Trained by Jennie Joan Ferrare, Arcana
Sutra 1.2 The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Yogas = Yoga Chitta = of the mind stuff Vritti = Modifications Nirodhah = restraint
“The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga”
The word Yoga means Union, or to Yoke or be joined with the Divine. In this single sutra, Patanjali describes both the practices that lead the way and the experience offered to us of being in a state of Yoga - if we are able to quiet the constant modifications, fluctuations and waves of our active minds.
Just as Reiki is only known in the west as a practice of hands-on healing, missing its other 4 components as a path of spiritual development, Yoga is often only known as Asana - physical postures - which are the 3rd limb in the 8 Limbed Path as described by Patanjali in his text that has become foundational in the modern Yogic world. The only asana described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is to sit in stillness.
Yoga offers us an embodied language of tools for finding transformation, liberation, self-actualization and peace through not only physical postures but ways of living our lives, moving our breath, opening our hearts in vocal prayer and devotion, witnessing our minds and coming into progressive stillness and clarity that open before us in ever-expanding states of freedom and bliss.
This may sound fantastical but Yoga is a systematic process of liberation that is accessible right where we each are in every moment. For every experience, there is a tool within the system of Yoga to guide us. Breath (pranayama), movement (asana), sacred service (seva), coming into still observation (pratyahara), practicing radical gentleness with ourselves and all living beings (ahimsa), cultivating contentment and gratitude (santosha), enduring suffering without perpetuating it, thus allowing it to transform and purify us (tapas), or just cleaning something (saucha). And so many more.
Yoga can guide us gently and lovingly home to our bodies, and give us the tools to live there in peace.
*As a Transgender Yoga Teacher in long-term sobriety, Mea is particularly passionate about offering these tools to the communities they come from, as they have been a path of personal healing and liberation. Mea teaches accessible, all-levels classes that focus on Yoga as a set of tools for navigating life, body and mind, and for coming home to Divine Center. For more information about this work, check out the Projects tab.
Trained by Sagel Urlacher
The term Yoga Nidra translates to “Yogic Sleep”. The practice of Yoga Nidra is done in a state of relaxation, often laying on the back. Through listening to a series of verbal cues offered by the guide, the recipient/practitioner of the session brings their awareness to various aspects of their being, bringing the person into a state of deep and restful consciousness underneath the normal waking state.
In Yoga Nidra, the recipient/practitioner moves through the 5 Koshas ( कोश ) which are translated as “sheaths” of the being, through bringing the awareness to different aspects of these layers. Starting with the physical body (Annamaya Kosha), the practitioner is then moved through their breath body (Pranamaya Kosha), mind body (Manomaya Kosha), knowledge body (Vijnanamaya Kosha) and finally to the bliss body (Anandamaya Kosha), to arrive at a direct experience with their True Nature or Divine Self. (Atman) Working with a Sankalpa (संकल्प ) a steadfast desire/resolve of the heart (“I am healed”, “I consciously embody my True Nature”, “I am enough”, “I am Free”) through the practice of Yoga Nidra a recipient/practitioner is able to carry their sankalpa through the layers of their being (the Koshas) to plant it in deep soil at the center of the self. From this place deep underneath the conscious mind, that desire can become manifest in the world.
Yoga Nidra is a profound practice for relaxation, deep intention work, and the repatterning of the mind. Certain practitioners of Yoga Nidra have used it in work with PTSD and addiction. The quantum potential of the healing power of connecting to the Divine Self through the practice of Yoga Nidra is limitless.