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Yoga Beyond Asana

The Journey into the Heart of Yin Yoga

The Journey into the Heart of Yin Yoga

There is always an origin story. There is always a describable journey into the depth of something profound, or a pathway that’s been forged or followed. Many journeys exist, but not all are worthy of the effort of bringing them to life by way of pen and paper. Or in this case, fingers to a keyboard.
I believe that this origin story is fundamental to my development as a yoga teacher, and it’s an interesting story to tell. Moreover, it’s relatable. It started an indeterminate number of years ago – a random yin yoga class lies within my history as a student more than 10 years ago.

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The Four Ashrams or Stages of Life

by Gwen BurdickAccording to Vedic tradition, a human being spends a lifetime in four stages or ashrams. The word ashram in Sanskrit literally means "place of spiritual shelter." The framework of the four stages allows for a comfort and clarity as spirituality is...

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The Partnership of Caregiving and Empowering Our Loved Ones

The Partnership of Caregiving and Empowering Our Loved Ones

When someone we love is hurting, ill, or otherwise struggling, our first instinct may be to jump in to try to fix the problem or to take over a task the person has difficulty executing. We want to make their lives easier, and these seem like logical ways. I learned many things after my spouse’s death that I wish I had known before. One is that these loving attempts may not honor where our dear ones are on their journey…

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Two Things We Often Say to Caregivers (and Probably Shouldn’t)

Two Things We Often Say to Caregivers (and Probably Shouldn’t)

We are all likely to become caregivers at various points in our lives, whether it’s for a child who is ill, an aging parent, or a beloved spouse. There are many commonalities between caregivers and individuals who are grieving. In fact, caregivers are experiencing at least a temporary loss of a life that was in the past or was dreamed about for the future…. Caregivers may look like the people we always knew, but they are not the same. They are living through a stressful, draining, major shift in their lives. Given this background, let us examine some potential problems with two statements caregivers often hear.

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Retreat, Reset, & Rejuvenate

Retreat, Reset, & Rejuvenate

by Jennifer FrenchHmmm, it feels like something's wrong. It’s hard to put a finger on what. Some vague feeling of losing track of ourselves.  Worn down by our daily routines and obligations, an undetected general fatigue builds up gradually over time…Or, maybe life...

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The Yoga Sanctuary Story: Our First 15 Years

The Yoga Sanctuary Story: Our First 15 Years

In May 2007, Bonnie Yonker, yoga teacher and founder of The Yoga Sanctuary, opened the studio doors in the Swiss Connection Building at 403 Sullivan Street with just eleven classes on the schedule. Read more to learn the story of The Yoga Sanctuary…

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Tadasana: The Mountain Pose—The First Pose You’ll Ever Learn

Tadasana: The Mountain Pose—The First Pose You’ll Ever Learn

Rich in symbolism, tadasana comes from the Sanskrit words tada (mountain) and asana (posture, or seat). Mountain Pose is the essence of stability and foundation, and as such, contains the building blocks for every other posture in yoga. Yoga videos exploring Mountain Pose can be found here!

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Introduction to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Introduction to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, compiled by the sage Patanjali at least 1,700 years ago, is considered one of the main authoritative texts on the practice and philosophy of yoga. The Yoga Sutras outline the eight limbs of yoga, which teach us the ways in which one can...

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Virasana: The Hero’s Pose—Great for Your Knees (unless it’s not)

Virasana: The Hero’s Pose—Great for Your Knees (unless it’s not)

Virasana, or the Hero’s Pose, is a commonly used sitting or meditation posture. Those that have difficulty taking a cross-legged position often find the pose to be more accessible and comfortable. Vira, the root word for virasana, translates to hero. You may wonder how a simple and humble kneeling position came to be known as such… Practice videos included here!!

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The Third Limb of Yoga: Asana

The Third Limb of Yoga: Asana

“Asana practice stimulates healing on many levels. Yes, it can help to heal injuries and bring strength and flexibility to muscles and joints, but, spiritually, the practice of asana can release us from avidya, which means ignorance of who we really are.”          ~...

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Using the Sensory Practice to Move Inward

A Guided Meditation Led by Melissa Goodwin Melissa fell in love with yoga at the age of 10, when she and her mother attended a community yoga class. She is grateful to have found her long-time teachers, Tias and Surya Little, when she moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in...

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Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness Meditation

Many of us live our lives as if on autopilot, constantly being destabilized and reacting to what we encounter. The practices of mindfulness and meditation are powerful tools that change our relationship to what we encounter in life, providing a window of opportunity between stimulus and response. What we discover in that space is our ability to reduce our own stress, to pay closer attention while appreciating the fullness and richness of life, and to develop good will for ourselves and others.

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The Eighth Limb of Yoga: Samadhi

The eighth limb of yoga is what we refer to as samadhi. Following dhyana, or meditation, in which concentration is maintained for longer periods of time, samadhi involves the union of the meditator with the object of meditation. It unites the seer with the seen. As...

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The Seventh Limb of Yoga: Dhyana

Dhyana builds on the previous limb, dharana (one-pointed concentration). Dhyana is meditation. Think of dhyana as the maintenance of dharana for longer periods of time. When the mind is focused on one object, or activity, without interruption, this is dhyana. Says...

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The Sixth Limb of Yoga: Dharana

Dharana is the state of one-pointed concentration, when the mind is able to continuously focus on one object without distraction. The limbs leading up to dharana serve to build up to it: asana builds strength, making the body more comfortable; pranayama helps to build...

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The Fifth Limb of Yoga: Pratyahara

Pratyahara is, simply put, the withdrawal of the senses, or “to withdraw oneself from that which nourishes the senses,” according to T.K.V. Desikachar, the son of the man responsible for bringing yoga to the West,...

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The Fourth Limb of Yoga: Pranayama

The word pranayama contains two parts: prana and ayama. Prana refers to the life force, vitality, or energy that sustains us, and indeed, sustains the entire universe. Ayama means “extension” or “expansion.” Pranayama, therefore, means “extension of life force.” Prana...

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The Art of Self Practice: Why Are You Here?

By Jennifer French I often reflect on how fortunate I am to be on this yogic path. It has provided me with tools and skills that help keep me afloat when the day to day challenges of life get even more challenging. It’s a blessing to have mentors to go to, teachers...

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