Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Updated June Schedule

Please see below for updated classes I am teaching in June and end dates for the classes.  I hope you can join me for the last few classes before summer arrives.

Here also is a poster for a workshop I am teaching in Saskatoon this weekend. 
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.
Thank you!

Christopher Lake Spring Session:      

Monday’s -  
May 29th - June 26th

Early A.M. Yoga - Christopher Lake Sportsplex
6:00-7:00 a.m.
Youth Yoga - Christopher Lake School

3:20-4:20 p.m.

Wednesday’s  - Until June 14th (see poster below for special class June 21st)

Beginner/All –Levels Yoga in Christopher Lake
7:15-8:30 p.m.
Special Class June 21st - International Yoga Day - Class by donation
Prince Albert Spring Session

TUESDAY:  Yoga Sublime  
 10:15-11:30am - AM Yoga- Iyengar Level 1/2 - Ends June 27th

 12:00-1:00pm – NOON  Yoga- Iyengar Level 1/2 at the Forest Centre, Central Ave.    class ongoing until June 27th

 5:30-7:00am – Iyengar Yoga -  All Levels - Ends June 13th

7:15-8:15 pm-Iyengar Basic/Level 1 - Ends June 13th

THURSDAY:   Yoga Sublime    

5:30-6:45pm – Gentle/Restorative Yoga - Ends June 15th

SATURDAY: - Yoga Sublime - Ends June 10th
9:00-10:15am A.M. Eye Opener – Level 1/2


Yogasana or Bhogasana? - repost

The word yogasana means a yogic posture.  Yogasanas were discovered by sages to keep us healthy and satisfied by exercising every muscle, nerve and gland in the body. 
Image result for ancient yoga                            Image result for ancient yoga

Asana (postures) bring great vitality, health and lightness; helping to produce mental equilibrium and steadiness of mind.  When we do not use the asanas as a bridge to unite the body with the mind and the mind with the soul then we are merely doing bhogasanas, or asanas of pleasure.

B.K.S. Iyengar says in Light on Pranayama, 
"The external world lures us towards its pleasures, creating desires. The inevitable non-fulfilment of desires in turn creates pain, which suffocates the inner being." 

These afflictions or sufferings (klesas) are said to have five causes: ignorance, pride, attachment, aversion and fear of death. 

Therefore, we need determination to practice the asanas correctly to free ourselves from the afflictions of physical disabilities and mental distractions.

Pamela Nelson

Resources used: Light on Pranayama and Light on Yoga, by B.K.S. Iyengar and Yoga Rahasya vol.17 No.3, 2010.
Any mistakes in presenting this are my own.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Wisdom from B.K.S. Iyengar

Image result for bks iyengar china india summit

I was taking time today to re-read some of Mr. Iyengar's wise words and hopefully absorb any amount into my intelligence.  Even though I have read similar articles by Mr. Iyengar I felt drawn to write on this article today because some days are harder not to get drawn out by the external world.  It can be hard to move inward with so much going on externally.  Taking time to sit, breath and try to slowly read and absorb, even a few paragraphs at a time helps me to re-focus and move inward - at least a little bit.  The below quotes are from Yoga Rahasya, vol.18, no. 3, 2011.

Mr. Iyengar said in his speech during the China - India Yoga Summit, "The beauty of yoga is that it covers art, it covers science and it covers philosophy and all three aspects are completely free from any demarcations.  They are infinite.  Yoga uses the body as an agent to culture the mind so that the body and mind becomes the agent to culture the intelligence and when the intelligence is cultured then intelligence is one with the wisdom of the self ."

Mr. Iyengar explains how Patanjali presented yoga to cover the art of living, how to culture the self through the five sheaths of the body and through perception.  "Yoga acts like a science, like an investigating instrument to research from the skin to the self from the self to the skin and then takes one towards the spiritual health."

Mr. Iyengar said, "The mind is attracted by the senses towards the objects of the world and when the same mind takes a U turn it moves towards the Self."

How do we help the mind make this U-turn?

Mr. Iyengar gives us help by saying, "Our practice diverts the movements of the mind, which come in contact with the external world though the senses towards the internal world, the intelligence and the consciousness."

By practicing the 8 limbs of yoga written down by Patanjali we will penetrate inward to uncover a vibrant body and mind.

To end, "The integration of the physical body, with the physiological body, integration of these two  with the mental body and the intellectual body and all these four are agents of the self become one with the self.  That is what yoga is meant for and that is why we practice yoga.

Namaste and much gratitude to Guruji and the Iyengar family and teachers.
Pamela Nelson


Saturday, May 13, 2017

International Yoga Day - June 21st

June 21st is not only a day to celebrate Summer Solstice (longest day of the year) and National Aboriginal Day in Canada, but it also International Yoga Day.

On December 11, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21st as the International Day of Yoga. The declaration came after the call for the adoption of June 21st as International Day of Yoga by Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi during his address to UN General Assembly wherein he stated:

"Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition.

 It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action;

restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature;

a holistic approach to health and well-being.

It is not about exercise but to discover the sense

of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. "


B.K.S. Iyengar had made such a suggestion in a speech in 2011 or 2012 and Geeta S. Iyengar has encouraged Iyengar yoga practitioners around the world to participate in IDY and to honour B.K.S Iyengar's teachings on this day.

So, to honor B.K.S Iyengar and his contribution to the yoga community, I am hosting a yoga class on June 21st at the Christopher Lake Nature Area - Circle of Life.

This class will also celebrate the summer solstice and the longest day!  - expect to maybe do a few sun salutations :)

This class is open to everyone and is by donation. Proceeds will go to help support youth yoga programs in schools and communities. 

