Yoga is a multi-faceted practice

Yoga is a multi-faceted practice

Yoga is a multi-faceted practice.   Typically yogis and yoginis practice asana – the postures. But yoga is much more than the postures. A very English yogi has discussed this on previous blog posts but it’s worth reminding ourselves of this.

Yoga is asana (postures), pranayama (breathing practices), meditation practice, kriyas – or cleansing practices, pratyahara or sense withdrawal, mantra and other elements of meditation type practice such as contemplation.  It also encompasses the niyamas and yamas which are principles and practices of daily living.

The raja yogis whose principle exponent is Patanjali and whose guide book is the Yoga Sutras focuses on the mind practices of yoga.  While the proponents of a more physically orientated series of practices follow the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and other such texts.

Some people come to yoga to exercise and keep fit, others find a sense of calm in the various practices.  For others the practices are a form of discipline and yet for others they are a route to liberation and enlightenment.

Regardless of the practice and the benefit, the key to yoga is the intention that you bring to it, and the habit that you create for it.

Good luck.

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga as it is described in many commentaries, originates from the post-classical period – around the 6th  century (Common Era), which was influenced by the growth of Buddhism in India and which continued from 500 – 1400 CE (Fuerstein, 2008).  During this period, Tantra yoga as a philosophy and practice arose.  Out of this yogis such as Goraknath and Matsyendranath, among others, established a system of yoga that viewed the body as the vehicle for self-realisation and liberation and as a result sought to encourage the purification of the body to enable progression to expanded consciousness and self-realisation. This was a significant development because during the previous classical and pre-classical periods, the body was viewed as the “enemy of the spirit” and a source of “spiritual confusion and defilement” (Keller, 2007).  While there have been many commentaries and treatises arising from this period, the most dominant and well respected is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

HYP image

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika was written by Swatmarama in around C13th to C15th, and it is described as one of the most authoritative, complete and accessible texts on Hatha Yoga.    “Hatha Yoga” is described as the union (yoga) between “sun” (ha) and the moon (tha) – the joining of the two dynamic principles of body and mind (Feurstein, 2008).  More esoterically, it has been described as the management of the life force (prana), where prana is integrated to facilitate the ecstatic state of self-realisation and liberation (Feurstein, 2008).  In the tantric tradition, this is supported through the practices described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, where the energy flows in the two channels of Ida (carrier of the lunar energy) and Pingala (carrier of the solar energy) and where they are integrated into the central channel of sushumna.  The term “hatha” also refers to this process.

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (HYP) can be regarded as a practical manual to enable the practitioner to achieve liberation or “moksha”, which is the realisation of the transcendental self.  It is very focused on practices using the body rather than the mind, as working with the mind was regarded as a more challenging discipline.  Starting with the body, offers the yogi a more tangible, measurable and practical approach. The philosophical considerations and practices of the earlier traditions embodied by Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, and observances such as the yamas and niyamas were viewed as challenging for aspirants, while practices focused on ‘body work’ were considered less open to misinterpretation and misunderstanding. Intellect can be a barrier to spiritual awakening: because of this, the practices of hatha yoga can help bypass the conditioning of the brain which presents barriers to practice and self-realisation (Muktibodhananda, 1998).


In the HYP we start with the premise that we must first purify the body, rather than worry about mental self-control and self-discipline (Keller, 2007). Swatmarama indicates that first we should purify the whole body, and hence the book focuses on shatkarmas or purification techniques such as neti, dhauti, basti, kapalbhati, trataka and nauli adopting these as practices relative to one’s physical condition (Swatmarama, verse 21, chapter 2, and referenced in Keller, 2007).    Not everyone has physical ‘impurities’ – each of us have differing states of our doshas or psycho-spiritual forces, and not everyone has to start with specific cleansing practices.  For many the practice of asana is enough (Keller, 2007).

Following the shatkarmas, the Hatha Yoga practitioner can practice asana.  This reinforces the point that self-control and self-discipline start with the body, rather than the mind, because the body is tangible and easier to ‘work on’. Swatmarama says that he will only describe “some of the asana” (Swatmarama, verse 18, chapter 1). This suggests that there are many more asanas.  Considering the 840,000 asanas alluded to in the HYP, helps us see that there is no end to asanas and the possibilities are unlimited when one considers variations and modifications (Stephens, M, 2012).

