Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hathayoga Pradipika

In Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, by B.K.S. Iyengar he writes about the Hathayoga Pradipika written by Svatmarama. 
He says that Svatmarama explains that the body, being inert, tamasic, is uplifted to the level of the active, rajasic, mind through asana and pranayama with yama and niyama.  When the body is made as vibrant as the mind, through study, svadhyaya and through practice and repetitions, abhyasa, both mind and body are lifted towards the noumenal state of sattva guna.  From sattva guna the sadhaka follows Isvara pranidhana to become a gunatitan (free from gunas).

Pamela Nelson

Monday, September 26, 2011



23 - “Sun”day Salutation10:15a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - $25/class or $60 for all three

Join me once a month for a two hour Sunday Yoga Practice.  The classes will focus on the Sun Salutations - Surya Namaskar. 

This dynamic vinyasa (flow sequence) is a combination of postures moving together with the breath.  The class will focus on these poses and introduce a few other vinyasas.


5&6 - All Levels Yoga Workshop with Jo-Ann Sutherland
Pre-registration required by October 21st. Workshop will be cancelled if not enough participants. 
Please contact for more information or check out website for details.

5&6Focus on Christmas sale at the PA Ex. – 10 – 5 both days.  We will have dharma items for sale there – jewellery, fleece-lined wool sweaters, hats and mitts, scarves, singing bowls, purses, prayer flags and more!

20th – ‘Sun”day Salutations – 10:15a.m. - 12:15 p.m. – see October for details.


4th – “Sun”day Salutations - 10:15a.m. - 12:15 p.m. – see October for details.

10thAmnesty International – Write for Rights – 10-11:15 a.m. yoga class – by donation, - proceeds to A.I. 
Stay after for some life saving letter writing and snack.

14th – B.K.S. Iyengar’s 93rd Birthday – Celebrate with yoga class! 5:30-7:30p.m. – class by donation.  Proceeds to Bellur Trust Fund.  Stay after for cake and refreshments.

Pre-registration requests for events so I have idea of numbers attending!

 Winter 2012 Yoga schedule will hopefully be out in November!

Happy Fall!
Pamela Nelson

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Yesterday, some other yoga teachers and I met at my house to discuss the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  We have been meeting for a few years now and the discussions (and food) is always interesting, thought provoking and helpful. Our yoga path is our own, but to be able to discuss and talk with others can lead to insights that one may not have reached on our own.

Yesterday we finished the last four or five sutras in Pada one (book one), Samadhi pada.  Here Patanjali discusses the many stages of samadhi (profound meditation). Although I am no where close to this last limb in the eight limb path, sutra 1.50 spoke to me.

Mr. Iyengar translates this in Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as:

I.50  tajjah samskarah anyasamskara pratibandhi

A new life begins with this truth-bearing light. Previous impressions are left behind and new ones are prevented.

This idea that at some point in our dedicated practice we can reach a point where we are no longer bound by our past actions, past oscillations of the mind that impede real knowledge is very freeing.  It gives hope to me to continue on the yogic path.

In sutra I.51 Mr. Iyengar writes, "Nirbija samadhi is the conquest of the citta wherein the root mind is one with the seer.  As all invading thoughts are brought to an end by practice and detachment, the soul is freed from the shackles of earthly vehicles: the body, senses, mind, intelligence and consciousness.  The seer is in amanaskatva state"  There is no more feelings of "I", he says and we become one with the universe.

Pamela Nelson

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mr. Iyengar in conversation with Swami Radha

In 1984 Mr. Iyengar came to Canada for the first time.  Swami Radha had already established her ashram in British Columbia and had been corresponding with Mr. Iyengar since the 1970's.  During this visit they had a chance to visit.

Some of this conversation has been reprinted in a few different places.  I read an article in the Iyengar Yoga Centre of Victoria's newsletter, winter 2009 and spring 2010.

The whole article is very interesting.  I have just put a bit from the article in today's blog.

Swami Radha: What is the procedure in order to practice hatha yoga?

