Teaching

"God sleeps in the rocks, breathes in the flowers, moves in the animals and awakens in man." Vedas

My teaching

Our biggest limitations are the ones we always encounter first, mentally, emotionally or physically. We welcome them and focus our work on them. New research has shown that this was also the purpose of the moving positions that we today call Asana, but which were sometimes also called Karanas or Mudras.

My teaching goes from easier to deeper opening and strengthening. The focus is on how Asana opens and strengthens the body, emotional life and mental life as well as life energy, and not on external form.

I attach great importance to working with full yogic breathing together with Asana.  I work with the breath as a way to start listening to and following the rhythm of life. These are tantric techniques.

Kundalini Yoga is traditionally the name of exercises to reach Yoga by activating Kundalini, from the Tantric tradition. As Hatha Yoga is a tantric form of Yoga, there are some Kundalini Yoga exercises within Hatha Yoga. In Tantra in general, there are even more such exercises. My teachers in Tantra are Sally Kempton f.d. Swami Durgananda in the Siddha Yoga lineage, linked to the Kashmir Shaivaism, and Uma Inder, trained in the Laya Yoga tradition.

In Tantra, a very important part of the yoga practice was to activate Kundalini, which was the total potential of energy in the body.

Asana was performed as a way to release previous impressions (coexist) in the body, such as memories, emotions and mental attitudes stored in the body to release bound energy in the body.

Likewise, Pranayama was a way of releasing energy locked in the body.

Mudra and Bandha were ways to gather and direct the energy in the body. Hand dredging and head dredging were inner and outer gestures of devotion and focus.

Visualization and the following of the energy in the body were also important parts in activating Kundalini.

Meditation makes the inner voice possible to hear. This should not be confused with what people often call intuition, which can be anything from emotion-based to unconscious thoughts. The process of being able to begin to separate this voice from unconscious thoughts and feelings can be long. The Paramahamsan (the great white swan) is a symbol in Yoga for this.

Mantra is also an important part of this process. The Tantrics believed that the Mantra helped to move from the spoken word, to the imagined word to the wordless unconscious, of things that affected us but that we do not remember, to the intuitive.

All these parts are central parts of my teaching!

I am often asked what yoga style I teach. The answer to this is that in the traditional way, as I was asked by my first teachers at Kaivalyadhama, I teach what I myself practice / practice.

Kaivalyadhama recommends that you traditionally develop your own teaching method over the years, with increasing personal experience from your teaching, studies and your own daily practice. This combined with further studies of the ancient yoga scriptures under guidance. I have taught for almost 14 years and practiced daily for almost 15 years, and from that a very own teaching has developed, and continues to develop.

I also take advantage of new research in Yoga that can give us more information about things that have been lost or distorted during Yoga's development. We are in a very exciting time when new research regarding a 1000-year gap in the history of Yoga has begun to fill, namely the Tantric period. For more information, see the blog post from "New light on Surya Namaskar" and onwards. For studies regarding new research in the field of Tantra and Hatha Yoga, I have studied under the religious scholars and Sanskrit critics Christopher Wallis and Christopher Tompkins.

The different parts of yoga

Kaivalyadhama teaches and encourages its students to teach Yoga as a whole. This is the way I teach Yoga.

Patanjali Yoga Sutras is the text that systematized Yoga. It was written about 200 BC-200 AD.

Patanjali divides Yoga into 8 (ashta) limbs / angas. Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi. This 8-member Yoga is sometimes called Raja Yoga.

Hatha Yoga is to be taught as prescribed in the Hatha (Yoga) Pradipika as part of Raja Yoga (Patanjali Yoga).

Hatha Yoga includes: Asana body positions, Pranayama breathing exercises, Shatkarma cleansing exercises, Bandha body locks and Mudra Positions to conduct energy in the body such as Viparitha Karani and Maha Mudra.

These are classically taught as a step within / towards Raja Yoga, which means that Hatha Yoga is not practiced with the main goal of achieving physical health or beauty, but as a preparation to be able to turn inward.

Raja Yoga contains (also): Prayahara-pulling the senses inward, Dharana-concentration, Dhyana-extended concentration and Samadhi- spontaneously altered state of consciousness, super-consciousness.