Swatmarama suggests that pranayama is practiced once a practitioner is established in asana, has control of the body and is consuming a balanced diet (Swatmarama, verse 1, chapter 2).  Pranayama is not merely ‘breath control’ but a technique through which the quantity of prana in the body is activated to a higher frequency allowing a greater sense of energy and open-ness to self-realisation (Muktibodhananda, 1998). As with asana, Swatmarama describes a range of pranayama practices, of which the deeper practices are collectively known as khumbhaka. The benefit of khumbhaka is described by Swatmarama as “when prana is without movement, chitta is without movement. By this the yogi attains steadiness and should thus restrain the vayu (air)” (Swatmarama, verse 2, chapter 2).  While Patanjali describes yoga as stilling the turning mind (Yogash citta vritti nirodhah), Swatmarama specifically describes a practical bodily way to achieve this; which is translated as breath retention and the HYP explores this in some detail. Eight kumbhakas are described: sahita, suryabheda, ujjayi, sitali, bhastrika, bhramari, murccha, and kevali.

Once purification is achieved through asana, pranayama and cleansing practices, Swatmarama indicates that the final practices of mudra and bandha can be used. Mudra are specific body postures which channel the energy produced by asana and pranayama into various centres and arouse particular states of mind (Muktibodhananda, 1998).  Ten mudras are described, and consist of Maha mudra, maha bandha, maha veha, khechari, uddiyana, moola bandha, jalandhara bandha, vipareeta karani mudra, vajroli and shakti chalana.  These are described in some detail.

Mudras are a specific body configuration designed to coax the energy accumulated during asana and “pranayama” (breathing techniques) into the various psychic centers. This action provokes particular states of mind and can trigger specific emotions as well. With sufficient practice, the external senses turn inward and the pranic level (life force) is increased, resulting in spontaneous occurrences of mudras in a yogi’s body, with the hands, feet, eyes, arms and legs moving into specific positions.  Bandhas are more typically described as “seals” or “energy locks,” where a specific physical location and action is performed in order to prevent prana from escaping. These locks are “moola bandha” (perineum or cervix retraction lock), “uddiyana bandha” (abdominal retraction lock), and “jalandhara bandha” (throat lock).

The bandhas are locks that help us in our journey to self-realisation. Swatmarama tells us that the bandhas are locks or ‘bind’ or contract the body with the aim of accumulating Shakti in a particular area of the body. Muktibodhananda describes Shakti’s movement as being like a bird, which requires effort to tie it to its perch. If the Shakti of Ida and Pingala are brought together and released through sushumna, it will ascend and be freed in sahasrara chakra, the highest liberation and the goal of the practice of yoga.


The HYP is divided into four chapters: the first one covering asana, the second, shatkarmas and pranayama, chapter three covers mudra and bandha, with the fourth chapter focusing on the potential outcome of the practices – Samadhi.


Brahmananda, J. Hatha Yoga Pradipika. 1994. Theosophical Society, India.

Chopra, D. – (accessed June 2014)

Feuerstein G . The Yoga Tradition. 2008. Hohm Press, Arizona, USA.

Keller, D. The Heart of the Yogi. 2007. Self-published.

Muktibodhananda S.  Hatha Yoga Pradipika , 1998. Yoga Publications, Bihar, India.

Saraswati, S N. Gheranda-Samhita 2012. Yoga Publications, Bihar, India.

Saraswati , S N. Yoga and Kriya: A systematic course in ancient tantric techniques. 1981. Yoga Publications, Bihar, India.

Saraswati, S N. Prana, Pranayama, Prana Vidya. 1994. Yoga Publications, Bihar, India.

Saraswati, S S. Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha. 2008. Yoga Publications, Bihar, India.

Stephens, M. Yoga Sequencing. 2012. North Atlantic Books, Berkley, USA.















Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (one legged king of pigeons pose)

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (one legged king of pigeons pose)

A very english yogi is spending some time practising for a class whose sole purpose is the peak pose of Natarajasana (dancer pose). However, helping students to build up to, and achieve this posture comfortably and well requires a layered approach. This is because natarajasana combines a number of asana bases or elements. Firstly, its a standing posture, with an element of a balance, then you have a backbend and finally, a twist. So it’s a fairly balancy, bendy, twisty posture.

To layer the practice, requires building each of these elements until you are able to meet the posture and embrace it in it’s entirety.  This means creating muscle memory.  So the whole class is a build up to that full posture.

