiated in Kriya Yoga.  Jesus studied the science of the Vedas, the ancient oriental knowledge about God and life. He realzed “I and my father are one…” (John 10:30) – or “Aham Braamaasmi” from the Sama Veda. The meaning is the same, there is no distance between me and God.

Christ’s Lost Years in the Himalayas - January-08-2017 - YouTube

The Yogic View of Jesus Christ

Yoga went world wide famous in the 20th century. Now it seems likely that the diversity between Christian teaching and India’s ancient spiritual science will finally be bridged now. Paramahansa Yogananda’s new book, The Second Coming of Christ, holds out this promise, arguing that the division has always been superficial. The implications for yoga practitioners in the West—and for society at large—are enormous.

The Underground River

The traditional Christian teachings hold that Jesus Christ came to the world in order to reconcile the fallen children of the Lord to their creator. The means of redemption was for Christians to believe from the depths of their soul that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was full payment for the arrogance and disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

This is the mainstream of Christian belief. Less visible but no less ancient is an underground river — a body of esoteric belief —that depicts Jesus as a mystic, as a yogi teaching in the manner of Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. The essence of these esoteric teachings is that if we explore our own soul in the depths of meditation, we will find that we are partners with Christ in our access to cosmic consciousness.

Yogananda also shows that Jesus, like a guru in the yoga tradition, is acquainted with the realms—the *lokas—to which the soul may travel.

*Loka is a Sanskrit term meaning “world” or “a particular division of the universe.” The most frequent division of the universe in Hinduism is the tri-loka: Earth, heaven and atmosphere.

“With the publication of The Second Coming of Christ, that underground river has burst through the bedrock of the ages. The argument for mystical Christianity no longer needs to be assembled from isolated fragments spanning the past 2,000 years—the Gospel of Thomas, the musings of the desert fathers, the neo-Platonism of Plotinus, the strangely yogic insights of Meister Eckhart. Now we have a 1,700-page commentary on the Gospel story that finds, in the words of Jesus, a fully developed vision of the path of meditation and the science of God-realization. To read Yogananda’s commentary is to discover that Jesus was preaching the same doctrine of spiritual self-discovery that Krishna, the apostle of yoga, preached to his disciple Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita.

This is true not only of the passages that point explicitly to inner spirituality, but also of passages that are oblique or puzzling. To start with a passage that is an obvious summons to meditation, let us consider Luke 17:20–21. “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.’”

For Yogananda this statement is clearly in the tradition of Raja Yoga (meditation as the “royal” or highest path to God-union). He writes in The Second Coming of Christ:

Jesus addresses man as the perennial seeker of permanent happiness and freedom from all suffering: “The Kingdom of God—of eternal, immutable, ever-newly blissful cosmic consciousness—is within you. Behold your soul as a reflection of the immortal Spirit, and you will find your Self encompassing the infinite empire of God-love, God-wisdom, God-bliss existing in every particle of vibratory creation and in the vibrationless Transcendental Absolute.”

The teachings of Jesus about God’s kingdom—sometimes in direct language, sometimes in parables pregnant with metaphysical meaning—may be said to be the core of the entirety of his message. (pp. 1177–78)

Many people think of heaven as a physical location, a point of space far above the atmosphere and beyond the stars….In fact, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven consist, respectively, of the transcendental infinitudes of Cosmic Consciousness and the heavenly causal and astral realms of vibratory creation that are considerably finer and more harmonized with God’s will than those physical vibrations clustered together as planets, air, and earthly surroundings. (p. 1179)

The above passages bear no resemblance to conventional biblical exegesis. There is no scholarly examination of the wording. There is no attempt to recreate the intellectual climate of Judaea 2,000 years ago. Here Yogananda is speaking with the voice of the spiritual visionary, the voice of Patanjali, Shankara, and the Old Testament prophets. These are the sages who stand, not on the authority of their learning and intellect, but on their anubhava, their unmediated knowledge of spiritual truth.

Yogananda finds yogic truth in the words, “The kingdom of God is within you,” as he does in all of Jesus’ sayings. Take, for example, John 14:1–2, a passage whose meaning is anything but clear. Jesus says, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.” Yogananda comments as follows:

When Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled,” he voiced an exact parallel to a profound spiritual aphorism in the Yoga Sutras, the preeminent ancient treatise on Raja Yoga. There the illumined sage Patanjali says that yoga, union with God, is possible only by stilling the restlessness of the heart (chitta, the feeling faculty of consciousness).

