Blissful Body Yoga

Photo by Mike Fyrberg

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Yoga Traditions
There are many traditions of yoga, including Kripalu, Ashtanga, Sivananda, Anusara, Iyengar, Kundalini, the list goes on.... All of these traditions have different components, emphases and practices, but they all pull from the same foundations in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and other classical texts. There is so much to lean about yoga, and the deeper you go, the juicier it gets.

Kripalu means "compassion" and focuses on each individual finding the yoga that is right for them.
Blissful Body Yoga holds this foundation of compassion and ahimsa (or non-violence) towards self and others as its focus.

The Eight Limbs of Yoga
Yoga is a practice of breathing techniques, physical postures and meditation designed to bring the body, mind and spirit into union and back to their original states of bliss.

The basic tenants of the art and science of yoga were defined by the early yogis as practices that would reduce suffering and increase fulfillment in life.

The Eight Limbs of Yoga outlined by yoga sage Patanjali are:

1. YAMAS: restraints
2. NIYAMAS: observances
3. ASANA: postures to balance Prana (energy) in the body
4. PRANAYAMA: breath control to increase Prana (energy)
5. PRATYAHARA: exercises to create withdrawal from the senses
6. DHARANA: exercises for developing one-pointed concentration
7. DHYANA: exercises that give experiences of absorption/meditation
8. SAMADHI: a total merge of self with the Infinite

Yamas (restraints)
Ahimsa (non-harming, non-violence)
Satya (truth)
Asteya (non-stealing)
Bramacharya (conservation/respect for energy)
Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)

Niyamas (observances)
Santosha (contentment)
Swadhyaya (self-study)
Saucha (purity)
Tapas (dicipline)
Ishavara pranidhana (surrender to God/Higher Self/Source/Universe)

Foundational Texts
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
The text is comprised of 196 short aphorisms that thread together, forming the foundation for the inquiry of yoga. There are many, many translations. Some of my favorites are written by Swami Satchitananda, B.K.S. Iyengar, T.K.V. Desikachar and Nischala Joy Devi.

The Bhagavad Gita (The Song of God)
Part of the Mahabarata, the great epic poem of India, the Gita is a dialog between Lord Krishna and the hero Arjuna, taking place in the "beat of one butterfly's wings" on the battlefield before the climactic struggle between good and evil. It is the story of one man's crisis of conscience and an instructive commentary and call to action for dealing with the great and universal challenges of human life. And, it's a fantastic read! Again, there are so many translations. I enjoy my old copy from high school which was translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood.
Yoga is a grand adventure for the Soul.