On the way towards natarajasana, I found myself working on Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (one legged king of pigeons pose).  I have abbreviated its name to EPR.  I haven’t been a fan of it simply because of it’s long and complicated name. And then there’s the pose itself…it has never really interested me or excited me… However I also know that I am about to make a big leap forward in my practice, when I find myself avoiding stuff, or finding excuses to dislike stuff or finding something else “more important” to do. So my antipathy was joined with anticipation…

EPR always seemed to me to be a bit of a duff posture. A bit dull. Actually a bit like the reviled pigeon its named after. In cities, these creatures are treated as ‘vermin’ and receive a significant amount of opprobrium or animosity.  They appear to be quite dull – wobbling around with uninspiring feathers of a greyish colour.  They don’t seem to have a delightful bird song either, although they do ‘coo – itself an understated glottal noise without tune or flourish. They flock around the crowds in places like london, and crap a lot.  It has to be said, that a very english yogi hasn’t heard many people singing their praises.  Their carrier pigeon cousins are infinately more useful. So you get the picture. I don’t have much time for the pigeon, or the pose with the same name.

Ok, rant over….at times like this – I find its quite useful to go off to walk in the woods and fields around my home – get some fresh air, walk out my energy abit and obtain a sense of perspective.

Bluebells (Photo provided courtesy of Luvi Tomat)

Bluebells (Photo provided courtesy of Luvi Tomat)

So back on the mat, a very english yogi has been practising EPR and I have been finding it an incredibly stimulating posture, invigorating the stomach, digestive system, and overall, a great stretching posture, from the chest down to the legs.  It really has been quite invigorating.  You can explore it in detail,  via Yoga Journal here.

So, relaxing after an intense practice  I found myself reading some interesting new science about pigeons. You can see some of it here in the New Scientist. It turns out that they are pretty intelligent. They allegedly match chimpanzees in the intelligence stakes – for example being able to count in the abstract – here’s a previous article in New Scientist.

So as well as re-learning an asana (EPR) that the yogi has dismissed, I have also relearned to review and rethink my attitudes towards pigeons. Which in the bigger scheme of things suggests that there is more to all of this than meets the eye.  Perhaps it’s best to keep an open mind and heart when it comes to pretty much everything. You, like me, might find that you are surprised to learn something new or see things in a different way.

Like an open door, being open hearted and open minded, brings the outside world in, full of potential and bursting with promise. Similarly it allows the inside to get out and fuse with the world to create even more opportunities and insights.



Considering the uses of adversity

Considering the uses of adversity

Whaaat? How can ‘adversity’ or adverse situations be remotely useful?

On a simple level – the answer could be ‘why not’?

You see the more life throws at you, the more opportunities there are to learn and grow. You could immunise yourself from any kind of adverse situation but ultimately you might find that life is fairly dull, you may become just too comfortable and complacent, and your capacity for growth limited.

If you have been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that I read and practice from a Buddhist book called seven point mind training by Geshe Chekawa.  I think this guide was written around 1100 in Tibet.  It’s basic premise is that adverse situations should be welcomed and turned into opportunities for growth, practicing compassion, and love.

When you are in the middle of a dash of adversity, it’s mighty hard to stop and think about the benefits! At the very least, though, one could consider what, if anything, the experience of adversity (or suffering) can teach you, or that you can learn from.

Simply by transforming the moment from an “oh no!” moment to one of “what can I learn from this” is in itself quite liberating.

The transformation of every living moment is one of the goals of yoga, where we learn through yoga asana, pranayama and meditation the ability of seeing clearly each moment, rather than allowing it to become clouded in baggage, perceptions and misunderstanding.  Viewing things incorrectly is known as the “great mistake” and yoga practices can enable us to avoid this.

One potential ‘great mistake’ is our desire to see the world dualistically. For example,  viewing negative experiences as such, and for ever seeking positive experiences and avoiding negative ones.  Things are of themselves neither negative or positive. They just ‘are’. It is our mind that labels things as such.  A tree is neither good nor bad.  We label it as such when for example, it is blocking out the light (bad) or shading you from the sun (good). In reality, the tree is simply a tree: its position providing you with shade and light.  Viewed with equanimity, life becomes a glorious acceptance and exploration of every moment. In doing so we seize and realise the potential of every moment.