Thus when Jesus says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions,” he warns his disciples that unless they attain Cosmic Consciousness, after death they would have to dwell on one of the variously graded planes of existence where unredeemed souls go according to their merits and demerits. His promise, “I go to prepare a place for you,” refers to the fact that the blessings of a true guru can help his disciples to gain a better place in the many-mansioned vibratory spheres in the after-death state. (pp. 1371–72)

Here, Yogananda leaps headlong into the metaphysics, psychology, and space-time concepts of yoga philosophy and claims that throughout the entire Gospel narrative Jesus speaks to his disciples exactly as a guru speaks to his chelas(disciples). His immediate task is to clear their spiritual path of the delusional debris that stand in the way of deep meditation.

Yogananda also shows that Jesus, like a guru in the yoga tradition, is acquainted with the realms—the lokas—to which the soul may travel. The traditional geography of hell, purgatory, limbo, and heaven is bypassed. (Traditional Christianity envisions each soul as a pilgrim traveler in this dark and troubled world, headed toward some indeterminate rapture where time and space shall cease to be.) Yogananda aligns Jesus with the great mystics of India, finding in his words a full vision of the yogi’s emancipation in spirit. In this view, the soul of man moves from life to life through many layers of spiritual space until the dross of the ages, cleansed by meditation, gives way to the unitive immersion of the individual self in universal spirit.

The Serpent

Yogananda finds a blueprint of the yogic journey in the precise physiology of yoga practice as well as in Jesus’ words. One of the more obscure sayings of Jesus can be found in John 3:14–15. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” Anyone acquainted with the subtle energies in yoga practice will recognize an old friend at the mention of the serpent. Yogananda once again seizes upon the yogic essence of these words when he writes:

The word “serpent” here refers metaphorically to man’s consciousness and life force in the subtle coiled passageway at the base of the spine, the matterward flow of which is to be reversed for man to reascend from body attachment to superconscious freedom…. Throughout the Gospels, he [Jesus] spoke of his own physical body as “the Son of man,” as distinguished from his Christ Consciousness, “the Son of God.” (p. 259)

Jesus said that each son of man, each bodily consciousness, must be lifted from the plane of the senses to the astral kingdom by reversing the matter-bent outflowing of the life force to ascension through the serpent-like coiled passage at the base of the spine—the Son of man is lifted up when this serpentine force is uplifted, “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness.” (p. 263)

Such is the “serpent force” (kundalini) in the microcosm of the human body: the coiled current at the base of the spine, a tremendous dynamo of life that when directed outward sustains the physical body and its sensory consciousness; and when consciously directed upward, opens the wonders of the astral cerebrospinal centers. (pp. 264–65)

Once there is talk of the kundalini current and the astral cerebrospinal centers, Yogananda’s discussion has gone beyond the mystical Christianity of the desert fathers and Meister Eckhart. We are now deeply immersed in the esoteric language of yoga meditation. Here Jesus is not just a mystic in the sense that he seeks God in the temple of inner silence. He is a yogi in the sense that he is fully cognizant of the flow of energy and the ascent of consciousness as one attains elevated states of consciousness.

For the conventional Christian, steeped in a 2,000-year tradition of Jesus as the savior of all humanity—past, present, and future—by freely giving himself over to crucifixion, this is a reorientation of seismic proportions.

But as Yogananda delves into the life and background of Jesus, it becomes clear that the Gospels contain a universal esoteric message that has been awaiting full and systematic explication since the apostolic age. In Yogananda’s commentary, what had been veiled, obscure, and oblique is fully disclosed.

Coming unto the Father

The Second Coming of Christ tells the story of Christ’s life in chronological order. His birth, his travels, his ministry, his parables, his death, and his resurrection are narrated following the King James Version of the New Testament. This narrative is supported by Yogananda’s extensive commentary. The result is a massively annotated presentation of what might be called mystical Christianity or esoteric Christianity. Inherent in Yogananda’s view is the demonstrable fact that Jesus himself is a yoga master.

We must know Jesus as an Oriental [Eastern] Christ, a supreme yogi who manifested full mastery of the universal science of God-union, and thus could speak and act as a savior with the voice and authority of God. He has been Westernized too much.

Jesus was an Oriental, by birth and blood and training. To separate a teacher from the background of his nationality is to blur the understanding through which he is perceived. No matter what Jesus the Christ was himself, as regards his own soul, being born and maturing in the Orient [East], he had to use the medium of Oriental civilization, customs, mannerisms, language, parables, in spreading his message….

