Kundalini Yoga & Meditation
(Lauren Asheim) All Levels
(Joyce Paxton, Wes Cutter, Diane Harder) All Levels
Kundalini Yoga the Yoga of Awareness
(Nirmal Lumpkin) All Levels
Kundalini Yoga & Healing Gong Meditation
(Kate-Jai Kirti) All Levels
(Channing McKinley) All Levels
(Abby O’Keefe) All Levels
Aquarian Sadhana *Donation Class
(Lauren Asheim) All Levels
Community Yoga: Breathe, Stretch, Relax *Donation Class
(Beth Cleary and Jan Mandell) All Levels
Yoga for Awakening: Viniyoga All Levels
(Maggie Kessell) All Levels
Viniyoga—Yoga for Strong Bones
(Mary Salisbury) All Levels
Viniyoga for a Vital Life
(Beth Cleary) Level 2 (advanced)
Yoga for the Whole Person: Viniyoga Level 3
(Maggie Kessell) Level 3 (advanced)
Yoga for Healing
(Anne McDonough) All Levels
Iyengar Yoga Intro/Level 1
(Joy Laine) Level 1 (beginning)
Iyengar Yoga Level 2/3
(Joy Laine) Level 2 & 3 (advanced)
(Anna Andaházy) All Levels
(Arah Bahn) All Levels
12 Step Recovery Yoga
(Suzula Bidon) All Levels
Hatha Yoga Study Group
(Bianca Matter) All Levels
Mindful Flow Yoga *Donation Class
(Bianca Matter) All Levels
Ashtanga Yoga—Half Primary Series
(Kristen Mansch) All Levels
Gentle Yoga for Every Body!
(Anna Vazquez) All Levels
Deep Restore Yoga
(Bianca Matter) All Levels
New Moon Intention Setting
(Kate Cherne) All Levels
Lovingkindness Meditation Practice *Donation Class
(Patrice Koelsch) All Levels
SunMoon Yoga *Donation Class
(Paula Coyne) All Levels
(Kate Cherne) All Levels
What is yoga?
The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as "union" or a method of discipline. A male who practices yoga is called a yogi, a female practitioner, a yogini. The Indian sage Patanjali is believed to have collated the practice of yoga into the Yoga Sutra an estimated 2,000 years ago. The Sutra is a collection of 195 statements that serves as a philosophical guidebook for most of the yoga that is practiced today. It also outlines eight limbs of yoga: the yamas (restraints), niyamas (observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyani meditation), and samadhi (absorption). As we explore these eight limbs, we begin by refining our behavior in the outer world, and then we focus inwardly until we reach samadhi (liberation, enlightenment). Today most people practicing yoga are engaged in the third limb, asana, which is a program of physical postures designed to purify the body and provide the physical strength and stamina required for long periods of meditation.
Ashtanga is a breath-centered healing method of yoga. The word “Ashtanga” literally means “eight limbs” (ashta=eight, anga=limb). These eight limbs, or steps, are described in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. One begins the eight-limbed path with asana, the physical postures of yoga. The heartbeat of the Ashtanga practice is the synchronization of breath and movement called vinyasa. Each breath literally leads each movement. Through conscious breathing (breath), purposeful movement (posture/bandha), and concentration (drishti), the practice gradually creates steadiness in body and mind.
What can you expect in an Ashtanga Yoga class?
All begin with the Primary Series called Yoga Chikitsa, which translates as yoga therapy. This fixed sequence of postures purifies and aligns the body. Primary Series classes are taught as either half or full. Each asana in the series prepares for the following. The more one becomes familiar with the set sequence, the more practice becomes a moving meditation.
The word hatha means willful or forceful. Hatha yoga refers to a set of physical exercises (known as asanas or postures), and sequences of asanas, designed to align your skin, muscles, and bones. The postures are also designed to open the many channels of the body—especially the main channel, the spine—so that energy can flow freely.
Hatha is also translated as ha meaning "sun" and tha meaning "moon." This refers to the balance of masculine aspects—active, hot, sun—and feminine aspects—receptive, cool, moon—within all of us. Hatha yoga is a path toward creating balance and uniting opposites. In our physical bodies we develop a balance of strength and flexibility. We also learn to balance our effort and surrender in each pose.
Hatha yoga is a powerful tool for self-transformation. It asks us to bring our attention to our breath, which helps us to still the fluctuations of the mind and be more present in the unfolding of each moment.
Iyengar Yoga derives its name from its architect B.K.S. Iyengar who has taught yoga for over seventy years, both in his native India and throughout the rest of the world. B.K.S. Iyengar has been referred to as the ‘Michelangelo of yoga’ and in 2004 was named by Time magazine as one of the world’s hundred most influential people. Under the sponsorship of the well-known violinist Yehudi Menuhin, Mr. Iyengar began teaching yoga in England over fifty years ago. Gradually his following outside of India grew and today his style is practiced by many thousands of students throughout the world –in Europe, Australia, Africa, and the United States, for example. Mr. Iyengar’s renown grew with the publication of his book Light on Yoga, published in 1966, and still considered to be the gold standard for all yoga books. Until fairly recently he traveled extensively teaching and giving workshops, visiting China for the first time in the last years of his life. Now, over ninety years old, he spends more time in Pune, India where he teaches at his purpose built institute. Mr. Iyengar passed away in Pune in August 2014 at the age of ninety-five, leaving behind him an enduring legacy of committed practitioners. His daughter, Geeta Iyengar and son, Prashant Iyengar are also world-renowned teachers in their own right.