Yoga practices such as asana, pranayama, meditation and right living (the yamas and niyamas) can help achieve this.

Namaste x

Balance to balance

Balance to balance


A very english yogi loves balances.  He does them most days. His favourites are vrksasana (tree), natarajasana (dancer) and ardha chandrasana (half moon pose).  These are all lovely balances in yoga asana.  And there are others too. But I tend to think the most powerful balance of all is more straight forward, and simpler than even these.

You could, for example start in the pose of tadasana – mountain pose. If you are practising this, you’ll know it. You stand upright (not to attention, more firm and steady). Feet together, legs together, whole body upright, spine straight but not forced upright, shoulders down, arms by your sides, palms facing inwards. Aim to look straight ahead, allow your chest to be raised, opening your whole chest without forcing this. Close your eyes and sense how solid like a mountain you are or perhaps whether you sway a little like a tree in the breeze. Have a sense of your whole body feeling grounded and open. Feel that your feet are solidly connected to the ground.

When you are ready, simply raise one of your feet, not too high, maybe a couple of inches above the ground, taking the weight on the other foot.

This is a lovely balance. You can do it in a queue, in the office, while you are waiting, at the photocopier..anywhere. Infact, if you are a little wobbly, you can lean against a wall, or gently hold on to something, or someone (if they consent!). And if you feel very wobbly – it’s not to far to put your foot down again too.

What is lovely about balances is that they are a great indicator of your own internal sense of balance.  Whenever a very english yogi feels that things are out of kilter he checks in to see the impact internally by using balances,  From the subtle foot raise, through to natarajasana. The pose is often shaped by the circumstances, so natarajasana is often done away from crowds, while the simple foot raise is typically used in busy places.

As well as being an indicator of your internal sense of balance, balances can lead you back to a sense of equanimity and balance simply by exploring them.

A very english yoga has a standard formula for balances to make them work well. Firstly observe your breath and breathe fully and in a regular, calm way. Secondly, find a point of focus. In his classes he aims to look at a nail on a floorboard (if the room has floorboards) say a couple of feet in front of him. Thirdly, don’t forget to be mindful of your posture – aiim to stand firm and steady, straight but not to attention.

Most importantly, just enjoy the sense of balance and if you wobble, enjoy the wobble too !




“Sometimes..all I need is the that I breathe..”

“Sometimes..all I need is the that I breathe..”

We breathe in air. If we dont, we would die. Fact. So breathing and breath is important. Critical really.

Yoga isn’t just about postures (AKA asanas). It also includes breathing practices.  These are called Pranayama. Prana means life force. Yama means extension. The breathing practices are about extending the life force within you. Prana is not only  ‘life force’ it is vital energy. It is all around us, in everything, as well as within the air we breathe.

While prana is usually translated as ‘breath’, according to many texts and gurus,  this is only of its many manifestations in the human body.  All functions of the body are performed by five types of vital energy known as prana vayus.  Iyengar says that although these are five types, they are specific aspects of one vital cosmic force or ‘wind’ which is the primeval principle of existence.

The five types of prana are; prana, apana, samana, udana, and vyana.

Prana moves in the thoracic region and controls breathing.  It absorbs vital atmospheric energy.  Apana  moves in the lower abdomen and controls the elimination of urine, faeces and semen.  Samana stokes the gastric fires aiding digestion and maintaining the harmonious functioning of the abdominal organs.  It integrates the whole of the human gross body.  Udana, working through the throat (the pharynx and the larynx),  controls the vocal chords and the intake of air and food. Vyana pervades the entire body, distributing energy derived from food and breath through the arteries, veins and nerves.


There are five subsidiary vayus known as upapranas or upavayus, these are Naga (which is manifest in belching), Kurma (which controls the movements of the eye-lids,  and the size of the irises), and Krkara which prevents substances passing up the nasal passages or down the throat, by encouraging sneezing or coughing. Devadatta causes yawning and induces sleep. Dhanarhjaya produces phlegm, nourishes and remains in the body even after death.

By practicing pranayama (the breathing exercises), we are bringing prana (vital energy) into our bodies.  The prana vayus (energy winds) work like this: Prana brings in the energy, samana converts the energy for use in the body, vyana circulates this energy to all parts of the body, apana eliminates any waste and udana provides base and positive energy”.