Though, esoterically understood, the teachings of Jesus are universal, they are saturated with the essence of Oriental culture—rooted in Oriental influences which have been made adaptable to the Western environment. (pp. 90–91)

For the mystic, salvation consists not in a redemptive gesture from on high, but rather in grasping the reality that the individual self is now and always has been perfect, one with the Universal Self.

When Jesus is seen as an Easterner, mystical Christianity breaks away from many deeply embedded traditions and beliefs. First, mystical Christianity becomes a path of spiritual union rather than a path of salvation. The impediment against which the mystic works is a clouded and obscure vision of the immediacy of God. For the mystic, salvation consists not in a redemptive gesture from on high, but rather in grasping the reality that the individual self is now and always has been perfect, one with the Universal Self.

Second, mystical Christianity rends the heavy mantle of time that encumbers the believer’s journey toward redemption. In the temple of inner silence, God himself is immediately available to the accomplished aspirant. The mystical Christian is not constrained to look ahead to some kind of revelation or last judgment at the end of time. The end of time is literally a heartbeat away, and God’s full self-disclosure can happen at any moment.

Third, the physical body is not an impediment to coming face-to-face with God. No longer is the mystical Christian required to walk the path of faith where the best we can expect is to perceive as “through a glass darkly” (1 Cor. 13:12). We have direct access to the fullness of cosmic consciousness in our present frail and mortal condition. The ancient and proven science of yoga can subdue and penetrate the natural turbulence of the body.

Thus, The Second Coming of Christ continues the legacy of the Sanatana Dharma—the perennial philosophy that proclaims the bliss of God as the overarching goal of all religious practice. This consummation is available to one and all, and the apparent exclusivity of Christ’s claim, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6), becomes a promise to all humanity, irrespective of creed. Yogananda quotes his own guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, in these words:

Jesus meant, never that he was the sole Son of God, but that no man can attain the unqualified Absolute, the transcendent Father beyond creation, until he has first manifested the “Son” or activating Christ Consciousness within creation. Jesus, who had achieved entire oneness with that Christ Consciousness, identified himself with it inasmuch as his own ego had long since been dissolved. (p. 1373)

Yogananda elaborates further in his own words: The Christ Consciousness present in Jesus, and in all vibratory creation and phenomena, is the noumenon, “truth,” the primary substance and essence of life of everything in creation. No human being who is a part of vibratory creation can take his consciousness to Cosmic Consciousness, “the Father”—which lies beyond vibratory creation and the immanent Christ Consciousness—without first experiencing the Christ-imbued Cosmic Vibration, or Holy Ghost, that manifests vibratory creation, then passing through the God-reflection of Christ Consciousness. In other words, to “come unto the Father” every human consciousness has to expand and attain realization of the Cosmic Vibration first, and then know Christ Consciousness, in order to reach Cosmic Consciousness. (pp. 1373–74)

Here we have an exalted vision of what it means to “come unto the Father.” Far from being a guarded privilege available only to those who are Christians, it is the universal embrace of God extended to all his creatures irrespective of culture, ethnicity, or religion. Christ and the Holy Ghost are seen as way stations on the ascent to cosmic consciousness. And cosmic consciousness, or the “Father,” is the underlying fundament of every human soul.

For those who may have felt that traditional Christianity is devoid of the face-to-face experience of God, there is great assurance to be gained from The Second Coming of Christ. While commenting on passages built entirely on the conventional vocabulary of Christianity, Yogananda is able to pull to the surface the promise of truly ravishing experiences. Consider Yogananda’s words on the ascent of consciousness that is available through the Holy Ghost:

Desire limits the consciousness to the object of desire. Love for all good things as expressions of God expands man’s consciousness.

Desire limits the consciousness to the object of desire. Love for all good things as expressions of God expands man’s consciousness. One who bathes his consciousness in the Holy Ghost becomes unattached to personal desires and objects while enjoying everything with the joyousness of God within.