Mr. Iyengar: Hatha yoga starts from the body and goes directly disclosing, from the body to the breath, from the breath to the mind, from the mind to intelligence, from intelligence to the self and from the self towards the soul, one after the other.

Swami Radha: It is similar to when we look at a picture.  At first we may not be able to see everything at once, so we begin by looking at one area and then another.  Finally, we can see the whole picture.

Mr.Iyengar: Yes, then we experience in totality with complete alertness. For example, the body for me is the gross soul. So how can the envelope be separated from the content?

Swami Radha: Right. Duality is the creation of the mind.

Mr.Iyengar: No one can demarcate where the body ends and the mind begins, where the mind ends and the soul begins.  These terms are all for the sake of convenience, when it is explained that one is the gross body, one is the subtle body, and one is the causal body.  We express it as sthula, suksma and karana sarira.  Patanjali explains using this in different terminologies.  He calls it visesa, avisesa, lingamatra and alinga.  The soul is encased in them.  The body can be perceived, therefore it is distinguishable.  The mind, I-consciousness are nondistinguishable therefore have to be conceived: whereas intelligence is differentiable from the soul.  Therefore, as our existence is expressed from gross to subtle, for the sake of convience we express it as body, mind and soul.

Pamela Nelson

Monday, September 19, 2011

PLN Yoga Studio

"Sun” day Salutation

Join me once a month for a two hour Sunday Yoga Practice. 
The classes will focus on the Sun Salutations - Surya Namaskar. 
This dynamic vinyasa (flow sequence) is a combination of postures moving together with the breath.  The class will focus on these poses and introduce a few other vinyasas.

2011 Dates:

October 23rd, November 20th and December 4th

Classes will include:

Warm –up

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) sequence with variations

Inverted and seated postures



Instructor:  Pamela Nelson, Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor

Time: 10:15am-12:15pm

Location: PLN Yoga Studio - #3-3800 5th Ave. E., Prince Albert, Sk.

Cost:  $60 for the three Sundays or $25/class

Pre – registration requested. 
 For more information or to register contact Pamela Nelson. 
T: 982-2737 or E:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Words of Wisdom - 8

An asana is not a posture which you assume mechanically.
It involves thought, at the end of which a balance is achieved between movement and resistance.

-B.K.S. Iyengar

Pamela Nelson

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Open Mind

This was said to me by a very wise friend.  I'd like to pass it along.

It's funny how when we make a choice to open ourselves up to new experiences we are always given so much more than what we imagined. There is a saying that we are our own limits.  That's true for sure, but it also follows that we are our own possibilities.

Pamela Nelson

Monday, September 12, 2011

PLN Yoga Studio - Prince Albert, Sk.

Here are a few photos from inside the new studio.  I look forward to starting this next yoga session. Thanks for all the support I've received from friends, family and fellow students of yoga. 

Pamela Nelson

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hugging Meditation

The excerpt below is from Thich Nhat Hanh's book, Peace is Every Step. In light of the day September 11th, I thought this would be a very good way to spend part of they day.

Hugging is a beautiful Western culture, and we from the East would like to contribute the practice of conscious breathing to it.  When you hold a child in your arms, or hug your mother, or your husband, or your friend, if you breathe in and out three times, your happiness will be multiplied at least tenfold.

If you are distracted, thinking about other things, your hug will be distracted also, not very deep, and you may not enjoy hugging very much.  So when you hug your child, your friend, your spouse, I recommend that you first breathe in and out consciously and return to the present moment.  Then, while you hold him or her in your arms, breathe three times consciously, and you will enjoy your hugging more then before.

I also have to add, for those of you with kids who grew up with songs from Charlotte Diamond - "Three hugs a day, that's the minimum, three hugs a day, not the maximum."

Pamela Nelson

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Building Your Home Practice

Building a consistent home practice can be challenging,
but also immensely rewarding....

