Bhakti Warrior Yoga Immersion

Module 1 | HatHa Yoga

With Your Bhakta & Yoga Guide Stuart Rice

Copyright © 2008 Stuart Rice • Bhakti Warrior Yoga
All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced mechanically, electronically, or by any other means, including photocopying without written permission of the publisher. The original purchaser is authorized to make one printed copy for personal use. Book design by Calyx Design

Welcome to Bhakti Warrior Yoga! What is Yoga? Inspirations Key Points Yoga in Context Root Work: Who Am I Exercise the Role of the teacher and Healer Inspirations Key Points The Six Types of Teachers Root Work: Which Kind of Teacher Are You? The Qualities of an Effective Teacher and Healer Root Work: Finding the Inspirational Teacher ethics for teachers and Healers Inspiration 1 3 3 5 6 11 13 13 15 16 18 19 21 22 22

Key Points The Essence of Ethics California Yoga Teachers Association Ethics Statement Sample Personal Ethics Statement Root Work: Constructing a Personal Ethics Statement the Integrated Warrior Model Inspirations Key Points Introduction to the Kosha Model Root Work: Kosha Awareness the Body of Food (annamayakosha) Inspirations Key Points The Role of the Physical Body in Yoga Fundamentals of anatomy Key Points

23 23 24 32 32 34 34 34 35 38 39 39 40 40 44 44

The Importance of Anatomy Root Work: Describing the Body Position in an Asana the Practice of asana Inspirations Key Points The Fundamentals of Asana Methods of Instructing and Correcting Asana Root Work: Your Asana Inventory the Practice of Vinyasa Inspirations Key Points Foundational Vinyasa Concepts Foundations of Multi-Dimensional Vinyasa Root Work: Constructing a One Dimension Sequence Introduction to ayurveda Inspirations

44 61 62 62 62 63 69

71 71 71 72 78 81 82 82

Key Points Essentials of Ayurveda Root Work: Determining Your Dosha and Diet approaches to Physical Injury Inspirations Key Points The Injured Warrior Yoga Therapy Root Work: Injured Warrior Dialogues Yoga for Children and Pregnancy Inspirations Key Points The Playful Side of Yoga Root Work: New Yoga Games Yoga For Pregnancy

83 83 88 89 89 89 89 93 94 95 95 95 96 97 98

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 1

Welcome to Bhakti Warrior Yoga!
Namaste and welcome to Bhakti Warrior Yoga! Yoga is a system of conscious liberation. As a system, it provides distinct processes for identifying the way in which we interact with the world; the way in which those interactions affect us; and the ways to consciously control how we absorb the outcomes of those interactions. Bhakti Warrior Yoga is a distinct and practical interpretation of classical raja yoga with a cross-cultural and cross-discipline focus. It focuses on helping individuals and teachers create a map to their best selves by balancing the five layers (pancamayakosa) of the human system. These five layers consist of the physical, energy, sensory, wisdom, and bliss bodies. The four levels of training that make up the Bhakti Warrior system introduce the tools needs to effectively work with each of these layers. The key to all yoga is freedom, but we cannot cultivate freedom without first taking complete responsibility for all aspect of our lives. Once we have created a discipline and foundation based on tending to all four aspect of ourselves, we spontaneously arrived at freedom—freedom from disease in the body, freedom from deep swings in our emotions, freedom from attachments to unhelpful mental structures and addictions. All spiritual traditions teach us that suffering is inevitable as the outcome of choices that do not elevate us. It is my supreme wish for all people in these workshops and in our classes that this information creates a spaciousness in which a better and more positive image of ourselves and our lives can be nurtured and grown. Thank

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 2

you for your willingness to come on this journey of self-discovery, and then share your wisdom with others. Many blessings on your path!

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 3

What is Yoga?
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (Selections)

Yoga: the state of consciousness unmoved by any sense patterns. (see notes, below) Yogic action has three components - discipline, self-study, and orientation toward the ideal of pure awareness. Its purposes are to disarm the causes of suffering and achieve integration. The causes of suffering are not seeing things as they are, the sense of ‘I’, attachment, aversion, and clinging to life. The causes of suffering are the root source of actions; each action deposits latent impressions deep in the mind, to be activated and experienced later in this birth, or lie hidden awaiting a future one. So long as this root source exists, its contents will ripen into a birth, a life, and experience. This life will be marked by delight or anguish, in proportion to those good or bad actions that created its store of latent impressions.







Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 4


The wise see suffering in all experience, whether from the anguish of impermanence, or from latent impressions laden with suffering, or from incessant conflict as the fundamental qualities of nature vie for ascendancy. But suffering that has not yet arisen can be prevented. Both practice and non-reaction are required to still the patterning of consciousness. Practice is the sustained effort to rest in that stillness. And this practice becomes firmly rooted when it is cultivated skillfully and continuously for a long time. For all others, faith, energy, mindfulness, integration, and wisdom form the path to realization. For those who seek liberation wholeheartedly, realization is near. Consciousness settles as one radiates friendliness, compassion, delight, and equanimity toward all things, whether pleasant or painful, good or bad. Or by pausing after breath flows in or out. Or by steadily observing as new sensations materialize. Or when experiencing thoughts that are luminous and free of sorrow. Or by focusing on things that do not inspire attachment. Or by reflecting on insights culled from sleep and dreaming. Or through meditative absorption in any desired object. One can become fully absorbed in any object, whether vast or infinitesimal. Realization may also come if one is oriented toward the ideal of pure awareness, Isvara.

9. 10.

11. 12.




16. 17. 18.

19. 20. 21. 22.


Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 5

24. 25.

Existing beyond time, Isvara was also the ideal of the ancients. Isvara is a distinct, incorruptible form of pure awareness, utterly independent of cause and effect, and lacking any store of latent impressions. Self-study deepens communion with one’s personal deity. Freedom is at hand when the fundamental qualities of nature, each of their transformations witnessed at the moment of its inception, are recognized as irrelevant to pure awareness; it stands alone, grounded in its very nature, the power of pure seeing. As the patterning of consciousness subsides, a transparent way of seeing, called coalescence, saturates consciousness; like a jewel, it reflects equally whatever lies before it - whether subject, object, or act of perceiving. Pure awareness is just seeing, itself; although pure, it usually appears to operate through the perceiving mind. In essence, the phenomenal world exists to reveal this truth.

26. 27.




Key Points
TT At the heart of classical or raja yoga is the understanding what we

experience as the “real world” is, in fact, a manifestation of divine consciousness.
TT Based

on this, yoga as a practice is the continuous work of dissociating our experience of reality from the preconceptions and judgments that we apply to our experience. The sustained state of this is yoga. ied degrees of progress, but without any loss of true progress.

TT This practice is developed over the life of the practitioner, with var-

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 6

Yoga in Context
Yoga is a system of thought developed by Indian philosophers and spiritual adepts (rishis) during the early stages of vedic civilization and evolving over the course of 3,000 years. Through direct observation of their own world, and the internal states of the human mind and consciousness, these sages came to series of understandings regarding the human condition. The foundational revelation of these sages was that the human consciousness is capable of achieving an enstastic state. This enstastic state, or samadhi, occurs when there is a unification with the transcendental reality of the world. This transcendental reality is expressed as brahman, which is not God, but rather the fundamental fabric of the universe itself. While there is a multiplicity of authentic traditions and schools under the banner of “yoga,” each with their own particular focus and perspective, all agree on the sustained state of samadhi as the height of human psychospiritual development. While rich in philosophical history, there is also a strong focus on practical tools facilitate the achievement of enstasy. Each school or tradition focuses on a certain set of practices that moves the student closer to the conditions under which samadhi can occur. The most widely known practice from the yoga tradition is asana— the physical postures. The postures are the basis of most “yoga” classes, and so it is logical that most people would conflate the tool and the philosophical system. However, asana is just one of many tools, and is not necessarily the best or most appropriate one. The vedic sages recognized that not all tools or paths would suit all people. Since samadhi is not itself a practice, but rather a state of being, the way in which the individual arrives at that state is not a fixed road. Rather, it is a dynamic series of choices depending on the individual practitioner’s evolution. Within this, however, is the sense that, as an individual progresses, the focus shifts from an external practice (bahiranga sadhana) to more internal practice (antaranga sadhana). This can

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 7

mean a deeper experience within a certain tool (e.g., moving from an fixation of the physical form in asana to an awareness of the feeling state created by it); or moving into practice of mental control or meditation. The way in which this is understood is largely dependent on the particular school of thought to which the practitioner adheres. The most well-known text on yoga in the West is the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The word sutra means “thread”, and is the etymological source of the English word “suture.” Sutras are short, pithy sentences intended to act as a mnemonic touch point for the practitioner. They rarely have practical on their own, as the expectation is that the teacher will translate and give an application of the sutra to the student. It is from the Yoga Sutras that we have the most often quoted definition of yoga: yogas citta vritti nirodhah. The translation of these four words is often the first crucial step in establishing how the teacher will explain yoga, and therefore how the student will receive it.
The text of Chip Hartranft’s translation used in this book presents the four words as “Yoga is to still the patterning of the consciousness.” I use his translation because I feel that Hartnett does not attempt to overlay the words of the text with any particular philosophical agenda. And while I like most of Hartnett’s translation, I have one small correction for this one. For me, to say “Yoga is to still” implies that the stilling itself is an action that the practitioner should take. Rather, the stillness is a spontaneous arising from the disciplined action of the practitioner. Therefore, I would suggest the following translation: Yoga: the state of consciousness unmoved by any sense patterns.