The Yoga Sutra describes the flow of prana as water which is channelled and dyked in a farmers field, where the farmer works to move the channel of water to various parts of the field (Yoga Sutra, 4.3). Desikachar (Heart of Yoga) and Iyengar (Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali) refer to this metaphor as an apt description of prana following the breath, flowing by itself into the cleared spaces, cleared by asana and pranayama and other yoga practices.

A very english yogi is if anything a man who likes to balance mysticism with science, intuition with practicalities. My take on the energy that is prana – is this.  Science tells us that in the air are molecules. Air itself is made up of mostly oxygen and nitrogen with smaller amounts of other molecules. All molecules, including oxygen and nitrogen are made up of atoms. Within atoms there are electrons, neutrons, protons and a nucleus.  Quantum physics suggests that as you go deeper and deeper into the workings of an atom, the result is that there is nothing there – just energy waves. The suggestion is that an atom can be typified as an energy field, which emits waves of electrical energy. As the universe is completely composed of atoms, including you and I, it is conceivable that the prana of the yogis was in effect the working of atoms that we breath in, and use.  It’s certainly a compelling connection, and food for thought.

One of the facets of  yoga that I am continuously drawn to, and which I draw on in my teaching practice is the growing science and evidence base that is showing how yoga practices can help people, from a health, psychological or philosophical perspective.  An example of this is that there is now significant research evidence that certain asana practices can help people with various health problems, such as chronic lower back pain, and that pranayama practices can assist people with respiratory problems such as asthma.  Furthermore, there is a strong research evidence base that meditation practices can reduce many health problems such as anxiety and depression and can help people feel in control of their lives, helping with self-esteem, focus and concentration.   Coupled with this growing research evidence base, there is also, in parallel a significantly growing knowledge base arising from quantum physics, biology and other sciences which suggests that our understanding of the world and phenomena are changing rapidly.  I referred to the recognition that quantum physics has identified that molecules are effectively now seen as entities of energy. While there appears to be no evidence to suggest that atoms within molecules are the modern day equivalent of prana, there is enough circumstantial evidence to suggest that this may be so.

You can do no better than starting by simply observing your breath. Inhale and exhale through your nostrils, keep you mouth closed. For each inhale/exhale consider this is one cycle. Try this to a count of 10 cycles. Don’t judge, just observe. How is it? What is creating or affecting its rhythm? How do you feel after simply focusing on your breath? Did your monkey mind leap from one thought to another or were you able to get to the 10th cycle just keeping a focus on your breath?  Give it a go. Let me and others know how it went – or what you think of my ideas about atoms and prana – I’d love to learn what you think!



Embracing chaos by stilling the mind

Embracing chaos by stilling the mind

Patanjali wrote the Yoga Sutras over two thousand years ago. They remain as relevant today, as they did then.  Even if you don’t step on a mat or practice any kind of yoga with your body or your mind – the Yoga Sutras remain an effective psycho-social guide to living a balanced and happy life.

A very english yogi thinks that probably the most important words of the Yoga Sutras are : “yogash chitta virtti nirodhah” which loosely translates as “yoga stops the movement of the mind”.  Another translation that the  ‘Yogi likes is the translation by Roach and McNally and suggests unity and integration through stillness – “we become whole by stopping how the mind turns”.

When we are caught up in the hurley burley of life it is hard to pause and come back to ourselves, or as TS Eliot the poet wrote in the poem, Burnt Norton – “the still point of the turning world”.   shutterstock_149610314

The question is – does the mind create the hurley burley – or does the hurley burley create the mind?  It’s a chicken and egg type conundrum – but what a very english yogi knows from experience is that if you still the mind  - strangely the hurley burley chaos around us seems to slow down or even stop too.

The key is using the many aspects of yoga to help you still your mind. And if our experience of the world is a projection of our mind, perhaps this is the way to stop the chaos.  Stopping the chaos can be done by embracing it. Yoga asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), meditation or living kindly or mindfully are all ways through which you can embrace the chaos and return to yourself.

Consider the uses of adversity

Consider the uses of adversity

Spider web mandala

Chekawa’s 7 point mind training suggests that the challenges that life throws in our way play an important role in helping us evolve as individuals.

Chekawa says “transform adverse conditions into the path to enlightenment”.  Typically we tend to run a mile from difficult life situations forever seeking happiness and contentment, command and control. When life throws a challenge or a barrier up, or some difficulty our initial reaction is to rant against it – confront it, seek to win or run a mile.  For many, adversity in all of its guises is a battle to be won, or at least to scramble off the battlefield, a survivor with scars and medals.

