Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New to Me - Sivananda Style

I had the opportunity this morning, to try a new style of yoga: Sivananda Yoga; as taught by Thomas N of Duluth at the local YMCA. 

From  Sivananda Yoga, after teachings of Swami Sivananda, is a non-proprietary form of hatha yoga in which the training focuses on preserving the health and wellness of the practitioner. Sivananda Yoga teachers are all graduates of the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Course, and students widely range in age and degrees of ability. Unlike Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga's more athletic program involving Bandhas, Sivananda training revolves around frequent relaxation, and emphasizes full, yogic breathing.

The Sivananda training system aims to retain the vitality of the body, retard the decaying process, and decrease chance of disease, by simply and naturally cultivating the body. The system philosophies are summarized in 5 principles.

Five points of Yoga
Proper breathing: Pranayama
Exercise: Asanas
Relaxation: Savasana
Diet: Vegetarian. A yogic diet is encouraged, limited to sattvic foods, void of rajasic foods as well as tamasic foods
Positive thinking and meditation: Vedanta and Dhyana

A session of training typically starts with every practitioner resting in Savasana, and begin with Kapalabhati and Anuloma Viloma, preceding rounds of Sūrya namaskāra, before the standard program of the 12 basic asanas. A session averages 90 minutes, and the traditional program may be followed flexibly by the instructor, allowing for some variation.

The description above, pretty much sums the session as I experienced it and for my A-type personality, strong Ashtanga/Vinyasa inclination, go-go-go mentality, this was exactly what I needed.  Class unfortunately was only 1 hour, and seriously, I could have used a full hour and a half.  I enjoyed the pranyama, sitting reflectively in a quiet - somewhat dark - room, I loved the seamless integration of philosphy and anatomy tidbits into the session.  I know we didn't get to everything as this was only the second session and there was background info to be touched on, but with time I suspect more will be incorporated.  I hope to make future sessions (weather permitting!). 

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