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali establishes an eight limb (ashtanga) approach to yoga. These eight limbs are:

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 8

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Yama (external discipline) Niyama (internal discipline) Asana (posture) Pranayama (breath regulation) Pratyahara (sensory control) Dharana (concentration) Dhyana (meditative absorption); and, Samadhi (integration)

Patanjali’s limbs are like a ladder that the aspirant climbs upwards to samadhi. In order for the practitioner to progress, he or she must be firmly grounded and consistent in the practices at his or her current level. The lessons learned at a previous level become critical for the next. For example, the practitioner must be steady and comfortable in asana before breath regulation can truly be successful. In this way, the practice builds upon itself, with success in a previous level setting the stage for success in the next.
As a young boy, I was constantly frustrated by having to do the “boring” basics of anything. One of my middle school teachers wrote: “Stuart must learn to master the foundation before attempting more challenging material.” It is definitely common for all of us to want “shortcuts.” One of the key things that studying and living yoga has taught me is that it is the strength of our roots that determine how high we can climb. If a tree’s roots are weak, it will topple during even the lightest wind. In that same way, if our roots are weak, we will topple at the slightest difficulty. Throughout this workshop, you will be asked to do “Root Work” as a way to establish your footing and grounding. Don’t skip this work! It is critical to your success and growth.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 9

The other aspect of Patanjali’s eight limbs is that they are as much categories as distinct practices. For example, Patanjali’s yamas and niyamas are simply statements of moral and ethical livelihood. It is not necessary to adopt the specific, 10 examples that Patanjali gives in the Yoga Sutras if the practitioner already lives under a self- or externally developed code of conduct. While it may be helpful for the practitioner to compare his or her conduct to the classical yamas and niyamas, Patanjali’s moral and ethical compass does not, ipso facto, have more value. As another example, while Patanjali mentions asana, the category can be more broadly understood as the quality and condition of the physical body. Indian sages developed asana as a way to tone and purify the body; this same culture also developed one of the first martial arts forms, kalari, with much the same purpose. Western physical culture practice such as weightlifting, running, and stretching can be used to strengthen and purify the body, when performed with the intention to do so. The essential point is that yoga is not anyone thing bound by any cultural or metaphysical system. Rather, it is structured technology designed to assist practitioners in achieving superconsciouness. As such, it does not reject any practice that is authentically concerned with the achievement of this goal. At the same time, any practice that is authentically concerned with this goal requires a strong commitment from the practitioner. One of the key tests of any system is how much it demands of its students, and one of the key tests of the student is the firmness of his or her resolve in the face of the demands of the system. True progress is not possible in a system in which the teacher is lenient with the student’s conduct and, more importantly, when the student feels that progress should come without work.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 10

One of the most commonly asked questions is “does yoga conflict with my religion”. The simple answer is “no” if the person asking is primarily considering taking an asana class. And while many people won’t like this next part, I think it’s rather essential to say it: the complete answer is “most likely.” Why is this the case? Many people, far more steeped in the yoga tradition than I am, have suggested exactly the opposite. My answer is based not on any formal study of religion, but rather on the observation that the goal of most religions and the goal of yoga are, in fact, diametrically opposed. Most mainstreams religions, I would say, have as their primary goal the creation of a community that sacrifices individual development for the success of the community. Not everyone in a spiritual community is “allowed” to talk with God, to set the spiritual direction of the community, or to have experiences outside the “normal.” When they do, these people are either heretics or saints. Yoga, on the other hand, is completely focused on individual development. According to yoga, we are all capable of achieving enlightened states of consciousness and are encouraged to do so. While all students of yoga are expected to find a teacher, the goal of the teacher is to guide the student’s development according to the student’s own path. As I said above, self-development within yoga is a deeply personal and unique experience for each individual. As a student progresses in yoga, it is likely that there will be a conflict between the religious views that the student receives from his or her community, and the burgeoning awareness inside of them. It is at this point that the student must chose in which direction he or she will move. Neither choice is right or wrong, as long as choice is made consciously and with attention to his or her own spiritual development.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 11

In teaching the Yoga Sutras, I often refer to them as the “psychological manual” of the yoga tradition. What the sutras primarily identify is that the process of life is taking in and processing sensory and non-sensory impressions. Each impression can root itself in our mind in such a way that it produces actions. These actions are largely unconscious, in that we do not stop to question why we perform such an action in response to a certain stimulus. For example, a person, every time they see a dog, crosses the street to get as far away from it as possible. The reason for this is that a dog bit this person when he or she was young. From that day forward, the person has been afraid of dogs. From the perspective presented in the sutras, this aversion to dogs is founded in this one incident, and this aversion will continually re-present itself unless the person examines the root thought and plucks it from the consciousness. When dealing with ourselves and others, it is essential to go to the root cause. Life is like gardening in this sense. When we weed a garden, if we simply cut down the plant, the roots will generate another stalk. But when we dislodge the whole plant— stalk, roots, and seed—another one cannot grow in its place. It does not matter if we are discussing a small addiction or habit or a huge, consistent pattern. The only way to alleviate the suffering caused by this pattern is to dislodge the root.

Root Work: Who am I exercise
With thanks to Katyayani Poole for reminding me of the importance of this root work. Getting to the root of yourself is difficult work. This is why we have created this small, supportive community to help you in this process. The following exercise is intended to start the process.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 12

Throughout the training, you will have multiple opportunities to practice similar exercises, and to bring the new tools you have learned to the exercises.

Create a space for yourself where you will not be disturbed for 15 minutes. You will need a sheet of paper, a pen, and a comfortable place to sit. On a sheet of paper, write down the words “Who am I?” List all of things that come to mind for one minute—do not censor yourself. Read through the list once—notice if you have an immediate mental response to any of them. Write down the mental response. Go through the list again and cross out any answers that could also be a response to “What am I”. Read the list again—notice any mental responses. Write them down. Sit with your list for five minutes, simply breathing in and out and repeating “Who am I?” Journal your reactions to this exercise.







Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 13

The Role of the Teacher and Healer
Kula Arnava Tantra The Soul of Rumi Kula arnava tantra 13.104 - 110, 126 ff. There are many gurus, like lamps in house after house, but hard to find, O Devi, is the guru who lights up all like the sun. There are many gurus on Earth who give what is other than the Self, but hard to find in all the worlds, O Devi, is the guru who reveals the Self. Many are the gurus who rob the disciple of this wealth, but rare is the guru who removes the afflictions of the disciple. The six types of gurus:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Preraka (Impeller) Sucaka (Indicator) Vacaka (Explainer) Darshaka (Revealer) Shikshaka (Teacher) Bodhaka (Illuminator)

the Soul of Rumi (“Cleansing Conflict”) What is a saint? One whose wine has turned into vinegar.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 14

If you’re still wine-drunkenly brave, don’t step forward. When your sheep becomes a lion, then come. It is said of hypocrites, “They have considerable valor among themselves!” But they scatter when a real enemy appears. Muhammad told his young soldiers, “There is no courage before an engagement.” A drunk foams at the mouth talking about what he will do when he gets his sword drawn, but the chance arrives, and he remains sheathed as an onion. Premeditating, he’s eager for wounds. Then his bag gets touched by a needle, and he deflates. What sort of person says that he or she wants to be polished and pure, then complains about being handled roughly? Love is a lawsuit where harsh evidence must be brought in. To settle the case, the judge must see the evidence. You’ve heard that every buried treasure has a snake guarding it. Kiss the snake to discover the treasure! The severe treatment is not toward you, but the qualities that block your growth. A rug beater doesn’t beat the rug, but rather the dirt. A horse trainer switches not the horse, but

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 15

the going wrong. Imprison your mash in a dark vat, so that it can become wine. Someone asks, “Don’t you worry about God’s wrath when you spank your child?” “I’m not spanking my child, but the demon in him.” When a mother screams, “Get out of here!” she means the mean part of the child. Don’t run from those who scold you, and don’t turn away from cleansing conflict, or you will remain weak. Also, don’t listen to bragging. If you go along with self-importance, the work collapses. Better a small modest team. Sift almonds. Discard the bitter. Sour and sweet sound alike when you pour them out on the rattling tray, but inside they’re very different.

Key Points
TT The primary role of the teacher is to empower the student through

his or her knowledge and experience gained from living a practice of yoga.
TT The

quality of the teacher is reflected in the students that the teacher attracts; we learn a good deal from who comes to us for instruction. shadow side of teaching involves an unhealthy attraction to being worshipped by the student, or teaching to satisfy the ego’s desire for approval.

TT The

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 16

the Six types of teachers
What does it mean to be a yoga teacher? As we discussed in the first chapter of the manual, yoga is a multi-faceted technology that, when correctly applies, leads the practitioner to a state of super-consciousness, a continuous enstastic state. Yet we know that most mainstream yoga teachers teach mostly asana, with perhaps some chanting, meditation, or breathwork, and with only a scattering of philosophical input or background.
In my first workshop with Gary Kraftsow, a viniyoga practitioner and student of Krishnamachrya and his son T.K.V. Deskichar, he proceeded to tell the entire audience that they most certainly did not teach yoga, but taught asana. It was, in fact, a lightbulb moment for me in terms of how I described what I do, but also how much I needed to grow in my knowledge and practice of the tools of yoga.

In order to understand what it means to be a yoga teacher, it is important to first ask what kinds of teachers there are. For example, the how of teaching asana is fairly simple to grasp, and takes time to master. However, who will come to us for teaching and therefore what we will have to teach them is important to our success as a teacher. In the Kula Arnava Tantra, Shiva explains to Shakti the nature of the guru. In his explanation, Shiva describes six types of gurus that the student (adhikara or sadhaka) will need in their pursuit of enlightenment. As with the limbs of raja yoga, these six types are arranged hierarchically, with each level moving the sadhaka along to a certain point. The six types, and their associated function, is given as follows:

Preraka Guru. He who starts the interest and impels the student to achieve the objectives.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 17

This first level of guru is the person who “turns on” the student. For some people, this person may be the friend who forces the student to his or her first yoga class. It may be you talking with a potential student. This is the person who awakens in the student the desire to follow the path of yoga as we have earlier defined it. However, this teacher is not capable of actually giving the student a path to follow or guiding them deeper.

Suchaka Guru. He who indicates the path to be followed by the sadhaka and guides him in the crisis.
This second level of guru can articulate for the student what kind of practice that he or she should follow. This guru is also able to help the student through his or her physical, emotional, and spiritual recognitions, which often make the student distraught or troubled. This guru is limited by his or her own knowledge, which is not complete enough to deeply inform the student.


Vachaka Guru. He who explains the process of the wisdom and the knowledge.
This third level of guru is capable of explaining how the process of sadhana (spiritual practice) works, and is the teacher with whom the student will probably study for a period of time. This knowledge and wisdom is not necessarily lived knowledge and wisdom; it is “textbook” knowledge that does not awaken the student to his or her transcendental nature.


Darshaka Guru. He who makes the sadhaka see the truth and the reality of the phenomenon.
This fourth level of guru is capable of awakening the student to his or her own true nature. This is the level at which true spiritual transformation begins. However, this teacher may not be capable of actually teaching the process of achieving the superconscious state.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 18


Sikshaka Guru. Teacher who actually teaches the process of the sadhana and teaches how to attain the sadhana.
This fifth level guru is capable of actually guiding the student on the path of spiritual wisdom. This is actually the first teacher within the hierarchy who can truly bring the student to the state of samadhi. However, this guru is not capable of bringing the student instantly to the state of awareness.


Bodhaka Guru. He who illuminates the wisdom directly in the student.
This sixth level guru is the one about whom Shiva is talking when he says, “There are many gurus, like lamps in house after house, but hard to find, O Devi, is the guru who lights up all like the sun.” This is the true guru who awakens the student through his or her own intense spiritual power. Even without instruction or action on the part of the student, the bodhaka guru can awaken the kundalini shakti of the student and spark spiritual growth.