In deepest meditation, as practiced by those who are advanced in the technique of Kriya Yoga, the devotee experiences not only expansion in the Aum vibration “Voice from Heaven,” but finds himself able also to follow the microcosmic light of Spirit in the “straight way” of the spine into the light of the spiritual eye “dove descending from heaven.” (p. 125)

Communion

What did Yogananda have to say about the vast body of his writings? Here are his own words:

In these pages I offer to the world an intuitionally perceived spiritual interpretation of the words spoken by Jesus, truths received through actual communion with Christ Consciousness. They will be found to be universally true if they are studied conscientiously and meditated upon with soul-awakened intuitive perception. They reveal the perfect unity that exists among the revelations of the Christian Bible, the Bhagavad Gita of India, and all other time-tested true scriptures. (p. xxiii)

This is a bold and extraordinary assertion. The measure of its veracity must be taken individually as each new reader reflects on the possibility that Krishna and Jesus, the towering avatars of East and West, were proclaiming the same message of eternal, liberating truth.

From Beyond the Grave

How did this book come into being more than a half-century after Yogananda’s passing? The story is told in full in the preface by Sri Daya Mata, one of Yogananda’s earliest and closest disciples and the current spiritual head of the organization he founded, Self-Realization Fellowship.

To recap briefly, in Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda writes about the many times in his youth when his attention was drawn toward Europe and America as if by a magnet. Eventually he was directed by his line of gurus to bring the ancient science of Kriya Yoga to the West and to demonstrate that the goals of yoga meditation are in fact embedded in the Christian scriptures.

Yogananda left India for the United States in 1920, and except for a brief return visit in the 1930s, he stayed here until his death in 1952. During this time he gave countless public lectures and wrote articles, many about the Christian Gospels. Then, during his last four years, he withdrew into seclusion to work on his writings. When he died, he left an extensive body of work—public lectures and classes that had been recorded stenographically by Sri Daya Mata, along with three decades of his original writing. The editors, to whom he had conveyed his wishes for this vast volume of material, compiled and integrated it into The Second Coming of Christ. The result is a masterpiece of spiritual revelation.

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What are hip openers?

So what exactly are hip openers and what do they mean to you? I mean, what does practising yoga really mean to you? Do you see it as a great way to workout? Or do you like it because it helps slow your mind? Do you practise for flexibility? Maybe it just makes you feel good without really knowing why?

One of the reasons yoga makes us feel good is that the asanas (postures) help balance our bodies emotionally and energetically. Asana practice stimulates and awakens the chakras. Our chakras are 7 energetic wheels along the spinal column in which energy flows through. Different asanas work on different chakras and therefore have different benefits. Today we will be focusing on hip openers. These are poses that help open the hips physically and stimulate the sacral chakra. This energetic wheel is located in the lower abdomen, about two inches below the navel.

What are the benefits hip openers?

Hip openers are special because not only do they help us physically open our hips, but they are also excellent for releasing old trapped emotions, memories and pain. So when practising these poses it is fantastic to set an intention to let go of something that is no-longer serving you. This can be anything from a painful memory, a destructive habit, a negative thought of yourself, a label or even a person. You can make “letting go” part of your meditation before and after your yoga practice and really optimise all the benefits from your time on the mat.

Because, here’s the thing, yoga is NOT about perfect asanas and flexibility. It’s about the unity of your mind, body and soul and the universal consciousness. It’s about LISTENING to your body and learning about beautiful beautiful you. It’s a loving non-judgemental moving meditation. Sometimes I even kiss my legs in forward bends. Isn’t it great having legs? So it doesn’t matter how wide your hips open, find your edge and then stop. Do not force, just surrender and find the softness within you. Be kind to you. Sometimes during hip openers you can feel the urge to cry. Let go and let it happen.

Here are some sample opening and closing meditations, and some hip opening asanas. Soon I will post a full lesson and an audio of a meditation for you all. Best thing about this, you can practice all of this at home. You could even practice in your pyjamas… or wearing nothing…. You literally need nothing to meditate except you. Perfect, whole and complete you. Win win win win win win.

Opening Meditation

Lay on your back and come into supta baddha konasana (reclining bound angle). Set your intention for your practice. What do you want to release. For example, for me, I regularly focus on releasing my inner critic. Frequently I set un-attainable expectations for myself instead of accepting myself the way I am. I have a tendency to think what I am right now is not good enough. This is NOT true. We are all good enough right NOW, actually we are even better than that. Therefore my intention of this practice is to release this habit.

Picture when this habit/ emotions/ thing has affected you. Remember a time it made you unhappy. Now remember that you CAN let it go. Feel yourself letting go. Really feel the release. Imagine yourself without it. Feel how free you are, how much lighter you feel. As you inhale think “let”, and as you exhale think “go”. Take a few long slow deep breaths.

