Svaroopa®yoga: What is it??
Svaroopa® yoga is a modern adaptation of classic Hatha yoga poses. It is an active expression of the evolutionary nature of yoga practice for the physical body.This yoga counters the stresses of life with simplicity, an inward focus, purposeful intent and slowing down.
A typical class
.. begins with shavasana - yoga's resting pose. This helps the mind and body transition from the external focus of daily life to the internal focus of an inspired yoga practice. The emphasis is on awareness and breath through a guided experience.
shavasana - relaxation pose
Each class focuses on a particular theme (daily practice, hip openers, backbends, etc.) to support the student in their understanding of their body and the poses.Posture sequence is designed to create release along the spine from the tailbone upward, building a foundation of stability.
We use props to support the body where it is tightest and to promote release of tension. This helps to create physical and mental freedom from the subtle layers of tension present in our bodies.At the same time, the student is trained in proper alignment to cultivate openness from the core of the body.This core openness is the source of greater aliveness and vitality from which inner strength and stamina develops.
The experience of Svaroopa® Yoga brings deep calm, a sense of being grounded, greater spinal freedom, all the physical benefits of reduced tension, and BLISS.
The meaning of 'Svaroopa'
The word 'svaroopa' is from the Sanskrit language.It refers to a specific state of consciousness that develops through quieting the mind. This state is described in the ancient yogic texts as bliss and is our true nature.
We are generally too busy to experience this part of ourselves and it is challenging to quiet the mind enough to taste this inherent state of peace.One of the hallmarks of the Svaroopa® yoga practice is to advance the student's direct experience of their own internal bliss.We call the practice 'svaroopa' because we are using the body as a tool to quiet the mind and experience our own true nature: BLISS.
The following statement from yogic philosophy is the basis of this teaching.
Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, 1.3 Tadaa Drastuh Svaroope Vasthanam
"In the moment that your mind becomes quiet, you abide in the bliss of your own being."
Sva = Self, referring to the truth of your purest self within
Roopa = form
Svaroopa = true self that dwells within/the timeless essence that is the foundation of your own being.
In the Svaroopa practice, we are using the body compassionately and purposefully to open to our true Self within.We view the body as a form of consciousness.
How does Svaroopa® yoga differ from other styles?
This style is different in technique and in paradigm from other styles commonly practiced in America today. Svaroopa®yoga is based on 4 primary principles:
1)It all begins at the tailbone.All tension in the body can be reduced/alleviated by releasing tension around the tailbone.We teach poses in a way that reliably reaches the body's most contracted area, the tailbone. Then we sequence the poses to carry this release along the spine.This creates a lasting effect of greater ease throughout the whole body.It also calms the mind and brings emotional stress into balance. When the spine is open we feel alive, clear and strong from the inside.
slow motion dive / Magic Four Pose #1 - stages 1 & 2
2)Support equals Release.We use props (blankets, blocks, chairs) to support the body where it is tightest and provide support.The props help the body find it's truest alignment without force or strain. We help the body experience alignment from the inside out. This creates the ease described in the yoga sutras as: Sthira Sukham Asanam ("The pose is steady and comfortable"). With supported alignment, the deeper tensions release
opening internal space for peripheral tensions to ease as well.The focus is on the release of tension in the muscles - a different effect from stretching the muscle. When tension releases, the muscle lengthens, receives more oxygen and nutrients, and is stronger and more flexible. Stretching peripheral muscles can provide the same effect, but only for a brief period if the deeper layers of muscles are still tight.In Svaroopa® yoga, we focus on the deepest layers of muscles, so that the whole body/mind benefits with each release of tension.
Crook'd leg pose / Magic Four Pose #2 - stages 1 & 2
3)Bones are for Support/Muscles are for Movement.We teach you how to release muscle tension, so that you live more fully in the support of your bones. This is important.Chronic muscle tension can deplete the bones, drain your energy and lead to a variety of health problems.When you learn how to lean weight into your bones, you have more energy, are more grounded, feel better overall and are more fully connected to your true Self within.
Lunge Pose/ Magic Four Pose #3
4)You are consciousness.Yoga teaches that our true nature is bliss and that through the practices of yoga we can experience our bliss and live more consciously as humans.We view the body as a form of consciousness.
Reclining Twist / Magic Four Pose #4
History of Svaroopa® Yoga:
This unique style was developed by Swami Nirmalananda (formerly known as Rama Berch), an American born yogini. As a result of her 20+ years ofpersonal yoga practice and her many years of study with a living master in India, Swami experienced keen awareness of the body and the effect of yoga poses. Her insight, scientific inquiry and devotion to the full range of yogic teachings are the basis for Svaroopa® yoga.Grounded in the ancient texts as well as the practicalities of modern life, Nirmala continues to develop and to inspire students around the world through Svaroopa® yoga. Since 1996, Svaroopa® yoga has been recognized as one of the primary styles of yoga in America. You can learn more about Nirmala by reading her articles on this site and also by visiting her website: www.svaroopavidya.org
ANYBODY can practice Svaroopa® yoga.It is a non-athletic form of practice, and yet is perfect for the person who exercises regularly.Yoga is a holistic system of self-care that is universally available to all sizes, shapes and levels of physical fitness.
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