Root Work: Which Kind of teacher are You?
While none of us are bodhaka gurus, each of us falls within the spectrum of gurus articulated by Shiva. It is important to know what kind of teacher we are because certain students will be drawn to us based on how deeply we can work with them. It is also important to realize that all 6 types of gurus are needed; the preraka guru is not less than the bodhaka guru. Sit with each of the definitions, and your notes from any group discussion, and then journal about the guru type that best fits your current level of awareness and development as a teacher.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 19

the Qualities of an effective teacher and Healer
The most important quality that teacher and healers can possess is a deep respect for the life path (dharma) and life lessons (karma) of their students, and a desire to help students realize their path. This inherently means that the role of the teacher is to deepen the student’s self-awareness of his or her individual path and purpose. In this way, the teacher and healer assists the student to his or her highest good, and can never bring harm to the student. On a less esoteric level, effective teachers share a number of similar qualities. These qualities include:

Respect for the value of human life, and the inherent goodness inside of all people (philanthropic). Desire to continuously learn, informally and formally, from everything they experience; continuously seek out knowledge. Humility surrounding their own abilities, without false modesty or self-deprecation. Lived commitment to the subject or subjects that they teach, providing authenticity in their expression of their knowledge. Clarity, allowing them to communicate meaningfully and directly regarding the subject.





To these essential qualities, we also add the following for healers:

Holding the space for healing. Holding the space involves creating a recognized, safe environment for emotional and mental healing. Within the space, the student feels completely comfortable releasing and letting go emotionally and physically. Helping the student to reestablish equanimity. Equanimity is the quality of balanced mind, and is critical during healing. After an emotional healing or release, the healer must be able to give the student tools to maintain his or her mental and emotional balance in what is usually an emotionally raw and


Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 20

In India, there is saying surrounding students and gurus: Pick, then stick. In his Mathnawi, Rumi speaks of “spiritual window shoppers” who “handle a hundred items” and never stick with one. Throughout history and cultures, there is always a presence of spiritual eclecticism, as new cultures and systems collide, merge, and separate. For the adept, all systems are one. But for the new student it is necessary to select and stick with a single discipline, and begin to develop a level of competency. Otherwise, each switch or change brings the student back to start. I have definitely lived this spiritual window shopping, in my own way. Part of the reason why Bhakti Warrior Yoga exists is because of my exposure and integration to several different spiritual traditions. However, what I always find is that, no matter how far I roam, I always come back to the truths that I find in the Yoga Sutras, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Bhagavad Gita, and on my yoga mat. Spiritual window shopping ultimately weakens the student. As spiritual teacher Caroline Myss states in her work on archetypes, “[the] Shadow Student...may never move beyond the Student role to develop an independent inner wisdom.” “Spirit junkies” who move from one spiritual high to another are addicted to the high, but not the necessary discipline of practice. The Rumi poem at the beginning of this section is to remind us that we need to stay in the fire, and do the deep (and sometimes, boring) work of development.

challenging time. Healers who can successfully accomplish this will have effected a lasting healing for student.

Ability to release the energy of the healing. Healers also need to know how to protect themselves from the mental and emotional energy of their students. These techniques are taught in our module on the energetic aspects of yoga.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 21

In addition to these qualities, the teacher or healer attracts students who resonate with the knowledge, personality, and ability of the teacher. The quality of the teacher or healer is reflected in the qualities of his or her students. While we can strive to improve our fundamental skills in the technologies of yoga, skill alone does not improve our ability to teach. It is what we are willing to offer to others that dictates who will come to us, how long they will stay, and to what extent they will be transformed by their connection to us.

Root Work: Finding the Inspirational teacher
One of the tools for achieving samadhi offered in the Yoga Sutras is to meditate on the lives of great being who freed themselves from attachment (I.37). One useful tool for new teachers is to recall a great teacher from his or her past, and to think upon the qualities that the teacher possesses. Using this, the new teacher can begin to emulate these qualities as a way to embrace his or her role. For this root work exercise, select a great teacher that you have known personally or have admired. It is easier if it is a person that you know, but what truly matters is the intensity of your connection. Once you have selected one person, write down the essence of what you have learned from him or her. This could include qualities, quotes, mannerisms, etc. After you have done this, take a moment to think about how you have moved past any previous boundaries or blocks by working with this teacher. How has this teacher transformed you? From there, write a thank you note to this person, but address it to yourself. You are writing the letter that you hope one of your students will write to you. Keep this letter and review it from time to time. You are free and welcome to rewrite it at any point, to reflect changes in your teaching style and your awareness of your role as a teacher or healer.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 22

Ethics for Teachers and Healers
Yoga Sutras Wiccan Rede Yoga Sutras: Classical Yamas and Niyamas II.29 ff
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Ahimsa Satya Asteya Brahmacharya Aparigraha Sauca Santosha Tapas Svadhyaya Ishvara Pranidhana

Non-violence Truthfulness Non-stealing Steadiness in Brahma Non-acquisitiveness Cleanliness Contentment Discipline Self-study Alignment with awareness

Wiccan Rede An it harm none do what ye will.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 23

Key Points
TT Ethical

principles are not just for the yoga mat or studio; ethical principles must extend to every day life. therefore, your ethical principles should be broad enough to allow you to explore how you would apply them in certain situations.

TT Ethical principles and applied ethics are often two different things;

TT Above all, ethical conducts implies continuous awareness in action,

not a cessation of action (c.f. Bhagavad Gita).

the essence of ethics
The essential component of ethics is summarized in the first yama and in the Wiccan Rede: do no harm. Everything else is interpretation of this fundamental rule.
I have very little use, on a personal level, for the ethical posturings of certain schools and yoga teachers who feel that there are absolute laws proscribed for yogins. The essence of yoga is conscious evolution through freedom of choice. All ethical guidelines do is help shape our actions while we work on coming into greater self-awareness. When self-awareness dawns, all decisions we make spring naturally from our own intuitive awareness of our life path and our relationship to our karma. “Do no harm” does not inherently mean that we don’t hurt others, that we don’t eat meat, or any number of other prohibitions. Instead, we constantly strive to consciously choose the things that elevate us and those around us. But most importantly, it means that all of our actions arise out of compassion and kindness.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 24

California Yoga teachers association ethics Statement
We Americans first learned yoga from Indian masters. Many of the classical teachings of yoga translated well into our culture, but some did not. One area in which there was sometimes an unfortunate gap was in the way the ethical teachings of traditional yoga were understood and practiced by Westerners and sometimes abandoned by Indian teachers when they taught in the U.S. In the philosophy of yoga there are 10 major points of ethics; these are the five yamas and the five niyamas, which can be found in the second chapter of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The yamas and the niyamas are the “Ten Commandments” of yoga. They include such things as nonviolence, nonstealing, ethical sexual conduct, truth, and purity. Unfortunately, sometimes the personal power of the teacher or “guru” has been used as an excuse to override both the letter and the spirit of the yamas and niyamas. In many yoga groups, the guru/teacher is always right, regardless of whether his or her behavior is legal, ethical, moral, or beneficial for the student. In spite of these traditional proscriptions about ethical conduct, there have been a surprising number of yoga teachers, Indian as well as American teachers in the U.S., who have not followed ethical behavior. Some of those teachers have been written about in Yoga Journal, most have not. Those of us who are acquainted with the various systems of yoga know of cases of serious ethical violations at some level in all of the systems of yoga currently taught in the U.S. today. These ethical violations include, but are not limited to, serious cases of emotional, physical, sexual, or verbal abuse. While this may be surprising and hard to accept, it is true that the yoga community, like all other communities, has manifested its share of unprofessional, unethical, and, at times, illegal behavior on the part of teachers. Some of these teachers are quite well known and even quite financially successful.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 25

Because of the climate of confusion about the application of the ethics of the yamas and the niyamas in a Western context, the Board of Directors of the California Yoga Teachers Association decided to write a set of professional standards for yoga teachers that would unemotionally and clearly express the highest ideals of conduct for yoga teachers, regardless of the system in which they practice. The Board wanted to underscore the concept that there can be no competence in teaching if ethical and professional guidelines are ignored or breached, regardless of how revered, renowned, or technically able teacher. We felt that we needed a Western statement of our commitment yama of ahimsa, or nonharming, to protect the student-teacher relationship in which the spirit of yoga is transmitted. These professional standards are a voluntary code which has been provided to all members of the California Yoga Teachers Association. We hope that other yoga groups will use these professional standards, or ones like them, and that these standards will stimulate discussion among teachers about ethics, professional conduct, and the sanctity of the student-teacher relationship. During my years of teaching, I have heard numerous discussions among yoga teachers expressing dismay that, as a group, yoga teachers are sometimes not respected as efficacious, trained, and important contributors to the health professions. Perhaps with the voluntary acceptance of this set of professional standards, or one like it, yoga teachers as a profession will take an important step toward clarity and compassion in their teaching behavior. That will be of great benefit to all teachers. But it will do something more important. It will protect and inspire our students, the two most important things we do. SeCtloN 1: Statement of Purpose

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 26

The members of the California Yoga Teachers Association recognize the sensitive nature of the student-teacher relationship. We believe that it is the responsibility of the yoga teacher to ensure a safe and protected environment in which a student can grow physically, mentally, and spiritually. SeCtIoN 2: Principles In order to protect the student in this potentially vulnerable relationship, as well as to uphold the highest professional standards for yoga teachers, we agree to accept the following foundational principles:

To avoid discriminating against or refusing professional help to anyone on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or national origin. To stay abreast of new developments in the field of yoga through educational activities and studies. To seek out and engage in collegial relationships, recognizing that isolation can lead to a loss of perspective and judgment. To manage our personal lives in a healthful fashion and to seek appropriate assistance for our own personal problems or conflicts. To provide rehabilitative instruction only for those problems or issues that are within the reasonable boundaries of our competence. To establish and maintain appropriate professional relationship boundaries. To cultivate an attitude of humanity in our teaching, we dedicate our work to something greater than ourselves.







Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 27

SeCtIoN 3: Professional Practices

In all professional matters, we maintain practices and teaching procedures that protect the public and advance the profession. We use our knowledge and professional associations for the benefit of the people we serve and not to secure unfair personal advantage. Fees and financial arrangements, as with all contractual matters, are always discussed without hesitation or equivocation at the onset and are established in a straightforward, professional manner. We may at times render service to individuals or groups in need without regard to financial remuneration. We neither receive nor pay a commission for referral of a student. We conduct our fiscal affairs with due regard to recognized business and accounting procedures. We are careful to represent facts truthfully to students, referral sources, and third party payers regarding credentials and services rendered. We will correct any misrepresentation of our professional qualifications. We do not malign colleagues or other professionals.