A traditional part of Yoga is the Mantra, which is an important part of the teaching. Mantra is considered to have a potent ability to evoke what is said. Read more below!

An important part of Tantric Yoga is activating Kundalini.

Yoga is a mystical tradition like Sufism, Kabbalah, Christian mysticism or Taoism m.m. They are methods for reaching contact with the extreme, whatever this is. The old texts and the oral tradition that is passed on from teacher and student offer a map of what others who have made this journey over millennia in the case of Yoga, have experienced. It is written down already from the earliest Vedic scriptures. Then it is each traveler's own thing to embark on the journey and experience. The experiences that are made are in line with tradition, e.g. through consultation with their teachers. What is taught must therefore be based on one's own experience. If it is not experienced, it should not be taught, as it is only based on an intellectual understanding. The teacher of course incorporates Yoga's approach throughout his life, as this journey requires it.

Yama

Achieving and maintaining cleanliness and humility physically and mentally is what Yamas is all about. This is done through cleanliness; inner and outer (pure food, washing), cleansing exercises, contentment, self-study and submission to the ultimate reality.

Niyama

Ahimsa is the Niyaman on which the other Niyamas are based. Not to harm others through speech, sexuality, greed or theft. This applies both in action, word or thought.

Asana

Asana can be said to be about making the connection with the earth perfect. This means balancing the elements in the body, as well as ensuring that the life force can flow freely through it.

How did Asana originate? They are said to have arisen during meditation as spontaneous kriyas. i.e. spontaneous movements of the body to facilitate the flow of energy in the body. New research has given us a lot of new knowledge about this, which has previously been lost. See newsletter / blog to read more about this!

Early Ayurvedic texts describe Asana leading prana.

The body is considered to need to be strengthened and cleansed to be able to release and handle the higher frequency that the kundalini energy is.

The Hatha Yoga scriptures state that Asana can direct energy upwards, arouse kundalini and cure diseases. Modern research has shown that Asana affects the nervous system, heart and blood circulation, digestive system, hormonal system, and internal organs.

"Stira sukham asanam" alert and relaxed, Asana should be. This can be interpreted as Asana being the perfect balance between Ida and Pingala, and the way to correct Asana is to balance these. Therefore, much of my Asana teaching focuses on this. To balance Ida and Pingala; the active and the receptive energy. I do it i.a. by focusing on one side of the body at a time.

It is said that a tree can only grow as high as the roots go down. My way of taking my students into Asana is inspired by modern and classical dance technique. In addition to lengthening the body in two directions while lying in the nature of the asana shape, I work with proper activation by lengthening the muscles when stretching the muscles. This is a dance technique that has the advantage of building both strength and flexibility at the same time while the body cooperates as a whole and unites the body into one unit. The active extension of the muscle also means that you mentally open up and cooperate with the body.

Our biggest limitations are the ones we always encounter first, mentally, emotionally or physically. We welcome them and focus our work on them. New research has shown that this was also the purpose of the moving positions that we today call Asana, but which were sometimes also called Karanas or Mudras.

My teaching goes from easier to deeper opening and strengthening. The focus is on how Asana opens and strengthens the body, emotional life and mental life as well as life energy, and not on external form.

Like emotions, mental attitudes are represented in the body. To stand on
themselves or bow before. To stubbornly maintain that you know best and / or lock the heart from the front or back, or submit to a greater will, and trust it. To have your head sometimes in the clouds and look for the truth beyond, or sink deeper into the truth.

Pranayama

Prana means; "that which is present everywhere" or "that which is in constant motion". True health is the unimpeded flow of prana in the body (Yagnavalka Smrti).

What is Pranayama? Pran-vital energy, ayam- stretch, pause or check.

The scriptures say that Pranayama is the tool to purify the energy channels and thereby open them, maximize the intake of prana through the air, to awaken kundalini and to balance Ida and Pingala. Yogis noticed that breathing through the left nostril cooled the body and through the right warmed the body and that breathing through the various nostrils affected the metabolism. They also noticed that breathing and the mind influenced each other e.g. that breathing ceased at strong concentration, that calm gave a deep and long breath.  One of my teachers O.P Tiwari (Tiwariji) is one of the world leaders in Pranayama.