Now we are ready for our practise. Remember your intention and the feeling of letting go during the asanas.

Example Hip Openers Supta Baddha Konasana (reclining bound angle pose)

Lie straight on your mat. Gently bend your knees and bring your feet together. Keep the outer edges of both your feet on the floor. Keep your heels close to your groin.
Place your arms to your sides with your palms facing up.
Exhale, and tuck your tailbone in and feel the elongation of your spine as your pelvis tilts.
Inhale. Exhale slowly, and open and lower your knees towards the mat. Feel the stretch in your groin and inner thighs.
Stay in this pose at least a minute. Focus on breathing slowly and deeply. Did you know turtles live so long because of how slow they breath? Let’s all be like turtles.
Exhale, and bring your knees to your chest. Hug them, and roll from side to side giving yourself a beautiful massage on the floor. When you are ready release and come out of the pose.

Prasarita Padottanasana (wide legged forward fold)

From tadasana (mountain pose) step your feet 4 feet apart. Turn your toes in for stability.
Exhale, place your hands on your hips.
Inhale, look up and open your chest.
Exhale, slowly bend from your hips with a straight back bringing your palms to the floor under your shoulders. Make sure your fingertips are inline with your toes.
Inhale, look up and lengthen the spine.
Exhale, bring the crown of your head towards to floor. Bend your elbows towards the back. Press into your feet to lengthen your legs and raise your hips up towards the ceiling.
Note the spine lengthening in both directions as you press your head down and lift your hips up.
Breath and hold for 5 slow breaths. Think about the turtles.
To release, inhale and look up. Exhale, bring your hands to your hips. Inhale, come back up to standing. You DID it! Well done you.

Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog split)

Come into downward facing dog from tabletop (all fours). Push your hips up and draw your belly in. Make sure your spine is in a straight line from your head to your tailbone.
Lift up your right leg, extend it up and behind you.
Bend your knee, open your hips and let your foot fall over your glute. Feel the stretch in your outer hip.
Look under the left (opposite) armpit. Make sure the weight is equally distributed in both arms.

Take 5 slooooooow breaths.
Return to downward facing dog. Repeat on the other side.

Malasana (Garland/Squat pose)

Start in tadasana (mountain) and hop or step your feet roughly as wide as your mat. Bring your hands into namaskara (prayer position).
Bend your knees and sink into your hips, coming into Squat.
Widen your thighs so that they are wider than your torso. Open them using your arms, whilst keeping your arms in prayer position.Keep your feet grounded (or place a towel/mat under your heels if they lift).
Keep your head up and spine lengthened. Feel one line of energy from your crown all the way down to your root.
Stay here for at least 5 breaths before coming up to standing again.

Closing Meditation

Come back to your shavasana (corpse pose). (Optionally – come back to supta baddha konasana).

Feel your hips. Are they looser. What do your feel? Just observe, do not judge. It does not matter what the answer is. Simply practice listening to your body.

Now take a deeeeeep loooong sloooooow breath. Hold it, and let it go. Imagine all the tension leaving your body like a gentle grey mist. Come back to your deeeep and rhythmic breath.

Picture a bright white divine light above your head. It’s getting closer and closer. Larger and larger until it surrounds your whole body. You relax from the tip of your head to the bottom of your toes. You can feel the light shinning inside you, healing and relaxing. The light shines out of you. You are glowing brightly. You are at one with love and self-acceptance. You are at one with divine light.

It encourages you to let go. Remember your intention. Let it go. Let it go. Remember your intention. Remember your perfection, your truth. You relax deeper.

Stay in silent meditation for 5-10 minutes.

When you are ready gently come back to your body. Feel the light energising and moving your fingers and toes. Feel your whole body energising and preparing for the beautiful day ahead.

When you are ready, bring your knees to your chest and turn to your right side. This foetal position symbolises a new birth, a new birth after releasing what no-longer serves you. Keep this divine light with you for the rest of the day. Remember this feeling of lightness.

With your eyes closed come to a sitting position at the front of your mat. Bring your hands into namaskara (prayer) position. Thank yourself and your body for coming to your mat today. Tell yourself one thing that your love about yourself. Remember how whole and perfect you are. Gently hug yourself. Find your softness. Then gently blink your eyes open. It is a beautiful day.

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Where you do your yoga teacher training is a personal decision. Here’s why I decided to do my yoga teacher training at the beach.