SeCtIoN 4: Student Relationships It is our responsibility to maintain relationships with students on a professional basis.

We do not abandon or neglect students. If we are unable, or unwilling for appropriate reasons, to provide professional help or continue a professional relationship, every reasonable effort is made to arrange for continuation of instruction with another teacher.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 28


We make only realistic statements regarding the benefits of yoga. We show sensitive regard for the moral, social, and religious standards of students and groups. We avoid imposing our beliefs on others, although we may express them when appropriate in the yoga class. We recognize the trust placed in and unique power of the student-teacher relationship. While acknowledging the complexity of some yoga relationships, we avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of students. We avoid those dual relationships with students (e.g., business, close personal, or sexual relationships) that could impair our professional judgement, compromise the integrity of our instruction, and/or use the relationship for our own gain. We do not engage in harassment, abusive words or actions, or exploitative coercion of students or former students. All forms of sexual behavior or harassment with students are unethical, even when a student invites or consents to such behavior involvement. Sexual behavior is defined as, but not limited to all forms of overt and covert seductive speech, gestures, and behavior as well as physical contact of a sexual nature; harassment is defined as, but not limited to, repeated comments, gestures, or physical contacts of a sexual nature. We recognize that the teacher-student relationship involves a power imbalance, the residual effects of which can remain after the student is no longer studying with the teacher. Therefore, we suggest extreme caution if you choose to enter into a personal relationship with a former student.






SeCtIoN 5: Confidentiality

We respect the integrity and protect the welfare of all persons with whom we are working and have an obligation to safe-

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 29

guard information about them that has been obtained in the course of the instruction process.

All records kept on a student are stored or disposed of in a manner that assures security and confidentiality. We treat all communications from students with professional confidence. When supervising apprentices or consulting with other yoga teachers, we use only the first names of our students, except in those situations where the identity of the student is necessary to the understanding of the case. It is our responsibility to convey the importance of confidentiality to the apprentice or consultant. We do not disclose student confidences to anyone, except: as mandated by law; to prevent a clear and immediate danger to someone; in the course of a civil, criminal, or disciplinary action arising from the instruction where the teacher is a defendant; for purposes of supervision or consultation by previously obtained written permission. In cases involving more than one person (as student), written permission must be obtained from all legally accountable persons who have been present during the instruction before any disclosure can be made. We obtain written consent of students before audio and/or video tape recording or permitting third party observation of their sessions. When current or former students are referred to in a publication, while teaching, or in a public presentation, their identity is thoroughly disguised.





Section 6: assistant, Student, and employee Relationships As yoga teachers, we have an ethical concern for the integrity and welfare of our assistants, students, and employees. These relationships are maintained on a professional and confidential basis. We

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 30

recognize our influential position with regard to current and former assistants, students, and employees, and avoid exploiting their trust and dependency. We make every effort to avoid dual relationships with such persons that could impair our judgement or increase the risk of personal and/or financial exploitation.

We do not engage in sexual or other harassment of current assistants, students, employees, or colleagues. All forms of sexual behavior, as defined in Section 4.6, with our assistants, students, and employees are unethical. We advise our assistants, students, and employees against offering or engaging in, or holding themselves out as competent to engage in, professional services beyond their training, level of experience, and competence. We do not harass or dismiss an assistant or employee who has acted in a reasonable, responsible, and ethical manner to protect, or intervene on behalf of, a student or other member of the public or another employee.




SeCtIoN 7: Interprofessional Relationships As yoga teachers, we relate to and cooperate with other professional persons in our immediate community and beyond. We are part of a network of health care professionals and are expected to develop and maintain interdisciplinary and interprofessional relationships.
1. 2.

Knowingly soliciting another teacher’s students is unethical. Speaking of other teachers with disrespect is unethical.

SeCtIoN 8: advertising Any advertising, including announcements, public statements, and promotional activities, done by us or for us is undertaken for

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 31

the purpose of helping the public make informed judgements and choices.

We do not misrepresent our professional qualifications, affiliations, and functions, or falsely imply sponsorship, or certification by any organization. Announcements and brochures promoting our services describe them with accuracy and dignity. These promotional materials should be devoid of exaggerated claims about the effects of yoga. We may send them to professional persons, religious institutions, and other agencies, but to prospective individual students only in response to inquiries or as long as that promotional material is sent to a reasonable audience in a noninvasive way. We do not make public statements which contain any of the following:
TT A false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive or unfair state-




misrepresentation of fact or a statement likely to mislead or deceive because in context it makes only a partial disclosure of relevant facts. statement implying unusual, unique, or one-of-a-kind abilities, including misrepresentation through sensationalism, exaggeration, or superficiality. anxieties, or emotions.


TT A statement intended or likely to exploit a student’s fears, TT A

statement concerning the comparative desirability of offered services.


Advertisements or announcements by us of workshops, clinics, seminars, growth groups, or similar services or endeavors, are to give a clear statement of purpose and a clear description of the

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 32

experiences to be provided. The education, training, and experience of the provider involved are to be appropriately specified.

Sample Personal ethics Statement
In keeping with the spirit of honoring the reality that the Divine is manifest in all beings, I will:
TT Conduct

myself in the spirit of ahimsa, doing no harm and actively inquiring into how I can reduce the experience of pain in the world. as an instructor and person, and honor those in the way in I teach and present myself to others.

TT Practice satya by being truthful about my credentials and abilities,

TT Honor brahmacharya by avoiding sexual relationship with my stu-

dents, and practicing moderation in all relationships to preserve my energy for the purpose of my evolution.
TT Exist

in aparigraha by recognizing the abundance in my life and releasing a competitive greed with other individuals. others, and allowing my practice of yoga and life to be a way of developing compassion.

TT Practice daya by letting go of insensitivity towards the suffering of

TT Honor

ishvara pranidhana by submitting all of my efforts to the Divine will and recognizing the diverse paths to the one Truth.

Root Work: Constructing a Personal ethics Statement
Every Bhakti Warrior practitioner or teacher is required to develop a personal ethics statement. In keeping with the spirit of personal evolution, your statement should give you room to explore the living of your ethical principles, while providing practical guidance in how you will conduct yourself on a daily basis.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 33

The following process is provided as a guideline for developing a personal ethics statement.
TT First,

write down what you hold to be the highest truth regarding humanity and yourself. What are your motivations? What makes you feel content? What gives you a twinge of guilt when you do it (and from where does that guilt come)? your chosen source texts for guidance.

TT Notice how you conduct yourself in your actions with people.

TT Now, consult existing code of conduct and ethical statements, and TT Compare and contrast your actions with people and how they cor-

respond to the ethical statements that resonate with you.
TT Draft TT Sit

an actual statement like the one above that encapsulates your code of ethics in clear, straightforward language. with the code of ethics for a time, and see how it manifests in your life.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 34

The Integrated Warrior Model
Taittiriya Upanishad taittiriya upanishad II.1.3 From that very Atman (Self), which has been referred to as Brahman, ether came into existence; from ether, air; from air, fire; from fire, water; from water, earth; from the earth, herbs; from herbs, food; and from food was born man. II.1.3

Key Points
TT The

pancamayakosha are the five-fold (panca) sheaths (mayakosha). Conceptually, they are the five aspects of human beings enveloping the atman, from gross to subtle: our body, breath/energy, mind, the Witness Consciousness, and the connection to the source (bliss). creating an integrated practice of yoga using the full spectrum of technologies available to the yoga practitioner.

TT In Bhakti Warrior Yoga, the pancamayakosha is the foundation for

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 35

Introduction to the Kosha Model
In the vedic conception of life, the soul, or atman, is a component of the imperishable brahman, or all pervading reality. When we come into being—incarnate—the soul is wrapped in five koshas. The word kosha in Sanskrit means, among other things, a “case or covering.” These five casings obscure the soul and separate our awareness from our true nature.
Physical Body

Energy Body

Sensory Body

Wisdom Body

Bliss Body

the Kosha Model and Raja Yoga The five casings are defined in Tattiriya Upanishad as follows:

Annamayakosha, the body of food (anna). Annamayakosha is the physical structure of the body, arising from and sustained by food. It is connected to the five physical elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Pranamayakosha, the body of energy (prana). Pranamayakosha is the energetic structure of the body, arising from and sustained by the breath. It is connected to the five movements of prana: inward, downward, upwards, expanding, and circulating. Manomayakosha, the body of the mind (manas). Manomayakosha is the mental structure of the body, and specifically, the mental body responsible for sensing and receiving input about



Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 36

the world. It is connected to the five senses: touch, smell, sight, sound, and taste; and the five actions: voice, hand, feet, elimination, and reproduction.

Vijnanamayakosha, the body of wisdom (vijnana). Vijnanamayakosha is the wisdom structure of the body, and forms the conscience of the individual. It is associated with the five types of intelligence: ignorant, distracted, scattered, closely attentive, and controlled. Anandamayakosha, the body of bliss (ananda). Anandamayakosha is the bliss body, the link to the ultimate soul reality of brahman (but not brahman itself). It is associated with the five types of samadhi: gross, gross without identification, subtle, bliss, and undistinguished.


Each layer, or kosha, can be strengthened or purified through particular actions and practices. The purification of each kosha allows for greater ease in the layer itself, and also in the more subtle koshas. We have already seen this concept at work in the Yoga Sutras and, indeed, there is a connection between the limbs of raja yoga and each of the koshas. If we look more closely we will see that:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Annamayakosha is purified by asana. Pranamayakosha is purified by pranayama. Manomayakosha is purified by pratyahara. Vijnanamayakosha is purified by dharana. Anandamayakosha is purified by dhyana.

We can continue the analogy by aligning the koshas with each of yamas and niyamas:

Annamayakosha is cleansed through non-violence and through cleanliness.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 37


Pranamayakosha is cleansed through truthfulness and through contentment. Manomayakosha is cleansed through non-stealing and through austerity. Vijnanamayakosha is cleansed through brahmacharya and selfstudy. Anandamayakosha is cleansed through non-possessiveness and surrender.




Fundamentally, the practice of yoga is intended to address all levels of the body, and to reduce and remove the suffering in each aspect of the human condition. We clearly see from even this short discussion how thoroughly the vedic wisdom teachers conceived and laid out the dimensions of human existence. defining the Integrated Warrior Model The pancamayakosha model is the basis for the Integrated Warrior Model (IWM). The IWM is an open-ended structure that allows the Bhakti Warrior practitioner to identify gross and subtle imbalances in the body and apply appropriate tools and technologies to address them. As with the five koshas, the five elements of IWM are physical, energetic, mental, wisdom, and bliss. These five elements of the IWM are covered in each of the Bhakti Warrior immersion modules. The IWM, in keeping with the spirit of the Bhakti Warrior system, is not a proscriptive model; it does not dictate how the practitioner should work on each layer, or what constitutes the “outer limits” of the practitioner’s growth. Instead, the model encourages selfexploration and experimentation with each layer. The model can also be extended to the design of group yoga classes, and individual sessions with students. When fully understood and applied in a way consistent with your teaching potential, the model can

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 38

also be used to guide others along an evolutionary path of growth and self-improvement.

