Sivananda Yoga Classes at the Ashram
We offer beginning and intermediate asana and pranayama classes at 8:00 am and 4:00 pm each day in the classical Sivananda Yoga style. These are traditional, slow-paced, meditative classes that encourage proper breathing, flexibility, strength, and vitality in the body while calming the mind. Because yoga is a spiritual system with a physical component, this non-competitive approach helps the practitioner gain much more than just a healthy body.
A typical class includes four components in this order:
- Pranayama (breathing exercises)
- Warm-ups including Sun Salutations
- 12 basic asanas (postures), with the practice of relaxation between asanas
- Deep relaxation
In the beginning class, we may offer variations of and preparations for the more challenging asanas, so that students can create a foundation for practice as their bodies increase in strength and flexibility and the ability to focus the mind and the breath develops.
The 12 Basic Asanas
Asana is one of the eight limbs of classical yoga, which states that poses should be steady and comfortable, firm yet relaxed helping a practitioner to become more aware of their body, mind, and environment.
Our focus is on mastering the basic asanas from which variations are then added to further deepen the practice. Within the Sivananda tradition, the asanas follow an exact order that allows for the systematic movement of every major part of the body in a balanced way that enhances prana or life force energy, keeping the mind quiet and without the need to think beyond each individual pose. Additional variations may also be taught.
In the Sivananda tradition, the basic asanas are:
- Headstand (Sirsasana)
- Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana)
- Plough (Halasana)
- Fish (Matsyasana)
- Sitting Forward Bend (Paschimothanasana)
- Cobra (Bhujangasana)
- Locust (Shalabhasana)
- Bow (Dhanurasana)
- Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
- Crow (Kakasana) or Peacock (Mayurasana)
- Standing Forward Bend (Pada Hasthasana)
- Triangle (Trikonasana)
The 12 basic poses or asanas are much more than just stretching. They open the energy channels, chakras, and psychic centers of the body while increasing flexibility of the spine, strengthening bones, and stimulating the circulatory and immune systems. Along with proper breathing or pranayama, asanas also calm the mind and reduce stress. With regular practice one can ensure overall physical and mental health.