What the 7 point mind training suggests is that we consider each and every adverse situation as an opportunity to self-actualise, to evolve and grow as an individual. This is counter intuitive, but a bit like Jesus’ suggestion of ‘turning the other cheek’, this approach can break the cycle of aggro and open up a range of possibilities.

It took a very english yogi a long time to recognise that the difficulties he faced (in all their guises) were merely opportunities to learn and grow from. It’s not easy, and he doesn’t consistently practice this – but each time life throws another spanner in the works – a very english yogi thinks “ah, now here’s an opportunity to test my patience/kindness/optimism/helpfulness”.


When confronted with difficulties a good reaction initially is to observe your breath and make a gentle and concious effort to breath deeply, using the breath to pause the mind from reacting in its usual ego-ravaged way.  The pause that is created, and the breath that flows, can help inject a sense of perspective and serve to remind you that the difficulty you are facing requires consideration as an opportunity to grow.  You may read this and think this sounds trite, however why not give it a go. Life itself is a big experiment so why not do some investigations?



Life is much harder than meditation…

Life is much harder than meditation…

If you get the chance or have the inclination – I hope you find some time for some meditation. I know just how hard this is. But daily life itself is way much tougher.

A very english yogi likes the story of the zen master: Birds’ Nest Roshi. He would walk around the forest looking for abandoned bird’s nests. Then he would climb the tree and meditate in the nest. One day he had a visitor.

Standing on the ground far below the visitor asked, “What are you doing up there? It’s really dangerous! What possesses you to live and meditate way up on that branch? In a bird’s nest?”

The Roshi answered, “You call this dangerous? What you are doing is far more dangerous! Living in the world, ignoring death, trying to make impermanence permanent, avoiding loss and suffering”

You don’t have to climb a tree and scramble into a bird’s nest to meditate.  I like the work of Jon Kabat Zin. You can find his work on youtube.

A nice intro is by Jon Kabat Zinn – author of ‘Full Catastrophe Living’ – here on Youtube

Enjoy the view

Enjoy the view

I used to characterise my life as a yogi as being on a roller coaster, where sometimes you are bombing downhill, and other times you are looping the loop, and yet other times you are slowly rolling up hill, only to go backwards downhill and do a reverse loop the loop.

Nowadays I tend to view life as a yogi as like a journey through mist and murk:

out to sea, misty view


Or like being lost in the clouds:

Clouds 2


…sometimes there’s a hint of sunlight…


hint of sun


And most of the time, after a great deal of effort, I emerge to a beautiful view:

open land, blue sky

The trick is to appreciate every moment, every stage in the journey. When you are lost in the mist and murk, or the clouds are obscuring your route, its easy to beat yourself up, blame or criticize yourself. The reality is that each stage of the journey has a role to play, an effect and a benefit. The key is seeking to understand that, rather than allow your citta’s to get vritting* (as Patanjali might have said). Once you recognise the stage and state you are in, you can do something about it.

This experience is common in yoga practice, particularly a very english yogi’s. When you are on a journey – there are typically two things that can help: a map, and a compass. For the yogi – the map is the body and the compass is the mind, and he gives his body asana (yoga postures) and his mind, meditation.

But what if you are struggling with doing yoga itself?

Here the key is to trick your monkey mind. Tell it you are going to do some asanas for only five minutes. Get into Trikonasana (triangle pose), and who knows, you may find yourself on the mat a little longer.  The ancient yogis knew a thing or two. Quite a few yoga postures are named after animals or nature. Want to bring some animal energy into your life or your practice? Practice dog, or cat – cobra or lion. Want to feel solid like a mountain – get into mountain.

These asanas are helpful in bringing energy into your practice, but also fun. If you are struggling with your yoga practice – there is nothing like a little bit of fun to draw you back in and get going.

With love,

Foot on Mat

* In the Yoga Sutras – the venerable sage, Patanjali says “yogah citta vritti nirodha” which means loosely – ‘yoga stills the movement or turning of the mind’.  Citta is mind stuff and Vritti is the turning/movement. Two and a half thousand years later, a very english yogi has adopted the phrase “when your citta is vritting”. Hopefully yoga can help still your mind.