Root Work: Kosha awareness
The koshas exist both as a conceptual model and as a realized aspect of the human existence. In order to build our awareness of the koshas, we can begin with the annamayakosha, the least subtle and most accessible layer of the body. This root work exercise with also be fairly pleasurable to do. It involves eating!
TT Choose a food you crave—an indulgent food rich in sensory value. TT First,

there is a hard part first. Prepare or purchase your favorite food and sit with it near your body. It is likely that you will begin to react in physical way. Notice your physical reaction to the presence of your craved food. slowly eat a bite of the food. Notice your reactions to the food on a physical level. Try to extend your awareness into your body by paying attention to things like the surface of your skin. What has physically changed now that you’ve eaten this food? This is a challenging exercise because you will need to separate your mental satisfaction and sensory input (smell, taste, etc.) from the actual impact on your body. Even though the annamayakosha is the least subtle layer, it is amazing how little awareness most people have about their physical body. Continue to work on this exercise and see how aware you can become of the impact of this food on your body.

TT Now,

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 39

The Body of Food (Annamayakosha)
Tattiriya Upanishad Siva Samhita Book of Genesis tattiriya upanishad II.2.1 Whatsoever living beings live on this earth, truly they are born from food, also they remain alive on food alone, and in the same way they return into it at the end. Food is verily the first among all that is created; therefore, it is said to be medicine for all. One who meditates on food as Brahman surely obtains all food. Verily, food is the first among all, hence it is the universal remedy. All creatures are born from food, they grow by food. All beings consume it and are consumed by it, hence it is regarded as food. Siva Samhita I.89-90 From the annamayakosha of the father, and in accordance with its past karma, the human soul is re-incarnated; therefore, the wise consider this beautiful body as a punishment, for the suffering of the effects of past karma. This temple of suffering and enjoyment, made up of flesh, bones, nerves, marrow, blood, and intersected with blood vessels etc., is only for the sake of suffering of sorrow.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 40

Book of genesis 2:7 And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground.

Key Points
TT It is almost universal that cultures identify the source of man to be

the earth, formed out of the products of the earth.
TT The first principle of sustaining the physical body is the application

of appropriate food, which is the basis of this kosha.
TT The second principle of sustaining the physical body is the applica-

tion of appropriate exercise, which helps to maintain the physical structure and destroy impurities.

the Role of the Physical Body in Yoga
The Shiva Samhita reflects the spiritual traditions of most culture in the declaring the body to be a trap for the suffering and unhappiness. It is said the renowned buddha, Gautama Siddhartha, began his spiritual quest in response to seeing a sickly old man outside of the palace walls where he enjoyed princely, sensual pleasures. The fear of the body as a prison gave the vedic seers the perspective that the body was something to be transcended. the tantric embrace of the Physical: Hatha Yoga However, the annamayakosha (the physical body, or “food sheath”) is a key part of the human experience, and the transcendental leanings of vedic seers began to be eclipsed by the development of tantra. Rather than seeing the body as a hindrance to the practitioner, the tantric yogins saw the mundane body as a valid vehicle for exploring the infinite. While associated with kinky sex practices in the West, the tantric perspective is really one about the utter extraordinariness revealed through the mundane.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 41

Out of the tantra model came hatha yoga, which is catalogued most completely in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika of Swatmarama. Hatha yoga is an eclectic set of practices that are intended to cleanse the physical body by “baking” it in the fire of practice. Hatha yoga expanded on the concept of asana, expanding its definition from “meditative posture” to a set of physical exercises that created flexibility and strength in the body. Many of the classical hatha yoga postures are reflected in today’s yoga classes, albeit with some modification. In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swatmarama mentions 84 asanas, mainly seated postures, but also including poses like the peacock (mayurasana) and the rooster (kukkutasana). Hatha yoga also introduced the concepts of locks (bandhas) that trapped and maintained energy within the body. Mudras, mantras, and pranayamas were also greatly expanded. Hatha yoga also proposes the six cleansing actions (shatkarma kriya) that includes specific physical, breathing, and mental exercises. tending to the Physical Body: ayurveda The vedic seers recognized that poor health and deterioration of the physical body posed a substantial threat to not only the health of an individual, but also the capacity to carry out a spiritual practice. For that reason, according to the Charaka Samhita, a group of sages gathered to hear the wisdom of the god Brahma. Brahma, at the sages’ request, imparted the “wisdom of life” or ayurveda. Ayurveda continues to be practiced in India today, and has spread across the globe as a holistic model of health care. The fundamental tenet of ayurveda is expressed in the following sutra from the Charaka Samhita: Samadosha samagnischa samadhatu malakriya Prasanna atma manah swastha itih abhidhiyate. Loosely translated, it states that “happiness and health in mind and body is the outcome of cultivating balance.” As with yoga, the main focus of ayurvedic medicine is to bring the body

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 42

back into homeostasis by strengthening weakened systems and pacifying overactive ones. One of the most important aspects of ayurveda is diet. Ayurveda stresses the appropriate consumption of appropriate foods as the key to over physical health. This should come as no surprise, as the Tattiriya Upanishad states all things arise from food. In ayurveda, the appropriate diet is determined by a person’s individual constitution (prakruti) and current state of health (vikruti). The goal is to bring the current state of health as close a possible to the person’s natural state of balance. Ayurvedic nutrition is therefore a dynamic practice, as particular dietary practices shift with the individual, as well as environmental factors, such as time of day or year. Ayurveda also stresses the importance of daily routine of caring for the body. This routine includes cleansing the various openings of the body (e.g. eyes, mouth, etc.), oiling the body, and engaging in a specific physical exercises. Through the daily routine and proper diet, the person who follows ayurvedic principles is said to have a greater lifespan and vitality than the common man. Western Physical Culture: the Intelligent Body In the West, the concept of “physical culture” arose as an integrative view of physical health, athletic prowess, and spiritual development. The Greeks and Romans culturally emphasized the importance of physical ability, and immortalized their icons through religion (e.g. the demi-god Hercules, thought to be the son of Zeus) and through organized sporting events such as the Olympics and the events of the Coliseum. The gymnasiums of ancient Greece served as a physical training ground as well as place for the discussion of philosophy. Roman physicians believed that exercise and proper diet released energies in the physical body that promoted health and wellness. While the physical cultural movement took a strong turn towards ethnic and racial discrimination in the early 1900s, at its heart it

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 43

remained focused on the cultivation of mental and physical ability. Joseph Pilates, the creator of the Pilates movement system (which he named “Contrology”), was a strong believer in physical culture, and both his exercise system and his many inventions reflect this. The core of Pilates is the cultivation of conscious control of the body, correcting imbalances and increasing strength. Just as Indian yogins claim vastly increased vitality and lifespans, Joseph Pilates is often show fit, strong, and vital even in his later years. Pilates is an exemplar of the physical cultural movement in both his philosophy and his application of it. Western resistance training and other physical training models can play an important role in training the annamayakosha, as it can provide strengthening for muscles that are difficult to access through a yoga practice. Muscles such as the biceps and latissimus are very difficult to train through yoga, which are easily strengthened through external resistance training. In addition, for Westerners, resistance training is a familiar and recognizable form of training. annamayakosha in the IWM The annamayakosha is first layer that most practitioners want to harmonize. To harmonize this kosha, a practitioner will need to identify the following elements:
TT Dietary

practices, including but not limited to the adoption of a diet consist with individual constitution. of musculoskeletal imbalances, including areas of over- and under-development, and the appropriate application of physical training modes. of conduct consist with the yamas and niyamas, as a way to maintain the physical benefits gained through practice.

TT Identification

TT Cultivation

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 44

Fundamentals of Anatomy
Key Points

understanding of anatomy is essential to the creation of balanced sequences within an asana class. to grasp.

TT Basic movement terminology is also critical for the yoga instructor

the Importance of anatomy
For the asana teacher, a knowledge of anatomy is essential for many reasons. At the most basic level, awareness of the construction and mechanics of the body in stillness and movement gives the instructor a respect for the complexity inherent in even the most basic body movements. Practically, the construction of asana sequences becomes much richer when there is an awareness of how the body moves, and therefore a better cultivation of balance in the overall class.
On a personal note, I do not think that I would have been able to create the yoga classes that I can now without learning a great deal of anatomy. With the addition of anatomy to my vocabulary, I was able to create much more exciting, but also more physically balanced, sequences. While I could design very physically demanding classes, they did not have a sense of completeness. Post-anatomy, the classes could be physically challenging, while still leaving the class feeling as if that the body was brought back into center.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 45

While learning anatomy is daunting, once mastered its vocabulary is indispensable. Every Bhakti Warrior instructor is encouraged to fully embrace the language of anatomy to enrich their asana classes. the effect of techniques on the Body In many yoga books and publications, the discussion of yogic techniques often includes a statement regarding their effects on the physical body. Texts such on hatha yoga, such as Hatha Yoga Pradipika or Gheranda Samhita, often refer to the physical benefits of asana in fantastical ways. For example, the pose mayurasana is said to kindle the “gastric fire” to such a degree that the practitioner will not be effected by any kind of poison. These statements are meant literally and figuratively. Mayurasana, for example, requires great strength in the abdomen and also involves a deep pressure on the intestines that will stimulate the nerve endings in the gastric and solar plexus areas of the body. On a figurative level, the poison referred to in the ancient texts is the spiritual poison of laziness, lack of attention, and other mental weakness that derails practice. The intensity of the asana helps to cure this by increasing the intangible mental qualities of the practitioner. The effect of asana on the physical level of the body is obvious. Krishnamacharya, the father of modern vinyasa yoga, used asana as a therapeutic tool with his clients, an approach that his son Desikachar and student B.K.S. Iyengar adopted in the viniyoga and Iyengar styles. As a physical form of exercise, asana can clearly tone the musculature, thereby improving a number of different physical ailments. Multiple studies have been conducted that have demonstrated that yoga is an effective treatment for low back pain and, in India, yoga therapy is applied for many conditions. While proper sequencing of the asanas and proper form are critical to success in addressing physical issues, yoga has clear support from the Western medical community as a tool for overall muscular health.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 46

