Sunday, February 26, 2017

Yoga: A Gem for Women - The Nature of Health

Yoga: A Gem for Women - The Nature of Health
Chapter Five Geeta writes about the Nature of Health, with information about the Importance of Health, Definition of Health, and How Health is Achieved. 
She also writes about the Nature of Disease and the Health According to Yoga.

Geeta says that, "No amount of wealth can equal health."  Which I'm sure most of us have heard in some form or another.  I know from travelling a bit over the years that some of the most content people, people who seemed to enjoy life were not those that necessarily had a lot of money.

Geeta gives quotes from the Upanisads and the Caraka Samhita, which says that to attain the four objectives of human existence (dharma, artha, kama and moksa), good health is needed.  This is a peaceful state in both body and mind.

When Geeta defines health she writes, "Life without happiness is mere existence."  Meaning that good health is not just physical, but physiological and psychological.  This comes from discipline of the mind through careful practice of asana and pranayama.  It cannot, as Geeta says, "be brought or bartered."

The aim of yoga, we are told is to restrain both physical disturbances and mental modifications to achieve one's goal.

Geeta writes, the "practice of Yoga brings not only physical health, but also mental health.  Its teaches one how to conquer obstacles so that one can live peacefully and in perfect happiness to achieve the goal of life - Self-realization."

Take stock of your health today- mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Give thanks for the good you have and know you can continue to work on the other areas with the support of your yoga practice.

Pamela Nelson

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

REminder - no classes this week and March Updates



Reminder - No Classes Feb. 18-25th

Classes resume February 27th

I hope you all have a wonderful week. I have taken the February break off to spend with my family.  Hope to see you back at class the week after.
Since I'm sending out an email I thought I would add the updates for March.

There is a new class - Exploring the Elements for 5 Thursday's in March.
Each week we will explore a new element with the use of the help of the chair.

The Tuesday 5:30-7:00p.m. class will now be an All Levels class.
This class is open to those who have taken the Basic/Beginner level class or have some yoga experience.

March 14th I am teaching a FREE class - Intro. to Iyengar Yoga.  Please share and pre-register.

I will also be teaching at two workshops.
March 4th - 1:30-4:30 in Saskatoon at JNS Yoga Studio

March 25&26 - Indigo Yoga Retreat - Waskesiu Lake - I am happy to be asked to teach a few sessions for this wonderful retreat weekend.

For my schedule and more information please check out my website. or email me at
This site has class info., when there is no classes and also much more blog posts and even yoga poses and sequences.

Thank you!
Pam Nelson
March Classes

Tuesday's - Yoga Sublime

10:15-11:30a.m. - A.M. Level 1/2
12:00-1:00p.m. - Noon Yoga - at Forest Centre
5:30-7:00p.m. - All Levels
7:15-8:15 p.m. -Basic/Beginner - Free class March 14th
Wednesday's - Christopher Lake
7:00-8:15 p.m. -All Levels
March 4th - 1:30-4:30p.m. - JNS Yoga Studio, Saskatoon - Light on Life: Think Light and Feel Light

March 25&26 - Indigo Yoga Retreat -

Thursday's - Yoga Sublime

1:30-2:30p.m. - Senior/Modified
5:30-6:45p.m. - Gentle/Restorative
7:15-8:30p.m. - Exploring the Elements (5 weeks)
Saturday's - Yoga Sublime
9:00-10:15a.m. - A.M. Eye Opener
Upcoming in April :
Thursday 7:15-8:15 p.m. - Senior/Modified
April 22nd - Celebrate Earth Day- 11a.m.-1p.m.

Upcoming in May:
Watch for more information on Mother's Day Retreat!
Also the return of Thursday morning classes
The benefits of yoga can only be experienced through the practice of yoga. B.K.S.Iyengar


Monday, February 20, 2017

Yoga: A Gem for Women - Are Women Eligible for Yoga?

