Self-Practice: The Elimination of the Yoga Teacher

‘What is important is for you to find out these things for yourself, so that you are free and not second-hand human beings’ - J. Krishnamurti

To truly progress on the path of Himalayan Iyengar Yoga, as prescribed by our Master Yoga Teacher Sharat Arora, you must pass from student in the yoga class to self-practitioner, thereby eliminating the yoga teacher and the class environment. In order to eliminate the yoga teacher you need to reach a certain level of understanding and awareness of the practice and so for this reason we recommend that students complete at least three 5-day Courses with us at the HIYC. Completing the 5-Day Courses will equip you with enough skills to continue on your path as a self-practitioner.

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Why Do We Do 5-Day Courses At The Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre?

One of our main goals at the HIYC is to help our students to develop into lifelong practitioners of yoga. One of the chief ways we hope to achieve this is by ensuring that all new students commit to at least one 5-day course with our teachers and assistants here at the centres in Goa and Dharamsala, India. Ideally, we recommend students to complete three or four 5-day courses because there is a progression over the weeks and evolution of the poses. In that time they will have a deeper understanding of all the core poses that do not change whether you are doing the introductory course or whether you are a teacher here at the centre. The poses evolve, both physically, in terms of the instructions given by the teacher at each stage, and in terms of your awareness of them at the subtler level. After 3 weeks of 5-day courses your awareness will be heightened and you will be greatly attuned to the subtleties of your body. So, the more courses completed the better but even two or just one week will furnish you with the skills you need to carry you on your own path to self-realisation.

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Why We Don’t Practice Inversions During Menstruation?

Here at the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre we practise inversions… lots of inversions. Many of us are pretty addicted  to them and so missing out on shoulder stand, Halasana and of course - everybody’s favourite – hanging Sirshasana –  for four to six days when you have your period can feel very inconvenient. Most of us who love our daily hanging have been in the situation of thinking ‘oh, it’s not so heavy this month’ or ‘I think it’s almost finished’ so that we can get our inversion fix and we hang anyway. Some women, sadly, are even embarrassed to be seen to be missing out on the inversions – particularly ones done in class like shoulder stand – and some of us just resent and are resistant to the idea that we are somehow less capable for a few days each month. And yet, there are some good reasons that we at the HIYC do NOT recommend any inversions during menstruation.

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The Law of Cause and Effect

The law of cause and effect is a universal law, just like gravity. It stands for a definite as it brings a definite effect. In our yoga practice, we also understand this law with the Sanskrit word Hatha: the balance between "Ha" which is the action, and "Tha" the reflection of that action.

The law of cause and effect is a fundamental concept that we learn right from the beginning of our practice at the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre. We observe in Tadasana for example, how stretching the toes brings power into our front thighs. Stretching the toes is the cause, the action, and feeling our thighs becoming firm is the effect.

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Yoga Therapy for Women

According to the „Hatha Yoga Pradipika”, the female energy in yoga is represented as Ida the lunar pole opposite of the male energy Pingala. Ida represents the emotional, nurturing, intuitive wholistic and introverted aspects of humanity, it is these lunar energies which keep the world in a more harmonious state. It is said that it is the female who is the transporter of energy and it is she who iniates a spiritual journey into higher consciousness. However this is not such the case in todays society, rather quite the opposite. Women and her beautiful energetic strengths are opressed, manipulated and humilated. What happened to the spiritual iniater described in these ancient yogic texts? A male dominated ego driven society.

Yogic practice can bring women back in touch with this feminine power which once upon a time shone so brightly. Through the practice of yoga women can attune to their natural energetic rythym which has been opressed through centuries of manipulation and dillusion. A woman is faced with many challenges and obstacles through her course of life physical and emotional such as the challenges faced by a patriarchal society, menstruation, child birth, menopause and mental health. All of which can be aided through yoga therepy and a consistent yoga practice. Yoga therapy can be an effective practice in both preventing, improving and even eradicating some of these obstacles.

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