The physiological benefits of yoga are a little less clear. Many yogis claim that a practice of yoga can be beneficial for many physical ailments, such as cancer, poor digestion, and low thyroid. The scientific research on these benefits is much less clear. Many studies of the efficacy of yoga in treating health conditions have been conducted in India. These studies, while relevant, have often been plagued by poor research design and inadequate follow-up to meet the standards of Western researchers. In addition, research has tended to focus on lifestyle diseases, such as cardiovascular conditions and diabetes mellitus, which are very responsive to most physical training regimens. The more extraordinary claims, such as reducing the symptoms of cancer or curing infertility, do not have rigorous scientific support in the West. One of the key ways in which yoga may work on the body as a whole is that it tends to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PSN). The PSN is responsible for bringing the body to a relaxed state by secreting hormones that cause a depression in the heart and breathing rate, allows for increased digestive and peristaltic activity, and reduces the presence of hormones related to stress. The anecdotal statistic often cited is that 80% of visits to either a doctor or hospital are stress-related or stress-induced. For
As we progress deeper into the tradition and tools of yoga, we will begin to discover how yoga affects the energy of an individual. By manipulating this energy, we can create an opportunity for healing that is beyond the physical. In my own teaching and experience with yoga asana, there are just some poses, or combinations thereof, that crack us open and help create the opportunities for deep physical and emotional healing. While inexplicable to Western science, these healings are incredibly potent and long lasting. At the outset we will focus only on very simple techniques, but the potential exists to expand your ability to embrace energetic medicine.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 47

Full Body
Skeletal System - Anterior View

Anatomical Line Drawings
Click here to print line drawing

Skull Mandible (jaw bone)

Clavicle (collar bone) Scapula (shoulder blade)


Rib cage Humerus Radius Ulna Carpals Metacarpals Phalanges

Spine Pelvis Sacrum


Patella (knee cap) Tibia Fibula Tarsals Metatarsals Phalanges

Copyright © 2000 Healtheon/WebMD Corporation - All rights reserved.

visit us at

visit us at

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 48

Spine - lateral

Anatomical Line Drawings Click here to print line drawing

C1 (Atlas) C2 (Axis) Cervical nerves C7 T1

Thoracic nerves

T12 L1

Lumbar nerves L5

Sacral nerves



opyright © 2000 WebMD Corporation - All rights reserved.

visit us at

visit us at

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 49

Muscular System - Anterior View
Frontalis Masseter Sternocleidomastoid Trapezius Deltoid Biceps Orbicularis oculi Levators Orbicularis oris Mentalis Pectoralis

Anatomical Line Drawing Click here to print line drawing

Ant. serratus Brachialis Brachioradialis Flexors Ext. oblique Rectus abdominis

Adductors Quadriceps Sartorius

Peroneus Anterior tibial

Copyright © 2000 WebMD Corporation - All rights reserved.

visit us at

visit us at

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 50

Muscular System - Posterior View

Anatomical Line Drawings

Click here to print line drawing

Trapezius Infraspinatus Teres major Latissimus dorsi


Deltoid Triceps Brachioradialis Extensors Flexors Abductors

Adductors Hamstrings

Gluteus maximus�

Popliteus Gastrocnemius

Soleus Achilles tendon

Copyright © 2000 WebMD Corporation - All rights reserved.

visit us at

visit us at

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 51

Arterial Supply - Anterior

Anatomical Line Drawings Click here to print line drawing
Click Here. . .to

print line drawing

Carotid Brachiocephalic Internal Mammary Coronary Aorta Celiac Right renal Superior mesenteric Iliac

Aorta Subclavian Axillary Brachial Right gastric Splenic Left renal Radial Ulnar

Arterial arches Femoral Deep femoral


Anterior tibial Posterior tibial

Copyright © 2000 Healtheon/WebMD Corporation - All rights reserved.

visit us at

visit us at

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 52

this reason alone, any physical practice that reduces or eliminates stress can have an substantial impact on the health of an individual. Coincidentally this is why both Western medicine and ancient yogis suggest that the most important class element is shavasana, the final resting posture in a yoga class.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 53

anatomy and Kinesiology terminology abduction Lateral movement away from the midline of the trunk, as in raising the arms or legs to the side horizontally. adduction Movement medially toward the midline of the trunk, as in lowering the arms to the side or legs back to the anatomical position. agonist A muscle or muscle group that is described as being primarily responsible for a specific joint movement when contracting. amphiarthrodial joints Joints that functionally allow only a very slight amount of movement such as synchondrosis (ex. costochondral joint of the ribs with sternum), syndesmosis (ex. distal tibiofibular), and symphysis (ex. symphysis pubis) joints. anatomical position The position of reference in which the subject is in the standing position, with feet together and palms of hands facing forward. antagonist A muscle or muscle group that counteracts or opposes the contraction of another muscle or muscle group. appendicular skeleton The appendages, or the upper and lower extremities, and the shoulder and pelvic girdles. dynamics The study of mechanics involving systems in motion with acceleration. arthrodial joints Joints in which bones glide on each other in limited movement, as in the bones of the wrist (carpal) or the bones of the foot (tarsal). axial skeleton The skull, vertebral column, ribs, and sternum. axis of rotation The point in a joint about which a bone moves or turns to accomplish joint motion. balance The ability to control equilibrium, either static or dynamic.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 54

center of gravity The point at which all of the body’s mass and weight are equally balanced or equally distributed in all directions. central nervous system (CNS) The cerebral cortex, basal ganglia, cerebellum, brain stem, and spinal cord. circumduction Circular movement of a bone at the joint, as in movement of the hip, shoulder, or trunk around a fixed point. Combination of flexion, extension, abduction, and adduction. closed kinetic chain When the distal end of an extremity is fixed, preventing movement of any one joint unless predictable movements of the other joints in the extremity occur. concentric contraction A contraction in which there is a shortening of the muscle that causes motion to occur at the joints it crosses. contractility The ability of muscle to contract and develop tension or internal force against resistance when stimulated. crest Prominent, narrow, ridgelike projection of bone, such as the iliac crest of the pelvis. depression Inferior movement of the shoulder girdle, as in returning to the normal position from a shoulder shrug. dorsal flexion (dorsiflexion) Flexion movement of the ankle resulting in the top of foot moving toward the anterior tibia. eccentric contraction A contraction in which the muscle lengthens in an attempt to control the motion occurring at the joints which it crosses, characterized by the force of gravity or applied resistance being greater than the contractile force. elasticity The ability of muscle to return to its original length following stretching.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 55

elevation Superior movement of the shoulder girdle, as in shrugging the shoulders. equilibrium State of zero acceleration in which there is no change in the speed or direction of the body. eversion Turning of the sole of the foot outward or laterally, as in standing with the weight on the inner edge of the foot. extension Straightening movement resulting in an increase of the angle in a joint by moving bones apart, as when the hand moves away from shoulder during extension of the elbow joint. external rotation Rotary movement around the longitudinal axis of a bone away from the midline of the body. Also known as rotation laterally, outward rotation, and lateral rotation. extrinsic muscles Muscles that arise or originate outside of (proximal to) the body part on which they act. fascia Fibrous membrane covering, supporting, connecting, and separating muscles. first-class lever A lever in which the axis (fulcrum) is between the force and the resistance, as in the extension of the elbow joint. flexion Movement of the bones toward each other at a joint by decreasing the angle, as in moving the hand toward the shoulder during elbow flexion. Golgi tendon organ (GTO) A proprioceptor, sensitive to both muscle tension and active contraction, found in the tendon close to the muscle tendon junction. hamstrings A common name given to the group of posterior thigh muscles: biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. horizontal abduction Movement of the humerus in the horizontal plane away from the midline of the body.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 56

horizontal adduction Movement of the humerus in the horizontal plane toward the midline of the body. inertia Resistance to action or change; resistance to acceleration or deceleration. Inertia is the tendency for the current state of motion to be maintained, regardless of whether the body segment is moving at a particular velocity or is motionless. innervation The supplying of a muscle, organ, or body part with nerves. insertion The distal attachment or point of attachment of a muscle farthest from the midline or center of the body, generally considered the most movable part. internal rotation Rotary movement around the longitudinal axis of a bone toward the midline of the body. Also known as rotation medially, inward rotation, and medial rotation. intrinsic muscles Muscles that are entirely contained within a specified body part; usually refers to the small, deep muscles found in the foot and hand. inversion Turning of the sole of the foot inward or medially, as in standing with the weight on the outer edge of the foot. isokinetic Type of dynamic exercise usually using concentric and/ or eccentric muscle contractions in which the speed (or velocity) of movement is constant and muscular contraction (usually maximal contraction) occurs throughout the movement. isometric contraction A type of contraction with little or no shortening of the muscle resulting in no appreciable change in the joint angle. isotonic Contraction occurring in which there is either shortening or lengthening in the muscle under tension; also known as a dynamic contraction, and classified as being either concentric or eccentric.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 57

kinesiology The science of movement, which includes anatomical (structural) and biomechanical (mechanical) aspects of movement. kyphosis Increased anterior concavity of the normal thoracic curve. The lumbar spine may have a reduction of its normal lordotic curve, resulting in a flat-back appearance referred to as lumbar kyphosis. lateral axis Axis that has the same directional orientation as the frontal plane of motion and runs from side to side at a right angle to the sagittal plane of motion. Also known as the frontal or coronal axis. lateral flexion Movement of the head and/or trunk laterally away from the midline; abduction of spine. lever A rigid bar (bone) that moves about an axis. ligament A type of tough connective tissue that attaches bone to bone to provide static stability to joints. lordosis Increased posterior concavity of the lumbar and cervical curves. mass The amount of matter in a body. movement phase The action part of a skill, sometimes known as the acceleration, action, motion, or contact phase. Phase physiological movement Normal movements of joints such as flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, and rotation, accomplished by bones moving through planes of motion about an axis of rotation at the joint. muscle spindle A proprioceptor sensitive to stretch and the rate of stretch that is concentrated primarily in the muscle belly between the fibers.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 58

neuron Nerve cell that is the basic functional unit of the nervous system responsible for generating and transmitting impulses. neutralizers Muscles that counteract or neutralize the action of other muscles to prevent undesirable movements; referred to as neutralizing, they contract to resist specific actions of other muscles. open kinetic chain When the distal end of an extremity is not fixed to any surface, allowing any one joint in the extremity to move or function separately without necessitating movement of other joints in the extremity. opposition Diagonal movement of the thumb across the palmar surface of the hand to make contact with the fingers. origin The proximal attachment or point of attachment of a muscle closest to the midline or center of the body, generally considered the least movable part. osteoblasts Specialized cells that form new bone. osteoclasts Specialized cells that resorb new bone. palpation Using the sense of touch to feel or examine a muscle or other tissue. peripheral nervous system (PNS) Portion of the nervous system containing the sensory and motor divisions of all the nerves throughout the body except those found in the central nervous system. plantar flexion Extension movement of the ankle, resulting in the foot and/or toes moving away from the body. preparatory phase Skill analysis phase, often referred to as the cocking or wind-up phase, used to lengthen the appropriate muscles so that they will be in position to generate more force and momentum as they concentrically contract in the next phase.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 59