Image result for geeta yoga

Yoga: A Gem for Women - Are Women Eligible for Yoga?
In chapter 4, Geeta answers the question about women being eligible for yoga. 
In today's world it does seem like an odd question to ask as yoga classes seems to be very female dominated.
Years ago though there was a time when  yoga was practiced more by men and the doors to "the study of philosophy, science, arts and yoga were shut to her."
Geeta does write that yoga is beneficial to both men and women, but that women "need yoga even more than men as the responsibilities thrust upon them by Nature are greater than men's"
Geeta gives many references dating back to the Vedas where women practiced yoga and women were held in high esteem.
It was during the time when India was invaded that women suffered and yoga was no longer readily available to them.
The status of women has greatly improved and Geeta says that the "path of yoga is open to all, irrespective of race, caste, creed, and sex.  Anyone can attain liberation through Yoga."
This chapter, specific to women though addresses the four stages of a women's life.  Childhood, adolescence, middle age and old age.  Each stage has changes that occur within that affect the physical and physiological organs as well as a woman's mind.  During each stage a woman has to also perform many roles - daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend - giving her best in each role and to play her part in society with added stress of outside occupations.
Geeta explains very well the joys, but also the overwhelming burden each stage can create for a woman with the many duties that nature thrusts on her.  Yoga here helps to stabilize the physical and mental states and "face the world and its dualities with equanimity" and "without expecting any fruits or rewards."
Today, being Family Day where I live, celebrate the great wonders and joy of your family.  Gratitude for mother's, father's, sister's, brother's, husband's, wives', etc. 
Take a few moments to sit, relax with the breath, think about the many great benefits you receive from your family.  Also, give yourself a few moments and reflect on all you do - do so with gratitude for being able to be there for your family.  Giving yourself some time on the mat with help you to be more centred and available for those around you.  It is not selfish to know you need your practice as it benefits all.
Happy Family Day!
Pamela Nelson

Friday, February 17, 2017

Yoga: A Gem for Women - Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi

Image result for geeta iyengar

Yoga: A Gem for Women - Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi
Withdrawing the senses inward (pratyahara) leads...with great restraint and practice to the last three limbs of Patanjali's astanga yoga. 
That is:
Dharana - Concentration - where the senses are focused on the Individual Soul. 
Dhyana - Meditation - is when, as Geeta writes, "the sadhaka sustains and maintains the focus of attention throughout concentration, unbounded by time and space."  At this time, "the body, the breath, the mind, the intellect, and the ego, all lose their individual existence and merge into one single state of Being."
"The merging of the Individual Soul with the Universal Soul is meditation."
Geeta writes about Saguna and Nirguna meditation. The first is meditation done with support by concentration on a deity and Nirguna is without support.
Samadhi - Self-Realization - This final stage, like the others needs to be experienced to truly know its meaning.  Geeta writes and explains this as when the identity of the sadhaka becomes both externally and internally immersed in meditation. 
This Chapter on "The Path of Yoga" contains much wisdom and is worth reading and re-reading.
It brings more awareness to the limbs of yoga from the beginning with the outer pursuits, to move inward to the internal pursuits and ultimately the innermost pursuits.
Pamela Nelson

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Yoga: A Gem for Women - Pratyahara

Image result for geeta iyengar
Yoga: A Gem for Women - Pratyahara

Pratyahara is the disciplining of the senses.  Geeta describes it as the "five organs of sense come in contact with the external world at the instance of the mind."

The sense organs are easily drawn into the outer world and need to be "restrained and directed inward towards the Source of all existence."

Geeta lays out the process of acquiring Self -knowledge or cognition as follows: Object, sense organ, mind, and soul. When combined form KNOWLEDGE.  If this combination is disturbed an interruption is created.

I like how Geeta differentiates between absentmindedness and drawing inward.  Sometimes our eyes are open, we see, but don't see. This is absentmindedness.

Pratyahara is when "the mind is purposefully withdrawn from the sense organs so that they lose contact with the sense objects."  - or the outer world. The "citta is brought under control as are the organs of sense."

Take some time today to sit or lie down.  At the beginning notice the sounds, smells, feel of the air around you and earth below you.  Then begin to focus on the breath.  The feel of the breath moving in and out.  Without trying to change the breath, just follow it.  As the body relaxes you may feel a movement of senses inward. You can feel and experience a state of peacefulness within where the outer world is not drawing you towards it.