Please pre-register! Class will be cancelled if storming.

Pamela Nelson
Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Yoga: A Gem for Women - Dhyana (meditation)

Yoga: A Gem for Women - Dhyana (meditation)
Image result for geeta iyengar
The last chapter is on Dhyana, or meditation.  Geeta reminds us that she has written in Chapter III on what dhyana is and really the experience is beyond description and needs to be experienced personally.  What she does describe though is the technique for sitting properly and optimally to help the practitioner prepare best to lead into meditation.
Geeta writes how the body is often seen as insignificant in meditation, but that this is an erroneous view.  "Our body is our vahana - our vehicle.  Without this vehicle we cannot experience anything.  It is our body that carries us to our destruction or to Self-realization."
"A sound and healthy body is thus the very first stage in meditation."
Geeta suggests beginning with 5-10 minutes of meditation a day before pranayama.
The spine needs to be kept alert and straight with the head aligned so to feel weightless.  The chapter gives many more helpful suggestions for coming to a meditative brain, where the senses are disciplined and the mind stable.
I hope you can find 5-10 minutes each day to sit and find a stillness and stability in body, breath and mind.
As Geeta ends her book:
Om Shanti, shanti, shanti  - Here is a link to chanting of mantra.  It also gives a bit more into the meaning of mantra.
It has been great to work though this book.  I will now need to go back to the beginning and start again!  Much gratitude to you Geeta Iyengar.
Pamela Nelson
Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor

Monday, May 8, 2017

Yoga a Gem for Women: Hints and Suggestions for the Practice of Pranayama

Yoga a Gem for Women: Hints and Suggestions for the Practice of Pranayama
Image result for geeta iyengar pranayama
Geeta Iyengar gives about 64 hints and suggestions for the practice of Pranayama.  They range from some beginning tips to more detailed instructions on the eyes, nose, tongue, mouth, etc.  Even though I have read this book and this chapter many times, I still have much to learn. 
Geeta explains how, as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika says, that pranayama should only be practice after asana has been perfected.  By practicing pranayama systematically and regularly one begins to notice the subtleties and bring the knowledge into your own body.
Geeta outlines information on personal hygiene, food, time to practice and where to practice.
In terms of asana, she writes that siddhasana, virasana or padmasana can be chosen, but should be a posture that gives physical steadiness and mental tranquillity, where the spine remains well stretched and concave and the body is kept erect.
In terms of menstruation, pregnancy, after delivery and menopause Geeta writes:
Menstruation: if tired Ujjayi I and Viloma I & II help remove fatigue
Pregnancy: Ujjayi I and Viloma I & II can help relax and remove tension - but others can be practiced.  She writes to see her chapter on pregnancy in the book.
After Delivery: One should start with Ujjayi I and Viloma I & II for first three months.
Menopause: Practice Ujjayi I & II, Viloma I & II and Surya Gendana to sooth the nerves and calm the mind.
With correct practice Geeta writes that the, "brain experiences coolness after Pranayama. The mind becomes calm and exhilarated.  The body feels light, the nerves are calm and without tremors."
The next chapter gives the techniques and effects of the pranayama listed above.
First on the list is learning the correct inhalation and exhalation as many people are faulty in their breathing. 
Here are a few videos of B.K.S. Iyengar taking about pranayama:
I hope you will spend some time today (even 5-10 minutes) sitting with awareness on the breath and feel a sense of calmness and peacefulness within.
Pamela Nelson

Monday, May 1, 2017

Yoga: A Gem for Women - Part Three

Yoga: A Gem for Women - Part Three
Since I'm not much of a selfie taker and am having a bit of trouble coordinating with my photographers I thought I'd move on in Geeta's book and circle back in the near future to some photos of the asanas using directions given from Geeta in A Gem for Women. 
Until then, the next section after the asana - where information is given also for pregnancy and advanced postures - is Part Three - Experience.
Geeta entitles the first chapter in this section "On the Threshold of Peace".  Details are given regarding Maha Mudra, Sanmuki Mudra and Savasana.  Geeta writes how these three practices help prepare for pranayama.  When the sadhaka learns to relax, gain mastery over elementary bandhas and control the sense organs.
Geeta explains that savasana is the "common denominator for both asana and pranayama.  In savasana one achieves relaxation of the body, quiet respiration, tranquillity of the nervous system, mental poise, and peace of mind.  All these are essential to pranayama and dhyana."
Another great chapter to read and re-read.
Image result for geeta iyengar
Maha Mudra - means Great Seal or Lock
It is the act of sealing the main apertures of the body while keeping the spine lifted.  The three bandhas - Jalandhara, uddiyana and mula are achieved to some extent. Geeta explains how bandha means bound and explains the purpose and meaning of the three bandhas and how this pose helps in pranayama. 
Image result for geeta iyengar - sanmuki mudra
Sanmuki Mudra - where the seal is to the sense organs so yogi can look within.  Geeta gives many tips in her technique section regarding closing off the eyes and ears and explains how this mudra calms the brain and the nervous system and is excellent for removing irritation, tension, loss of temper and brain fatigue.
 Image result for geeta iyengar - savasana
Savasana - is the conscious relaxation of the body and the mind and removes tension and invigorates the body and mind.  Geeta writes how this asana appears simple, yet is very difficult to master.  She gives over 21 points in the techniques for savasana, with many having sub-points too!
The effects of a proper savasana is hard to explain and definitely needs to be experienced.
Sanmuki mudra and savasana are recommended poses to practice before bed.  Geeta writes they are "ideal for a sound sleep." :)
Image result for geeta iyengar - savasana
Pamela Nelson