pronation Internally rotating the radius so that it lies diagonally across the ulna, resulting in the palm-down position of the forearm; term also refers to the combined movements of eversion, abduction, and external rotation of the foot and ankle. protraction Forward movement of the shoulder girdle away from the spine; abduction of the scapula. proximal Nearest to the midline or point of reference; the forearm is proximal to the hand. quadriceps A common name given to the four muscles of the anterior aspect of the thigh: rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and vastus lateralis. reciprocal inhibition Activation of the motor units of the agonists, causing a reciprocal neural inhibition of the motor units of the antagonists, which allows them to subsequently lengthen under less tension. Also referred to as reciprocal innervation. retraction Backward movement of the shoulder girdle toward the spine; adduction of the scapula. rotation Movement around the axis of a bone, such as the turning inward, outward, downward, or upward of a bone. rotator cuff Group of muscles intrinsic to the glenohumeral joint, consisting of the subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and teres minor, that is critical in maintaining dynamic stability of the joint. sagittal plane Plane that bisects the body from front to back, dividing it into right and left symmetrical halves. Also known as the anteroposterior, or AP plane. scoliosis Lateral curvatures or sideward deviations of the spine. second-class lever A lever in which the resistance is between the axis (fulcrum) and the force (effort), as in plantar flexing the foot to raise up on the toes.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 60

sensory neurons Neurons that transmit impulses to the spinal cord and brain from all parts of the body. somatic nerves (voluntary) Afferent nerves, which are under conscious control and carry impulses to skeletal muscles. speed How fast an object is moving, or the distance an object travels in a specific amount of time. spinal cord The common pathway between the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. spinal nerves The group of 31 pairs of nerves that originate from the spinal cord and exit the spinal column on each side through openings between the vertebrae. They run directly to specific anatomical locations, form different plexuses, and eventually become peripheral nerve braches. stability The resistance to a change in the body’s acceleration; the resistance to a disturbance of the body’s equilibrium. stabilizers Muscles that surround the joint or body part and contract to fixate or stabilize the area to enable another limb or body segment to exert force and move; known as fixators, they are essential in establishing a relatively firm base for the more distal joints to work from when carrying out movements. supination Externally rotating the radius to where it lies parallel to the ulna, resulting in the palm-up position of the forearm; term is also used in referring to the combined movements of inversion, adduction, and internal rotation of the foot and ankle. synergist Muscles that assist in the action of the agonists but are not primarily responsible for the action; known as guiding muscles, they assist in refined movement and rule out undesired motions. synovial joints Freely movable diarthrodial joints containing a joint capsule and hyaline cartilage and lubricated by synovial fluid.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 61

tendon Fibrous connective tissue, often cordlike in appearance, that connects muscles to bones and other structures. third-class lever A lever in which the force (effort) is between the axis (fulcrum) and the resistance, as in flexion of the elbow joint. torque Moment of force. The turning effect of an eccentric force. transverse plane Plane that divides the body horizontally into superior and inferior halves; also known as horizontal plane. velocity Includes the direction and describes the rate of displacement.

Root Work: describing the Body Position in an asana
Developing familiarity and facility with movement terminology requires a good deal of patience and practice. In order to make this process easier, we will be incorporating this language into our training. However, as on-going exercise, try to think of each asana in terms of its anatomic position. As you learn each pose, focus on how the actions work in terms of anatomical language. Although it may be difficult at first, you will find that continuous exposure and work with the language will help.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 62

The Practice of Asana
Hatha Yoga Pradipika Gheranda Samhita Hatha Yoga Pradipika 1.10, 17 Hatha is the sanctuary for those suffering every type of pain. It is the foundation for those practicing every type of Yoga. Asanas are described first because they are the first step of Hatha. They give steadiness, health, and lightness of body. gheranda Samhita 1.4, 1.8, 1.9 There is no fetter like illusion, no force greater than Yoga, no friend greater than knowledge, and no enemy greater than ego. Like an unbaked pot in water, the body is always decaying. One should bake it with the fire of Yoga and make it pure. Purification, strength, steadiness, calmness, lightness, realization, and abstraction are the seven means of perfecting the body.

Key Points
TT Asana TT In

is the tool of purifying the physical body, “baking” it into firmness through the heat of practice. the IWM, asana helps to address physiological imbalance and improves strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, and control.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 63

TT Alignment is critical to the overall success of achieving the goal of

the asana and, by extension, the asana practice.

the Fundamentals of asana
In Sanskrit, the word asana is literally “seat.” The earliest definition of asana was the meditative posture assumed by yogins. Later, during the rise of tantra, asana came to include specific body positions that were used to cultivate readiness for seated meditation. When Krishnamacharya reintroduced the practice of asana, he drew from Tibetan physical movement practices; traditional hatha yoga postures; and the content of the Srittattvanidhi and Vyayama Dipika, two manuals of physical movement from the palace of Mysore. What is an asana? What constitutes an asana is open to interpretation. The asanas mentioned in the classical yoga texts are a combination of seated postures, twists, basic forward bends and backbends. However, there are only 84 asanas mentioned in these texts. According to T.K.V. Desikachar, Krishnamacharya’s guru in Tibet knew around 5,000 asanas, and Krishnamacharya himself was reputed to know 3,000. Tradition states that the Lord Shiva, when demonstrating the first asanas, produced 8,400,0000 asanas, representing the complete spectrum of all living things. In essence, all positions of the body, when fixed, are an asana. The classical and modern Indian asanas reflect the traditional dance, martial arts, gymnastic, and wrestling movements of its culture. The movements of tai chi, Brazilian capoeira, Japanese karate kata, and other martial systems all contain movements or positions that call to mind Indian asanas. As evidenced by the animal names of several asanas, the ancient Indian yogis also drew from their natural environment; the same is found in Chinese martial arts, where styles are named after animal influences (e.g. crane, monkey, tiger).

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 64

Within Bhakti Warrior Yoga, asana is a static position of the limbs that cultivate certain physical qualities. There are 108 asanas that we focus on in our workshops as exemplars of the possibilities within asana, and because of their applicability to creating the qualities of strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, and control. They also represent a broad range of complexity, providing challenge as a practitioner’s capacity grows. These 108 asanas are a starting point for the creativity of the practitioner, not the end point. the directions of Mobility In discussing asana, yogacharya Andrey Lappa proposes a model of physical asana that begins from the multiple movement directions presented at all joints in the body. Lappa identifies 9 basic mobility potentials for each joint:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Neutral Forward bend (Flexion) Back bend (Extension) Bending to the right (Lateral Flexion) Bending to the left (Lateral Flexion) Twisting to the right (Rotation) Twisting to the left (Rotation) Increasing the space within the joint capsule (extension) Decreasing the space within the joint capsule (compression)

In Lappa’s system, these 9 movements can be combined, creating bi- and tri-directional combinations. There are approximately 230 joints in the body, with varying degrees of movement. These include the joints that make up the skull and pelvis that are functionally unmovable without external

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 65

manipulation. After we remove these joints, we are left with the following synovial joints:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Toes Ankles Knees Hips Lower Spine Middle Spine Neck Shoulders Elbows Wrists Fingers
The fingers we will return to in later discussions, as they are important part of mudras. Mudras are specific positions of the body that create specific mental effects on the body.

These 11 zones have multiple mobilities with which we can form body positions. We will exclude the fingers and toes for now, leaving us with 9 zones of multiple mobility. Each of these 9 zones of mobility have specific possible movements. For example, the neck can perform all 9 directions of movement, whereas the knee can only perform 6, and only does 4 in common practice. To complete our understanding of the directions of mobility, we must also add the basic starting positions. These are:

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 66

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Standing (Head Up) Inverted (Head Down) Lying on the right side (Laterally Recumbent) Lying on the left side (Laterally Recumbent) Lying on the belly (Prone) Lying on the back (Supine)

These six positions combined with the joints and directions of mobility create the complete palette for the creation of asana. universal alignment within asanas In the mind of the beginner, the most important question regarding asana is, “Am I doing the pose correctly?” For the advanced practitioner, “correctly” is determined by the desired effect upon the various layers of the body. However, the beginner requires definite guidance on how to place their limbs in position, and how to sustain the posture. While every asana has its own unique elements from a physical execution perspective, there are some universal alignment principles that can be applied to almost all asanas. These universal alignment principles are:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Begin with relaxation. Maximally extend the spine in all positions. Allow all poses to lift out their base by pushing downward. Square the knee and hip joints. Discomfort is expected, but pain is not.

The first principle reminds students that the body needs to begin in a state of relaxed awareness. Beginners typically over tense the body, leading to discomfort and exaggerated activation of the

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 67

muscles. Over time, this results in either injury or imbalance. Areas that are usually overactivated include the shoulders, neck, hands, and feet. Reminding students to begin with relaxation reduces the risk of injury and improves the effectiveness of the practice. Maximally extending the spine in all positions is an important part of preventing injury to all segments of the back. The health of the spine is considered the indicator of an individual’s age, and yogins work to maintain the suppleness of the spine well past the average point at which Westerners begin to complain of back problems. While incredibly well designed and strong, the spine is easily damaged and eventually destroyed by actions such as excessive spinal flexion, or combining flexion with rotation. For that reason, even in positions of flexion, practitioners should be encouraged to create as much space between the vertebrae as possible. All poses should have a sense of buoyancy to them. This buoyancy is created by pressing down through the base of the pose, an action that lifts the body up from its base. Many new students to yoga will passively hold a pose, either by allowing gravity to drag the frame of the body down or by locking joints (such as the elbows and knees). Neither is desirable. Students should learn to stamp down through the feet, press down through the hands, or similar actions to activate the pose. This pressing down creates a lift in the pose that gives it both strength and grace. Squaring the knee and hip joints creates additional stability and support in poses. In lunge poses, particularly those with back knee lifted, the student should be encouraged to create a square underneath the forward knee joint to maintain the knee over the ankle. Because of the relationship between the pelvis and the spine, when the hip bones are not placed in the correct position there can be excessive stress placed on the spine. For that reason, practitioners should be encouraged to square the hip bones in the appropriate direction (this includes poses in the prone and supine position).