An article in the magazine, "Svadhyaya, Volume 3, issue 2" gave many wonderful tips in regards to building a home practice.  I will give a few here, but you can read the full article yourself if you want by clicking on the link above to the Iyengar Yoga Center Hong Kong.  At their site, click the link to "magazine" at the top.

Start by asking yourself why you started yoga in the first place.  You may be surprised to realize that the reason you continue to do a yoga practice now is not the same reason that you first started.  I myself started "doing" yoga in my early twenties because I was very tight in many places from running, biking, aerobics and swimming and thought this would be a great way to get more flexible.  Little did I know that gaining flexibility is just a bonus to everything else yoga has taught me.

A home practice is a vital component of studying yoga and is an experience not just learnt through books or by coming to class.  Creating a personal practice helps you to develop in your life.

Yoga Sutras state three requirements of studying yoga - Kriya Yoga
1. Tapas - zeal or drive
2. Svadhyaya - self study
3. Isvara Pranidhana - devotion to the essence of life itself

When you begin to bring all three aspects into your practice and start seeing and feeling the benefits of yoga, then the time to practice more and more becomes available.  You make it a priority.  These three aspects of course encompass the eight limbs of astanga yoga, where we learn to go from the physical aspect of yoga to the more internal aspects of yoga.  One should feel an evolution and involution in their yoga practice.

So, how to start your home practice?  Well, just start.  Begin with 10-15 minutes a day and see how it builds.  A class can help to keep you on track, help you keep coming back to your own mat daily.  I have a few links on this blog with morning and evening sequences that might help get one started.  From there you will begin to feel what is right for you to do next.

To end, a quote from Chris Saudek

When you start to practice on your
own, you need to become your own
teacher and really look at yourself.

Pamela Nelson

Monday, September 5, 2011

PLN Yoga Studio - Open House - Saturday, September 10th

Hello everyone,

I am having a short open house next Saturday...September 10th...between about 10:15-11:45am at the New studio. If you are interested in coming to see it before the session starts please drop by.

PLN Yoga Studio is located at #3-3800 5th Ave. E.



Pamela Louise Nelson
Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor
Helping Unite Body, Breath and MInd

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Words of Wisdom - 7

"Don't practice for cosmetic beauty,
practice for cosmic beauty.
 Practice for inner beauty and inner light.

Go from cosmetic state to cosmic state."

-B.K.S. Iyengar
at the China-India Yoga Summit 2011

Pamela Nelson

Friday, September 2, 2011

September - Pose of the Month - Supta Virasana

Supta Virasana - Reclined Hero's Pose

This pose helps to not only stretch the muscles of the quadriceps, but also helps lengthen the psoas muscles, remove fatigue in the legs and brings flexibility to the knees and ankles.  Also, tension in the abdominal and pelvic areas are relaxed, internal organs release rejuvenating the nervous system.

I will show the full pose and then how to modify the pose if lying back in hero's pose is to stressful on the knees, back, neck or shoulders.

 For the full pose, without support, begin in Virasana.  Kneel on the floor and keep knees together, spread the feet and rest the buttocks on the floor between the feet. The feet should be outside the hips, with all 5 toes pointing back and resting on the floor.  Maintain an erect spine, releasing the shoulders down the back.
 Exhale, and begin to release hands back, then to elbows.  Begin to lengthen the arms so the crown of the head can rest on the floor.  Then rest the back of the head and then the back body on the floor.

 Make sure the back is NOT over-arching as above.  Draw the tailbone in and up the spine and lengthen the sacrum towards the knees.  Press the shins gently to the floor and towards the knees. Broaden the chest, lengthen the back of the neck and keep the face and neck relaxed.
 Then, extend the arms straight overhead and after a few breaths catch the elbows with the hands.  Make sure shoulder blades stay on the floor.  Bring arms back to sides and stay for a few more breaths.

 To come up, inhale, press hands into feet and come up to elbows, leading with the sternum (breastbone). Keep the spine lengthening.
Come to hands, keep lifting, bring head up last and sit in virasana for a few breaths.