Picking the best yoga teacher training in India is hard. There are so many schools and so many different programs offering different things, but how do you know which one is right for you? I can tell you I was confused. But I knew one thing: if I was going to invest in such a rich (but intense) experience I was going to do it somewhere surrounded by nature. I was going to do my yoga teacher training at the beach. This is why when I arrived in peaceful, vibrant Gokarna I knew that I was in my new home.

Before I picked my school I was teaching English in Bangalore and had most of my weekends free. We would take this opportunity to go on trips to all the wonderful places around us. And I would use this time to visit all the yoga schools in that area. I had been researching schools online but found it very hard to get a full picture of the courses. So I decided the best way to know was to actually see for myself. So I did. I saw many schools in various places such as Mysore, Dharamsala, and Goa. Then, I found Gokarna.

When I stepped off the bus I knew this place was special. There is such a beautiful, positive buzz everywhere you go. It’s a tranquil, spiritual town with a healing energy. From the palm trees, kind locals, fresh fruit stalls, playful monkeys, and magical beaches – I knew that I had found my paradise.

The next day I was walking down one of the breathtaking beaches when I saw an advert for Shree Hari Om yoga school that was offering yoga teacher training at the beach. Something about this felt very right so I followed the short path up to the school and saw that there was a drop-in class starting. I met Hari and at once felt comfortable. The cogs in my head started turning. I mean it wouldn’t be bad to live directly on the beach for a month would it? Funny that I had spent so long looking for a yoga school and just when I was starting to get frustrated the perfect place appeared on my path. Thank you, universe.

That evening I made up my mind. I was going to do my yoga teacher training at the beach surrounded by coconut trees and monkeys. And I can tell you it was the right decision. The location, honestly, was a blessing. So let me tell you why living and doing your yoga teacher training at the beach is the best decision I made.

1. Magical sunsets after class

Imagine you had a long, intense, yet fulfilling day learning all about yoga philosophy and anatomy. Imagine you’ve just finished a sweaty and rewarding ashtanga practice. What do you want to do? Do you want to sit in a room in a city surrounded by traffic? Do you think the sounds of cars honking is relaxing?

Or, would you rather walk 2 minutes, jump in the sea, and watch the glowing pinky-red sun set over the water? Would you rather watch the sunset with clusters of people experiencing nature’s beauty every day? Maybe buy a chocolate moose from the small quiet market on the sand? Then, maybe make your way to dinner in one of the seafront restaurants so that you can eat looking at the stars and with the music of the waves crashing on the shore?

For me, I need that peace. I need to connect with nature every day. I adore the feeling of warm water on my tired body after yoga. So this why doing my yoga teacher training at the beach is my ideal.

2. Falling asleep to the sound of the ocean.

You know what is also incredible about doing your yoga teacher training at the beach? Sleeping next to the sea. AKA going to sleep to the sound of waves lightly crashing on the shore. I say no more.

3. Dips in the sea – and naps – before lunch.

During the classes we had very generous lunch breaks. Do you know what this means? Time to jump in the sea and get a little sun before lunch is served. I know we are here to learn, but it needs to be a pleasure as well, right? Some people, AKA me, also took this time to strategically nap. Napping is glorious, everyone should nap.

4. Headstand practice on the beach.

Another great thing about the beach is that sand is soft. Bear with me. How is your headstand/handstand? What’s the best transition from wall to no-wall. BEACH! No more fear of falling. What’s to be scared of when you are falling onto a comfy mattress of sand? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. So we took this opportunity to practice after class. And guess what? I can now officially do a headstand and got no bruises in the making.

5. Meditation on the beach.

In Gokarna not only did we live by the beach, but we also had incredible teachers. This meant some early morning meditation classes on the beach. (Thank you, Em!) There is nothing more peaceful than meditating on the soft sand with the sound of the water rippling and birds singing in the background. When you open your eyes and see the hypnotic waves and clear skies you know that there is no better way to start your day. For me, it’s so important to connect with this beautiful planet and find stillness within me. The morning meditations were truly a blessing.

What’s not good about yoga teacher training at the beach?

Do NOT get a massage after relaxing on the beach. Oil and sand is painful. It’s like getting your whole body slowly but surely sanded down. But did I tell them to stop? Nope. Did I enjoy the experience? Also nope. Please learn from my mistake. You get sand everywhere… and I mean EVERYWHERE. Sand is in all your clothes and bags. I am aware when I leave I will tipping out sand for months. To avoid this I have decided not to leave. I like to call myself a problem solver.

