Welcome to Yoga Arava!!
This year our workshop will introduce a new concept of vinyasa practice named Sama Vinyasa.
To the outside observer this kind of practice can look like any form of yoga practice, but the ingredient that gives it the name “sama” is the work created internally.
Sama means equal, balanced, and well-maintained. The word “same” or “sameness” developed out of the word sama. What does it mean and how can this concept of sameness be linked to our practice of yoga?
This word sama appears in different texts. The eighth limb of yoga is called Samadhi, which means balanced consciousness with no discrimination. Samasthiti, which is the first pose/commandment to start within the ashtanga tradition, means starting the practice from the big equal pose and only then move on. samavriti, balancing the circulation of breath in and out etc..
That’s great! But there is room for confusion; from the outside everything looks separated and different, the yoga poses as well. Each one looks and feels completely different than the other. In yoga, this appearance of difference is called Maya or illusion. If we get caught into the illusion/confusion of differences between one pose to another, the mind starts to feel irritated and will feel like it’s jumping from one thought to another: from one part of the body to another, from one emotion to another, judging, comparing, developing aversion or craving depending on the sensation. Attention and attachment to these differences lead one to believe that “this is me”, creating even more separation. Today we all know that this leads to suffering and doesn’t serve the purpose of practicing yoga and reaching equanimity.
The yoga text says that yoga is to stop the wavering of the mind. So how does it work???? To find that quality of sama and get equilibrium we need to dig in using our senses of perception. Through the senses we get the knowledge of the world inside and outside ourselves, using them as a tool for observation. Luckily we have the capability to locate our left and right side as well as our back and front side. This capability of awareness gives us the framework to map the body, and, by using observation and discrimination, to spot those places in the body that get too much attention, thereby irritating the mind, or, on the other hand, to spot the dull places that are hard for the mind to reach. In this case, the mind, if not being educated, is likely to go only to the directions it knows and feels, leaving the areas that are hard for it to reach untouched or even unfamiliar, causing more disharmony. In that case, we need to outsmart the mind and move towards the direction of harmony in the sensation level. This kind of practice develops concentration and quitting the mind in a deep level, but at the same time keeps it alert and awake. Similar to a mother watching her son playing in the garden, while staying calm and alert (b.k.s iyengar). The job of the yoga pose is to challenge your balance. It’s a game of unlimited levels. Each pose is challenging us in different aspects. When the poses are balanced from inside by the same activating mechanism the brain starts to develop quietness and equanimity, minimum changes happening between pose to pose, and the body gets energized properly.
The activating mechanism is the actions needing to take in order to well maintain the poses. It’s the same actions in all poses.
This style developed after years of teaching ashtanga, but actually involved studying iyengar yoga. Then came the inner understanding (with the help master chuck miller and more) that all yoga postures are working with the same principles, with the same mechanism and under the same cosmic laws.
4 pillars for our 3 day workshop
1. Pleasantness surrounds everything. How to find it and how to connect with it
2. Mind and space vs. body and material. The way our mind effects the body
3. Action vs. movement. Finding the inner actions that intrigue and activate the poses. Then moving from pose to pose becomes fluid in the body and in the mind.
4. Foundation and fountain of the yoga. How to integrate the philosophy into the practice.
Topics to be covered:
Asana practice- standing poses sited poses forward extension and back arching
Pranayama- laying the foundation to deep breathing
Meditation- concentration and body scan
Patanjeli yoga sutra – basic understanding.
See you at the desert!!