I place great emphasis in my teaching on Full Yogic Breathing which is the foundation of all Pranayama. My experience is that it helps to clean the energy channels during Asana. I also work with the breath as a way to start listening to and following the rhythm of life, a tantric technique.

Bandha

Bandhas are described in the Hatha yogic texts.

There are three Bandhas: Mulabandha, Uddiana bandha and Jaladhara bandha.

Bandhas are there to open three granthi; knots: Bhrama granthi, mooladhara chakra; attachment to sensual pleasures. Vishnu granthi, anahatha chakra; attachment to emotional security. Rudra granthi, anja chakra; binding to siddhis (supernatural abilities).

I work with natural ways to find Bandhas through Asana and Full Yogic Breathing.

Mudra

Mudras is described as follows in the Hatha yogic texts.

The combination of Pranayama, Asana and Bandha is called Mudra.

Their purpose is to bring prana to the highest chakras.

All inverted Asanas are Mudras if they are done with the application of Pranayama and Bandhas.

New research has shown that Mudras was sometimes the name of what we today call Asana (moving positions). Mudras referred to the conduction of energy (Shakti) through the body through various body movements.

Within Tantra there were also hand-mudras (Hasta Mudra) and main mudra (Mana Mudra).

Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi

Pratyahara; introspection of the senses and Dharana; concentration together form the conditions for Dhyana; meditation which is a natural state which arises of itself.

Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi call together Samayama. Dharana along with Dhyana leads to Samadhi. Dharana is the ability to direct the mind towards an object. When the direction is fixed, this forms a bond to the object where the mental energy is completely directed towards the object. The continuity of mental will to understand is Dhyana; meditation.After a while, this leads to a new and deeper knowledge of the object- Samadhi. Tantra perceived this as a fusion with the object. One realizes that the subject, the object and the process of understanding, are one. This was called Samyoga.

Meditation makes the inner voice possible to hear. This should not be confused with what people often call intuition, which can be anything from emotion-based to unconscious thoughts. The process of being able to begin to separate this voice from unconscious thoughts and feelings can be long. The Paramahamsan (the great white swan) is a symbol in Yoga for this.

Mantra is also an important part of this process. The Tantrics believed that the Mantra helped to move from the spoken word, to the imagined word to the wordless unconscious, of things that affected us but that we do not remember, to the intuitive. 

Mantra

Mantras are hymns. They are written down in the Vedic scriptures already from Rg Veda. They were written down by Rishis (those who "see" beyond). The sounds create vibrations that affect us.

The most powerful mantras are according to the Tantra bija (seed) mantras.

All mantras are said to have been born from the original sound Aum.

Aum

Many people chant Aum in their yoga classes today, but why? That sound is said to vibrate in everything that lives and has created everything. Yoga is said to be able to take us back in rhythm with life to increasingly subtle levels of experience all the way to experiencing everything like this vibration.

This vibrating sound occurs by itself after a certain period of Yoga practice, and the following of this sound is called Nada Yoga.

The sun salutation

What is written below has been all we have known about the sun salutation until today. New research has put an end to this in total. Read more under the blog post "New light on Surya Namaskar" and the following posts on the same theme.

Sun salutations are a bowing to the sun as a source of vitality. Traditionally, it was performed at dawn when the sun came up over the horizon and showered the earth with prana (life force).  Various forms of sun salutations have been performed since Vedic times in India.

The sun salutation as we know it is considered by most religious scholars to have been created by Raja of Aund in 1920s India. New research has shown this to be incorrect.

Kundalini

In Tantra, a very important part of the yoga practice was to activate Kundalini, which was the total potential of energy in the body.

Asana performed (as described above) as a way to release past impressions (coexist) in the body, such as memories, emotions and mental attitudes stored in the body was a way to release bound energy in the body.

Likewise, Pranayama was a way of releasing energy locked in the body.

Mudra and Bandha were ways to gather and direct the energy in the body. Hand dredging and head dredging were inner and outer gestures of devotion and focus.

Visualization and the following of the energy in the body were also important parts in activating Kundalini.

My teaching puts a lot of focus on this!

Interested?

Sign up for a course, a private class or a teacher education / training and learn more!

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