Kundalini Yoga, the oldest of all yoga forms, is also called the Yoga of Awareness. Kundalini yoga classes typically include held postures, energetic movement exercises, mantra (chanting), pranayam (breath work), meditation and relaxation. By stimulating the nervous, immune and glandular systems and tapping into the mental and physical bodies Kundalini yoga works to bring a greater sense of well being, energize, heal the body, bring stress relief, help to maintain healthy weight and improve flexibility.
Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, is a comprehensive technology to create an expanded consciousness, mental clarity and spiritual insight. It is much more than a system of physical exercise. It is a dynamic, powerful, tool for expanding awareness. Kundalini Yoga is typically referred to as the path of the ‘householder.’ This means it is a quick technology for spiritual and personal evolution that can still fit into a life that includes work, family and play. While Kundalini Yoga is a spiritual practice it does not require any particular dogma or creed. This technology can be used by those of any, or no, faith tradition to expand their relationship with themselves and with the Infinite.
Kundalini yoga was first taught openly in the West by Yogi Bhajan. He came to the United States in 1969 and saw that people were desperately in need of a technology to deal with the rapidly changing times and their own shifting consciousness. Yogi Bhajan taught tirelessly until his passing in 2004. Most of his lectures and classes were captured in video or notes and we teach kriyas (sets of exercises) exactly as he taught them. Kundalini Yoga classes have wide ranging themes, from healing the Liver to expanding our capacity to love ourselves. And wide ranging methods, some classes incorporate stillness, breath and silence and other classes include chanting, yelling, dancing and everything in between!
Classes are designed to challenge each student at their own level and are do-able by everyone. Generally classes are practiced with the eyes closed. This allows each student to experience the practice from an internal perspective and takes out the tendency to compare or compete with others in class. Each person in a Kundalini Yoga and Meditation class is able to tailor the experience to work for their body at that particular moment in time.
Derived from hatha yoga, Vinyasa yoga differs in some important ways from its predecessor. Vinyassa yoga is often faster paced, and the assanas (postures) are linked together in a series of movements that are synchronized with the breath. Much emphasis is placed on the breath and the transition in and out of the assanas.
The routine practice of vinyasa yoga can increase muscle strength, endurance and flexibility, and reduce levels of stress.
Vinyasa yoga offers much diversity. The pace can vary and there is no one particular sequence that instructors must follow. In fact, the name vinyasa is a Sanskrit word that translates as "variations within parameters." This flexibility allows the teacher to tailor the sequences to their own philosophy.
The word viniyoga comes from the Yoga Sutras. It refers to the importance of starting where you are and adapting your practice to your goals. Its roots are in the lineage of T. Krishnamacharya, (1888-1989), a revered teacher, yogi, and healing practitioner in India. Among the teachers who owe their beginnings to Krishnamacharya are B.K.S. Iygengar, Patabhi Jois, Indra Devi, and Krishnamacharya’s son T.K.V. Desikachar. Gary Kraftsow is the founder and director of the American Viniyoga Institute, a name given by Desikachar to Gary’s school in 1999. Gary was Desikachar’s student for 25 years. He lives in Oakland, CA and travels nationally teaching at conferences and workshops, in addition to conducting Teacher Trainings and Yoga Therapist trainings. Please see www.viniyoga.com for further information.
What can you expect in a viniyoga class?
Your practice will have a clear intention and will be carefully sequenced to move toward that intention. The intention will be more about function than form.
You will learn to pay close attention to your breathing and to move with the breath, so that breath and movement support each other. Your teacher will check in with you at the beginning of class for any special needs you may have, and she will be attentive to each student and provide adaptations of poses when needed. She may touch you, with your permission, to bring awareness to an area, but she will not “adjust” you.
Your practice may include a breathing practice (pranayama) at the beginning or end. In some classes, meditation will follow the asana (postures) practice, and chanting in Sanskrit or English may also be included.
Over a period of time, you will learn a selection of poses, with adaptations, and learn how to use them for your own unique body and system. You will learn what kind of sequence and what kind of breathing can raise your energy, or can calm your nerves, or soothe an aching back. You will be encouraged to have a home practice, and your teacher can help you get started with that. You can expect to have a teacher who is certified, who continues to study with her teacher or mentor, who has her own practice, who is observant of her students, and who is available to help you privately if you wish a private class.
So…whether you are coming to yoga to strengthen an area of the body, or become more flexible, or to reduce the level of stress in your life, to recover from an injury or illness, to learn to quiet the mind, to improve your relationships, or to deepen your spiritual roots, viniyoga can help you to develop a practice that will lead you to your goals. The tools of yoga are many: postures, breathing, various stages of meditation, chanting, the study of ancient wisdom texts, such as the Yoga Sutras, which give us guidance for our practice and our daily life, the use of ritual and gestures—all these can be used as appropriate depending on your goal.