For those that find supta virasana painful or would like a more restorative version you may need some of the props above. 1-2 bolsters, foam blocks, blankets, strap and possibly a chair.

Set the props up as shown here and in the picture above.  The foam block is to sit on, with the bolster behind for the length of the back and the blanket to support the back of the neck and head.
Come into Virasana by bringing knees together and pressing the center of the feet and ankles to the floor, feet out to the sides and cut the calf muscle in half and move the flesh back to create more space behind the knees.
Once in virasana there should be no pain in the knees.  If thighs not parallel wrap a strap around the shins and thighbones to hold legs together.  Do not strap to tightly if creates lower back pain when reclining back.
Here is another variation of how can strap legs, as it also creates more space behind the knees.  Bring strap to top of legs.
Bring the strap behind the crease of the knee.
And then around the inner knee and out to the side.  Do the same on the other side. You may need to place the crown of the head on the floor to move the knees together and adjust straps.
Once legs are together and are in virasana, bring hands to either side of the bolster, lengthen the spine and keep the chest open.  Draw tailbone in and up the spine, move sacrum towards knees and begin to recline back one vertebra at a time from the lower back to the top of the spine.  You will need to lower to elbows and move down and keep back ribs moving in.
Position the head so it is resting on the center back of the head, the shoulders are releasing and throat is soft. There should be no hardness in the abdomen.  IF there is, or if the back is stressed place another bolster on top of the first one.  Stagger it slightly, recline back in the same way.
Bring straight arms overhead, keep shoulder blades in and catch elbows and keep moving lower back to knees.

Here is a photo of using two bolsters.  Bring arms back down to sides.  Rest with palms up, chest expanding and relax the breath.  Keep face, abdomen and throat soft.
To come out, press elbows, then hands into floor.  Come up from the sternum bone, as if a string if helping to bring up back up.  Keep the spine lengthening so do not strain the lower back.  Bring head up last and sit in Virasana for a few breaths.  You can release the legs by either stretching them back one at a time or coming into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Down Dog).

There are many other adjustments, but here is one more.
Using a chair, turned upside down. Place near a wall so it does not slip.
Set up with bolster across to support the length of the second bolster. Sit on a foam block and support head.  Go into and come out of pose as described above.

Benefits: Stretches abdominal organs and pelvic region, rejuvenates tired legs - good for athletes or those who do a lot of standing or walking for many hours and brings flexibility to knees and ankles.  Also brings healing energy to the digestive and urinary system and can help ease certain menstrual problems. Helps relieve tiredness and relaxes the nervous system.

Cautions: If adjustments do not help to release stress in knees or back come out of pose.  Also, do not practice during menstruation if you are bleeding heavily.

Pamela Nelson

September Book Review - MANTRAS: Words of Power

I have chosen this book for September's book review because I have enjoyed reading about a differnt way to calm the mind, not really a differnt way, but a way to enhance my yoga practice. 

The book is laid out in many chapters from What is Mantra? to Mantra Practice, Benefits of Using a Mantra, Mantra and Healing and Mantra and Daily Life to name a few.  She has also included many different mantras along with the music to the chants.  She ends with excerpts from writings from her guru and a question and answer section.

Near the end of August I wrote a few blogs about some of the chapters that you can check out too.

This excerpt is from the back cover:

Mantras: Words of Power is a comprehensive manual for those who seek to understand and experience the ancient spiritual practice of Mantras.  Swami Sivanada Radha deals frankly and honestly with the most controversial aspects of spiritual life - Mantra, initiation, the relationship of guru and disciple, and the role the guru plays in one's spiritual life.  The depth of her insight, based on twenty-five years of personal practice, illuminates these subjects with clarity and wisdom.

Swami Sivanada Radha is the founder and spiritual director of the Yasodhara Ashram, a yoga retreat and study centre located in Kootenay Bay, British Columbia, Canada. She received her training at the Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh, India, and at the request of her guru, Swami Sivanada Saraswati, returned to the West in 1956 to help disseminate the Yogic teachings and practices.

Pamela Nelson