It’s true… I am never leaving.

What I mean is I’ve decided to stay and teach with the Shree Hari yoga school. When you’re part of a family it’s hard to leave.

PS – If you are looking for an experience like mine I highly recommend doing your own research. Bear in mind the location because this will be your new home for a month. If you check out the Gokarna page on this site you’ll find even more information about yoga teacher training at the beach.

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Today’s yttc closing ceremony was awesome!

We had such an amazing group of students at today’s YTTC closing ceremony. They will be all such amazing Yoga teacher.

Don’t take our word for it. Look at our pictures, facebook page and video on Youtube. We love our students and our job. We love to make people happy. And we love to give our knowledge and spread the message of yoga. It is such a blessing to teach yoga. And it is also a big responsibility…

What are the roles of a yoga teacher?

A Yoga teacher has several roles to play. He or she leads a group of students through a complete and appropriate sequence of postures, breathing exercises, meditations, and guiding words. One of the primary roles of a yoga teacher is to create a safe and nurturing space for the students. The teacher must demonstrate and guide the students through a series of poses in a clear, understandable way. A yoga instructor will also be able to help his or her students modify the poses, if necessary. She must offer suggestions about using yoga as a therapeutic tool to heal from injury.

To start the class a yoga instructor grounds students in the present and sets the right tone. The practice space should be comfortably warm, clean, and inviting. It may also be a nice touch for the teacher to light a candle or incense and place it on an alter as the class begins. This act alone will shift the energy and imbue the class with a sense of sacredness. Another commencement role is to set the tone for the class, by reading an opening poem or scriptural verse to the students – thereby setting the internal focus and intention of their practice.

Another critical role of an instructor

is to create a yoga training session that is appropriate for the level of her students. It is also very important that the teacher is able to describe, modify, and demonstrate the asanas. This must be done in a way that is understandable and approachable for all the students. Because you may get a new drop in you must be able to adapt quickly without preparation. If the teacher is somehow handicapped – she cannot demonstrate the pose due to injury or disability – it is important for her to select a head student who can demonstrate asana alignment. Another role that the instructor will play is demonstrating the proper way of practicing pranayama techniques and the most advantageous poses for meditation.

A good teacher will also be able to help each student modify poses. A certified Yoga teacher will have a firm foundation in anatomy and physiology. She will have developed a keen eye for proper alignment in the asana postures. If the instructor spots a student having difficulty getting into a certain pose, she will be able to easily and quickly adjust the student’s alignment, perhaps with the use of props. This will create a feeling of safety and trust in the students. Then they can truly relax and be fully present during the class.

If you participate as teacher in YTT’s, make sure your school is doing a nice yttc closing ceremony. Your students will leave with a nice last memory.

Definitely you will see the differences between an experienced, qualified teacher and one who unqualified or inexperienced. If you wish to teach choose your training carefully. And if you wish to participate in a class research your teacher before attending her yoga class. Research your yoga teacher training on google, check for testimonials and video clips.

The post YTTC Closing Ceremony & importance of a Yoga teacher appeared first on Yoga Teacher Training in India at Shree Hari School | Certified YTT course.

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Why do I think a 200 hour multi-style yoga teacher training is the best?

I recommend a multi-style yoga teacher training. Why? Because let’s face it: 200 hours is not enough time to master even one style. Many people sign up for a teacher training to deepen their practice. And that’s great. A few sign up with the intention to teach right away. A 200-hour training is not enough time. You can’t develop all of the skills you’ll need to start teaching at a high-level. Can you teach after completing a 200-hour course? Absolutely. And we encourage you to. However, a 200 hour course should be the beginning of your path. When done you will need to continue learning yoga. It’s not the end. Completing a 200 hour yoga course is about planting seeds. You have to do more to get them to grow.

What is a multi-style teacher training?

We mentioned a 200 Hour Multi-Style Yoga Teacher Training is not enough time to master yoga. However, it’s enough time to experience a variety of yoga styles. This is useful to those who are newer to yoga. Our school provides traditional Hatha, Ashtanga, and Vinyasa styles. This combines fitness, strength, flexibility, relaxation, awareness, and spirituality. We want you to witness physical exercise merging with the spiritual, subtle, and divine forces of creation. The asana and meditation classes support deep relaxation. The main aim of a 200 hour multi-style yoga teacher training is to experience variety. This gives you a taste so you can take gems from each and combine them into your unique style.