Pamela Nelson

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

UPcoming workshop - JNS Yoga Studio - Saskatoon, Sk.

On March 4th I will be in Saskatoon.
Workshop is 1:30-4:30.  Please contact JNS Yoga Studio to register. 
You can also register online by following the link below to the website. 
There is a paypal button also for ease of registration.
Please pass on to anyone in the area that might be interested.
JNS Yoga Studio is a wonderful space to explore the benefits of yoga.
Thank you!

Pamela Nelson

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Life without tapas, is like a heart without love

Image result for tapas in yoga

"Life without tapas, is like a heart without love."
-B.K.S. Iyengar
Tapas is often considered to be spiritual discipline.  If we just do the yoga asana (poses) repetitively without any feeling that is all they will be.  When we do with a burning zeal and purity from and with the heart then we will feel love.
 Image result for heart
Pamela Nelson

Monday, February 13, 2017

Make the Heart Light

Image result for asana from the heart

"Asana done from the brain makes one heavy and done from the heart makes one light."
-B.K.S. Iyengar
 Image result for heart
Pamela Nelson

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Yoga from the Heart

Image result for yoga from the heart

"You must do the asana with your soul.  How can you do an asana with your soul?  We can only do it with the organ of the body that is closest to the soul - the heart.  So a virtuous asana is done from the heart and not from the head.  Then you are not just doing it, but you are in it.  Many people try to think their way into an asana, but you must instead feel your way into it through love and devotion."

 -B.K.S. Iyengar
Mr. Iyengar often makes a connection of the body to the heart.  He says in Light on Life that, "Ninety-nine percent of all human communication is emotional, not intellectual." 
So, as Valentine's Day is nearing I thought I would share some of B.K.S. Iyengar's well- known quotes regarding this connection.
Try doing a few asana, first in a more physical way.  Then repeat and allow the breath to lead the asana and permeate to each cell.  Repeat once more keeping the whole body connection and feel how the heart can guide the pose, feeling a more spiritual connection to yourself and the world around you.
Pamela Nelson

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Yoga: A Gem for Women - Pranayama

Image result for geeta iyengar pranayama

Yoga: A Gem for Women - Pranayama - Breath Control
Geeta writes that the end product of pranayama is mental calm and tranquility of the nervous system.
I like how she puts the body and mind become "tolerant".
Geeta writes that according to Patanjali the "Practice of breath control leads to a pure mind.  It dissolves the covering that hides the effulgence within.  Such a mind is fit for concentration."  sutra 11.52, 53
Pranayama is the lengthening of the inhalation and exhalation and the pause between is breath control.  According to the sutras this is to come after gaining mastery of the asana. At this time the breath becomes deeper, more subtle and rhythmic.
Geeta writes about the three important functions of  breath control.  They are the exhalation, inhalation and the retention either at the top of the in-breath or at the bottom of the out-breath.
Recaka is exhalation, puraka is inhalation and kumbhaka is retention. 
Geeta says that the word Kumbha means a vessel. 
It is an important section to read more fully than I can describe here as pranayama brings the Individual Self in contact with the Universal Self.
If you have been practicing pranayama on your own set aside 10-15 minutes to sit and quietly come to even breaths.  As the body and mind relaxes feel the breath moving in and out and how over time you begin to feel one with all that is around you.
Pamela Nelson

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Yoga: A Gem for Women - Asana

Image result for geeta Iyengar

Yoga: A Gem for Women - Asana
Next in the 8 facets is asana, which Geeta says are a distinguishing feature of Yoga.  Asana, she says takes one from the physical plane to the spiritual plane and is the beginning foundation in the Science of Yoga (Yoga Vidya).

In the yoga sutras of Patanjali there is only a few lines that are written about asana.  Geeta writes that it is often thought that Patanjali's yoga does not deal with the physical but the spiritual. While the Hatha Yoga Pradipika deals only with the physical aspects of yoga. 
Geeta writes that "both of these views are erroneous interpretations of the Yoga Philosophy."
Both texts she writes say that one has to start with the physical and then proceed step-by-step to the spiritual as asana means holding the body in a particular posture with the bhavana or the thought that God is within.

