Ananda is a word used in both yogic and buddhist lexicons.  It means pure bliss or joy.  It is often found as a suffix in the spiritual names of those who have attained samadhi and thus live blissfully a human existence (eg:  Yogananda, Sivananda).
I am inviting ananda into my daily life.  I have become aware that at times my yoga practice is a little too, well, serious.  I have a serious side to me and naturally this translates to my practice.  But I also have a very whimsical and playful side.  I don’t feel that this translates into my practice.  I invite it to join in the fun!
I became aware of one fundamentally joyful and mysterious thing today, while holding Natarajasana:  I am alive!  Yes – I am alive and that is both joyful and mysterious.  Alive.  ALIVE!  With focus, I could watch the joy generated by my awareness of my own vitality transform into simple bliss, ananda.
So, dear yogis, let us be happy and joyful and celebrate our lives.  Let’s strive to be more conscious, more aware, more expansive and more creative.  I invite joy into my life…shall you do the same?

Let the breath contain the movement

The breath is the link between the exterior and the interior yogic practices. It is not in vain that pranayama is the fourth of the eight limbs (ashtanga) of yoga.  The first three are the most external:  habits and behaviours towards yourself and others (niyamas, yamas) and postures (asana).  The last 4 angas are to do with the mind (dhyana, dharana etc.)  Therefore, the breathing techniques (pranayama) form the link between the body and the mind.
The mind has no form, it is composed only of the thoughts that define it.  The quality of mind can be either tamasic (heavy) or rajasic (excited) when not trained.  The trained mind is satvic (calm).  Because it is very difficult to work directly on the mind, to make it more satvic, we bring the mind under control by learning the control the breath.  Breathing is the only physiological process that is under both conscious and unconscious control.
An easy way to focus your yoga practice is to pay attention to the breath.  The breath should be a parenthesis to the movement.  This means that the breath is always longer than the movement:  it begins before the movement begins, and ends after the movement ends. For example, with arms by your side, begin breathing in.  Raise your arms above your head.  Finish the breath after the arms come to vertical.  Now, do this breathing technique throughout your practice. It is very difficult to maintain this kind of mental focus.  Don’t worry if your mind wavers.  When you notice it doing so, come back to the focus (bhavana.)

A thought

The ego is like the appetite:  the more you feed it, the more it needs feeding.

Yoga teachers in the neighborhood

OK, I don’t have a list of class times, but here are the people who come to mind:
Carmen Sánchez Segura – classes in the Centro Social de Altea.  Private classes also offered.
Carmen Cruz – classes in Karuna
Beatriz Cano – classes in Altea La Vieja
Kathy Ward – Yoga therapy in Altea la Vieja
Elisa Motta Maya – Classes in El Jardín de los Sentidos
I’m sure there are more, but these good people spring to mind right now.  Om

Welcome back

Dear friends, I have finally mapped the domain to this blog.  I am glad that you have found your way here.  I will shortly be compiling a list of yoga teachers in and around Altea, Alicante, Spain.  I shall post it here, most likely updating my category “yoga classes”.  Om.

Yoga 1: In the body

I am delighted to preview the new beginner level yoga course that I am developing for autumn 2010!
Yoga 1 :– In the body
Dates: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30-10:30 AM,   October 5 – December 16, 2010 (20 classes)
Location:  Venue as yet to be determined.
Cost: 150 per student.
May be paid monthly by prior arrangement with teacher.
Earlybird discount:130 (paid in full by 4 October, 2010)
To participate:  Class is open to anyone with general good health and a desire to learn yoga and have fun. This is a beginner level class.
Admission to the course is subject to an interview with the teacher. Interviews will be conducted on Monday 28 September and Monday 4 October.
Objectives: This is a course designed to gradually introduce students to the basic elements of yoga: postures, breathing techniques, short meditations and guided relaxations.
The establishment of a personal yoga practice is the objective of this course. Therefore, practices are designed to be manageable in a home setting. Students will receive the bi-weekly sequences on a printed sheet and will therefore finish the course with a small selection of yoga sequences to use in their daily, home practice.
We will touch briefly on the philosophical elements of yoga, for students wishing to deepen their studies.
Students who successfully complete the Yoga 1 course can then join open level classes, or proceed to the Yoga 2 course.
For further information, please call Rachel on 667 997 532 or email