Resources

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Practices for Beginners CD

This audio CD was created for students who want help with their practice at home. Included on the CD are three practices for beginners. Janice leads the listener through the sequences that are 20 minutes long including a sitting meditation to start and a relaxation at the end. The routines are easy to follow.

Here is the link for free access to these audio-only yoga practices:

www.facebook.com/yogaconnectionNH

A 14 minute guided relaxation is now on our Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/yogaconnectionNH

Fall #1 2017

All readings are from Bringing Yoga to Life by Donna Farhi

Week 1
  • “The ancient science of yoga does not pretend to be a simple, quick or easy. What yoga does promise, however, is that through sincere, skillful and consistent practice; anyone can find freedom in the practice. The moment you engage in Yoga practice you will discover that the practice itself is itself the reward. Peace of mind and freedom from fear are as imminent as your focus.”

Week 2
  • “Our first forays into practice may reward us with an immediate experience of peace. Or we may feel anger or grief that we have neglected ourselves for so long. It may seem as if the body is an undifferentiated block of solid substance or we may find that the heart has become hardened and bitter, that our minds may be perpetually scattered. Whether we are just beginning or have practiced for years, a hefty dose of humor and some well-placed self acceptance will go a long way.”

Week 3
  • “While pain may be the catalyst that brings us to Yoga practice, it is joy that renews our commitment. As our glimpses of calm and clarity become more frequent, and as our response to the challenges of life becomes more skillful, we wish to practice not simply to get ourselves out of a fix, but also to strengthen our connection with this base state of contentment.”

Week 4
  • “The yamas and niyamas are listed as the first two of the eight traditional limbs of Ashtanga Yoga practice. Often seen as a list of dos and don’ts or interpreted, as a series of commandments, the yamas and niyamas are actually emphatic declarations of what we are when we are connected to our true nature. The yamas, or ‘outer observances,’ and the niyamas, or ‘inner observances’ are often referred to as the inner and outer restraints. What we restrain, however, is not our inherent badness or wrongness but our inherent tendency to see ourselves as separate. When we feel connected to others, we find that we are naturally compassionate, ahimsa, or ‘not-harming’ is the first yama. The second yama, truthfulness, or satya, is based on the understanding that honest communication and action from the bedrock of any healthy relationship, community, or government.”

Week 5
  • “When we feel generous, we are able to practice the third yama, asteya, or ‘not stealing’. The fourth yama, brachmacharya, or ‘containment of sexual energy,’ tells us to use our sexual energy in a way that makes us feel more intimate not only with our partner, but with all of life. When we feel connected with our divinity, how then can we use another for our own selfish desires or hurt another through our inability to contain our desires? Finally the fifth yama, aparigraha, or ‘non-grasping’, tells us that letting go of all our embroidered images and identities is a sure way to realize the open nature of the mind.”

Week 6
  • “The niyamas act as a code for living soulfully. We live with shaucha, ‘purity’ not because we are Goody Two-shoes, but because it is the surest way to live life at a higher resolution with more clarity and happiness. If we fill our bodies with toxic substances and our minds and emotions with negative thoughts, we really can’t enjoy this life we have. Purifying ourselves allows us to more easily practice the second niyama, contentment or santosha. This contentment arises out of a realization that no matter how sticky and difficult life can be at times, when we stand in our center our inner self remains essentially the same.”

Week 7
  • “To remain centered in this inner self awareness takes discipline and enthusiasm, and thus tapas, or the ‘fire’ or ‘heat’ of spiritual practice, the third yama becomes a way of constantly clearing our slate of the daily residue that can color our perceptions. All of these practices require and encourage ‘self-reflective awareness’ or swadhyaya, the fourth inner observance. The turning of awareness inward reminds us again and again that the inner life we are seeking is as close as our nose. Finally, we can live as an expression of all these attitudes when we celebrate the fact of our aliveness and surrender of life and to God. (ishvarapranidhana).”

Week 8
  • “Our true nature, however, is quite different from and often contradictory to what we call human nature. Patanjali tells us that the failure to recognize our intrinsic goodness is caused by a momentary inability to perceive the silent and omnipresent life living itself through us. Instead our modus operandi consists of identifying with and participating in the transitory movement of thoughts, feelings, memories, fantasies, and sensations and our ideas and judgments, about ourselves and others. This extravaganza of sensations is so compelling and so seemingly real, that we start to believe that this is who we really are. What we are to practice, then, is an active inquiry into the nature of our true being.”

Fall #2 2017

All readings are from 10 Letters to Live By: Alphabet of the Heart by James R Doty MD who wrote the book, Into the Magic Shop

Week 1
  • Compassion: Open your heart and be compassionate to yourself and others.
  • Homework: Each morning when awakening, breath a few breathes of contentment to practice self-compassion.

Week 2
  • Dignity: Recognize the dignity of every human being.
  • Homework: Smile at anyone who comes within 5 feet of you.

Week 3
  • Equanimity: While acknowledging the ups and downs, try to find an even keel.
  • Homework: Practice some yoga either meditation, asana or pranayama for 10 minutes each day to help find the even keel.

Week 4
  • Forgiveness: Give forgiveness to those who have failed you or made you angry.
  • Homework: Think of someone who you have not forgiven and practice forgiveness in your heart each day this week for he or she.

Week 5
  • Gratitude: Keep in the front of your mind gratitude for all that you have.
  • Homework: When brushing your teeth, think of something you are grateful for.

Week 6
  • Humility: Remember that you are no better and no worse than others you encounter.
  • Homework: Spend time listening more than talking.

Week 7
  • Integrity: Value honesty and integrity and use it to guide your actions.
  • Justice: Acknowledge your obligations to those who are most vulnerable.

  • Homework: Admit when you are wrong and give people credit when due. Think of something you can do for someone who could use the help.

Week 8
  • Kindness: Kindness does not require suffering, only the recognition of another’s humanity.
  • Love: And finally Love which contains and binds all.
  • Homework: Let your heart be open to love yourself and give love freely to others.

More Help with Home Practice

The Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York has created excellent level I and Level II sequences for practice at home. Download the sequences here.