Geeta writes how, "The body and mind are interwoven and interdependent. If there is any disturbance in the body the mind is disturbed and vice versa. In Yoga the body and the mind are cultivated by a steady process of asana practice to prevent any impediment in their functioning.  This practice gives health, poise, mobility, and immunity from disease."

I hope through your practice you find this balance of body, breath and mind.

Pamela Nelson


Monday, February 6, 2017

Quote by Geeta - Violence is lack of love.


I found this gem of a quote on Facebook yesterday. The artwork is by Yoga Jivana from Melbourne, Australia.  Their website is if you want to check them out.
I thought fitting as we delve into Geeta's book, Yoga: A Gem for Women.

"Violence is lack of love. Without enmity, no act of violence can occur. Only love can unite society and make it cohesive.
A yogi has no hatred in the heart, but only love for all."

-Geeta Iyengar

Sunday, February 5, 2017

"Loving and Leaving the Good Life"


I was given a wonderful book for my first Mother's Day in 1998.  It is called Simple Abundace: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  The book gives a daily entry with thoughtful words on living more authentically .  I have read it off and on for the past 19 years. Sometimes daily, sometimes not for months.  But, whenever I do pick it up to read I find a gem of wisdom or a reminder of how to be more present and enjoy the day I am experiencing.

Today - I didn't read February 5th, but was drawn to read July 6th which Sarah called "The Good Life".
She writes about Scott and Helen Nearing, who during the great-depression decided to go live a completely self-sufficient lifestyle.
Below are some of Helen's recommendations for living less stressfully- written in her memoir, Loving and Leaving the Good Life.

- Do the best you can, whatever arises.
- Be at peace with yourself.
- Find a job you enjoy.
- Live in simple conditions; housing, food, clothing.  Get rid of clutter.
- Contact nature every day; feel the earth under your feet.
- Take physical exercise through hard work; through gardening or walking.
- Don't worry; live one day at a time.
- Share something everyday with someone else; if you live alone, write someone; give something away; help someone else somehow.
- Take time to wonder at life and the world; see some humor in life where you can.
- Observe the one life in all things.
- Be kind to all creatures.

I wish you a good life!
Pamela Nelson

Friday, February 3, 2017

Yoga: A Gem for Women - The Second Facet

Image result for geeta iyengar
Yoga: A Gem for Women - The Second Facet - Niyama
The second facet Geeta writes about is the Niyamas which are the individual disciplines.  
They are the rules of conduct towards oneself - both physically and mentally.
As Geeta writes, Patanjali has given in Sutra II.32 the five niyamas as sauca, santosa, tapas, svadhaya and isvara pranidhana.
That is:
Sauca- cleanliness - inner and outer cleanliness.  Cleanliness of the sense organs and personal hygiene.
Santosa- contentment- Geeta writes is a state if mind that is essential for the wellbeing and development of the body and mind. She writes that discontent leads to greed and envy, while contentment gives a poised mind resulting in pure happiness. 

Tapas- austerity- which Geeta explains is the conquest of all desires by practicing purity in thought, speech and action.
Isvara Pranidhana - devotion or surrender to god - to perform all actions as an offering to god is pure devotion and one becomes devoid of desires.
Additional to the five individual disciplines Pantanjali gives us, Geeta also adds from the Hathayoga Pradipika and Yogopanidsads. 

They are:
Astikya - belief, danam - charity, siddhanta vakya sravanam - listening to established doctrines, Hri- modesty, Mati - intellectual faith, Japa- recitation of mantras and Vrata - religious observances

Geeta explains that the steps above, the rules of conduct are not unique to yoga but applicable to all.
She says the following steps though are found only in yoga. 

So, from here we will explore more the steps of yoga.  Asana, or the postures will be the next blog. 

As you did with the Yamas, try also with the Niyamas to spend time exploring the Niyamas. 

Pamela Nelson
PLN Yoga
"Helping Unite Body, Breath and Mind"

Pamela Louise Nelson 
Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor

Blog: www.plnyoga.blogspot.comclass information and more