Shree Hari Yoga leads students through many popular styles: ashtanga vinyasa, vinyasa, yinhatha, and Iyengar’s restorative yoga. We always work with professional and passionate teachers. All classes feature a therapeutic touch, props, breath awareness, and attentiveness.

A 200 hour multi-style yoga teacher training course consists of more than just the physical poses. We also teach relaxation techniques, meditation, and mantra chanting. Whenever possible we also introduce unique offerings. These might include Yoga Nidra or Pranic Energizing. We strive to offer techniques from ancient and modern yogic and Tantric traditions. Philosophy, anatomy, and pranayama are taught by real Babas. Students attending this course get certified in 200 hour worldwide accepted certification from the Yoga Alliance.

No 200 hour course is complete without Art of teaching aka teaching methology. This is where we break down how to teach, queue, and assist in physical yoga poses. We point out how different styles may teach the same pose differently. For example, Hatha yoga may teach plow pose with flexed feet whereas in Ashtanga feet are pointed.

We want our students to receive a well-rounded education. We want to plant many small seeds. Our students then decide which ones resonate. You never know which sutra from your philosophy class, which pranayama technique, or which yoga style will resonate with your body and mind. Everyone is an individual. And yoga works the same way. There is no “THIS  IS THE ONLY CORRECT, TRUE, ONE YOGA STYLE”.

Who can be a part of our 200 hour multi-style yoga teacher training course?

All interested people can join a 200 hour course with us. Could be you’ve practiced a few styles of yoga before. Or maybe you’ve only practiced one style, for a short time. Maybe you’ve practiced for a long time and know a style or two fairly well. We take all students as long as you’re willing to empty the cup and learn.

The program is designed so beginners with little to no experience can join and enjoy it. Participants who don’t wish to become a yoga teacher can join. Maybe you need a life changing transformation? You want to explore proper diet, right movement, yogic spirituality, and deep mindfulness. Join us and learn what the disciplined lifestyle of a yogi can be. This 200 hour multi-style yoga teacher training in India is meant for sincere students who wish to learn the true meaning of yoga. Out of your diligent practice and overflowing joy your teaching will spring out naturally from the heart. Our well-trained certified teachers are here to support and facilitate this kind of transformation for you.

The post Why Is Multi-Style Yoga Teacher Training The Best … appeared first on Yoga Teacher Training in India at Shree Hari School | Certified YTT course.

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We are excited to announce a new addition to the Shree Hari Yoga school: our brand new location in beautiful Goa, India!

Adding to our current locations in Gokarna and Dharamshala, Goa is known the world over for being a mecca for psy-trance dance parties, spirituality, and the beautiful beach.

We’ve partnered with Ashvem Beach Hotel to build a shala on their roof. We are currently in the design phase. It’s a beautiful time where we can visualize what we want our shala to be and the universe will manifest. Our vision is to help people.

Do you struggle with stress, anxiety, obesity, depression, high or low blood pressure, diabetes, or thyroid problems? Do you have knee pain, back pain, neck or shoulder pain, or other ailments?

Perhaps a yoga retreat is the change you need. Many people come to Shree Hari Yoga for a yoga retreat to deepen their practice, heal, and relax. The benefits are miraculous. Our guests leave the retreat brand new people. It’s impossible to go through our program and not experience a lasting life change.

When you join us for a yoga retreat you’re welcome to join any of our drop in classes. Additionally, if there’s a yoga teacher training happening while you’re visiting, you’re able to sit in on any of the sessions. This means you’re given access to a world-class education in yoga asana, pranayama, meditation, mantra, philosophy, anatomy, physiology, and much more.

And what better place to alter your perceptions than Goa, India? Goa provides an idyllic backdrop for your retreat. The crystal blue waters. The cool salty breeze. The beaming sun warm on your skin. When you’re not practicing yoga enjoy the beautiful beach. Go into town and experience a local Indian market. See a mix of colors and experience new smells. Share the street with cows and rickshaws. There’s no place like India for a yoga retreat because it’s the home of yoga. There’s an energy field in India that makes it the ideal spot to deepen your yoga practice.

Goa is known for its party scene but don’t let the distractions get the best of you. Come to Goa. Come to Shree Hari Yoga. Delve into your deepest self and come out the other side as a new you. A yogi.

Read more about our new Goa location and learn more about our yoga retreats here.

The post Shree Hari Yoga’s vision for retreats in Goa appeared first on Yoga Teacher Training in India at Shree Hari School | Certified YTT course.

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