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 68

Finally, new students will typically wonder what the appropriate level of sensation should be. Students with low body awareness will have a particular problem with this, as they may not be able to differentiate between discomfort and pain. Many new students will complain that “yoga hurts” because it challenges their physical limits in unexpected ways. However, this is completely normal and not a cause for alarm. Students will learn to tolerate the discomfort of the poses and differentiate between the physical challenges of the practice. Students should never feel pain inside a joint—this indicates a potential joint misalignment in a pose. These pains can usually be corrected by following the first four principles. When instructing an asana class, the instructor should take care to remind new students often of these principles and encourage the creation of sensation in a pose that is devoid of pain. Advanced students and classes should focus on generating the maximum level of sensation in a pose, playing the edge in a way that is difficult or impossible for new students. the Bhakti Warrior 108 Bhakti Warrior Yoga focuses on an approximately 108 poses that help to develop the asana vocabulary of the student. They represent each of the major categories of asana, including poses that develop strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. They also provide the foundation for our later investigation of the more esoteric aspects of yoga. As indicated in the above discussion, the ultimate vocabulary of asana is limited only by the imagination and capacity of the teacher and his or her students. The creation of new variations of asanas is an important part of investigating our own physical, mental, and energetic capacities.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 69

Methods of Instructing and Correcting asana
When teaching asana either as standalone exercises or part of a vinyasa (see below), it is important to be clear and concise when instructing alignment. New instructors have polar tendencies when first instructing alignment: they are either so nervous that they say nothing, or they attempt to communicate every nuance of the pose, by which time the student has held the pose for a good deal of time without internally integrating it. The best option is a happy medium between the two. Visual and auditory Input Most students need visual input in order to perform the pose, and will mimic the teacher’s body position. For this reason, it is important to do the asana or vinyasa practice with your class. You will save valuable time and words providing students with this visual information regarding a pose. Words can then be used to explore nuances of the pose that are not visible to the naked eye. When describing aspects of the pose, avoid overly technical jargon or “yoga-like” phrases that have no practical meaning to the student. For example, if the mid-back needs to move in a certain way, some teachers will say “inflate the kidneys.” The kidneys cannot be inflated, nor are the kidneys the primary focus of the pose. While these flowery metaphors may appeal to the mind or humor of the student, they are not truly useful. Particularly with beginners, it is important to emphasize the macroscopic actions in the pose. If we are cueing a plank position, then we might focus on pressing the hands into the floor to straighten the arms, while drawing the belly up and into the body. This creates the alignment sought by the phrase “inflate the kidneys,” but in a much more accessible and precise way.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 70

Criteria for Choosing to address Misalignments Many styles emphasize alignment, and the critical aspect of correcting students who are not in proper alignment. If the primary concern of the student in coming to yoga is to master the poses, then this is important. However, many students come to yoga classes for the enjoyment of the group movement and energy, not for personal evolution. In the case of yoga for pleasure (bhoga), correcting alignment in students is only necessary if it endangers the health of their joints. When students come to the practice of yoga seeking greater benefits to their health and well-being, then the correction of misalignments is both recommended and helpful. We will know these students because they will seek us out after class, asking questions about the practice and about what they can do to improve it. With these students, it is important to emphasize the universal alignment principles. This will help them to begin to detect and remove common and easily corrected misalignments, leaving you as the instructor to provide the more nuanced corrections. Visual Corrections When correcting a student who is grossly misaligned, you should begin by demonstrating the pose next to the student so that they can again see the general blueprint of the pose. Encourage the student to look at your body and then his or her own to determinate where changes need to take place. This is the fastest way of making alignment changes, and requires no touching. Verbal Corrections For smaller misalignments, a quick verbal correction is usually all that is necessary. Verbal corrections need to be clear and concise. “Raise the arm higher” is concise, but not at all clear. A better correction would be “lift your front arm to shoulder height and press forward through your fingertips.” This statement is both clear

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 71

The Practice of Vinyasa
The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga the Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga pg. xvii Vinyasa krama yoga is an ancient practice of physical and spiritual development. It is a systematic method to study, practice, teach, and adapt yoga. [Through t]his vinyasa krama (movement and sequence methodology)...a practitioner will experience the real joy of yoga practice.

Key Points
TT Bhakti

Warrior Yoga asana classes use a blueprint that combines a functional training approach with the pratikriyasana concept of Krishnamacharya to create balanced sequences. vinyasa begins with the concept that the body can be moved in space in multiple ways, and that use of all these dimensions is essential in a balanced yoga class. be used to accommodate the multi-dimensional vinyasa flows.

TT Multi-dimensional

TT More than one mat, a specially designed round mat, or no mat may

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 72

Foundational Vinyasa Concepts
The word vinyasa means “to place in special way” and krama is defined as “a course of action” or “in the proper order.” While we typically hear the word vinyasa applied to asana classes, vinyasa krama encompasses a much larger perspective. The natural flow of any system, from the macrocosmic universe to the microcosmic innerverse of the human body, is governed by specific inherent rhythms and processes that proceed in dynamic relationship to changes and fluctuations. We see these rhythms most profoundly expressed in nature, where plants and animals exist in a continuous and harmonious cycle of mutual influence. As Lao Tzu writes in the Tao Te Ching regarding this natural order: Tao gives life to all beings. Nature nourishes them. Fellow creatures shape them. Circumstances complete them. Everything in existence respects Tao and honors nature— not by decree, but spontaneously. Observing and being in harmony with this natural rhythm is the deepest expression of vinyasa krama. As is obvious from our own experience, however, human beings have the rare ability to consciously choose behaviors. This freedom of choice means that we must work to achieve a modicum of integration within ourselves, our communities, and our environment. When we apply the philosophy of vinyasa krama to our physical practice, the qualities of our internal and external environment dictate the nature of our activity. Many or most people perform the same physical movements for exercise regardless of the time of day, the season, the physical condition of the body, to name only a few factors. At the initial level of practice, utilizing the same

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 73

practice makes it easy for students to integrate the elements of the practice. However, once a practitioner has mastered an extensive vocabulary of exercise and understands how to form them into a coherent sequence, practice is ideally a spontaneous response to the condition of the body. Realistically, this level of awareness does not arise for most practitioners unless they have been taught to choose their practices out of a deep awareness of their bodies and its inherent needs. Conceptual Models for designing Physical Practices There are many conceptual models and rules to describe how one should design a physical practice. To ignite our thinking regarding this topic, the following is a list of concepts with short descriptions.

Preset Practices. As discussed above, the simplest form of vinyasa practices are those that are preset. A classic example of this is the Ashtanga Vinyasa system of Pattabhi Jois. Ashtanga yoga consists of six sequences of increasing complexity that are taught in a fixed manner. All Asthanga classes begin with a series of sun salutation variations, followed by a series of warmup poses, and ending with standard sequence of backbends, inversions, and lotus pose variations. In between these is the main sequence, identified as First Series, Second Series, Third Series, and so on. Traditionally, the practice is not changed or adapted for the individual, based on the mindset that the student practices what they can, and pauses in a certain posture before moving on to the next. Pratikriyasana. Prati means “in opposition to” and kriya means “action.” Pratikriyasana, which is the basis of Krishnamacharya later method of physical practice, involves a balancing of physical actions of asanas. At its simplest level, this means that each pose in the sequence must have a pose that creates the opposite effect (e.g. a backbend followed by forward fold).


Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 74

At a higher level of complexity, the concept of pratikriyasana is applied to the entire arc of a sequence, implying that there is an overall balance. This requires more awareness on the part of the teacher and the practitioner.

Rasa Vinyasas. Rasa means “juice” and also refers to the taste in food and human emotional states. Developed by Shiva Rea, rasa vinyasa provides a framework for choosing poses based on the overall physical quality of the practice. For example, “hero” practices (vira rasa) have a number of arm balances, standing poses, and other asanas that build strength and endurance in the body. “Peace” practices (shanti rasa) cultivate relaxation and internal tranquility through forward bend, hip openers, and other “meditative” asanas. In her practices, Rea combines her self-developed style with Krishnamachrya’s pratikriyasana concept. Functional Classification. Andrey Lappa proposes a functional classification for asanas and by extension vinyasa. Instead of the commonly used categories such as “forward bends” or “standing poses,” Lappa proposes categories that relate to the function of the poses. His categories include: stretching asana, strengthening asanas, asana for coordination, asanas for balance, and exercise for reaction. Based on this model, the overall design of a class can be thought of in terms of this functional focus. For example, a vinyasa practice focused on strengthening would incorporate many poses for strength development, while less of the poses in other categories. Lappa further adds the ideas of dynamic and static to each category. For example, strength may be developed statically (by holding plank position) or dynamically (performing push-ups). This model is highly useful for Western students, as it can connect an asana practice to specific goals of the practitioner. Spontaneous. In the spontaneous model, the practitioner responds dynamically to the signals of his or her body. In this



Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 75

advanced level of practice, there is no pre-planning. This form is highly useful in personal practice, but practically impossible in group classes. the general arc of a Bhakti Warrior Vinyasa Class Bhakti Warrior vinyasa classes embrace the functional training model with the conscious application of pratikriyasana for overall structural balancing. The goal of every vinyasa class is to touch on all components of physical development, with or without a specific focus in the individual vinyasa class. A general Bhakti Warrior vinyasa class follow a general template in order to provide the student and the teacher with a consistent approach to achieving the goals of the class. The overall elements are:

Tuning-in. During tuning-in, the instructor encourages the students to connect with their bodies. Techniques and focuses such as body scanning, following the flow of the breath, noticing where the body feels steady or in need, etc. are ways to guide the student into the initial stage of physical awareness. Breath activation through OM. All Bhakti Warrior Vinyasa classes include the invocation of Om as a unifying experience for the class. Since chanting or singing also represents a spontaneous and powerful form of pranayama, it also helps to activate the breath and increase breath awareness. Self-massage. Ayurveda recommends self-massage as a powerful tool for self-awareness and healing. Students can be encouraged to either do self-massage of the limbs, surface of the chest, and belly using a squeezing or milking action with the hand, or by tapping the limbs. Tapping involves an open hand slap moving from the proximal to distal end of a limb and back again. Tapping is a more invigorating and energizing practice, and should be used as such.



Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 76


Dynamic kriya. After the grounding exercises, students then are taken through a series of dynamic kriyas to awaken the body. Unlike asanas, kriyas are typically more free-form and do not have a fixed or “correct” alignment. Even though they are dynamic, these kriyas help the student to identify imbalances and sensations throughout the whole body. This information is then used as input to the rest of the practice. Several different types of dynamic kriya are possible, and many of the Bhakti Warrior kriyas are drawn from various movement systems from around the world. Grounding namaskars. Once students have achieved full-body awakening and embodiment from the kriyas, this energy is infused in the body through a series of grounding namaskars, or honoring sequences. Surya Namaskar, the Sun Salute, is perhaps the most well-known namaskar, but any consistent sequence of poses or movements that cultivates a specific awareness and honors an aspect of the world or life experience can be considered a namaskar. These namaskars are rhythmic in approach, but should focus on steadying the practitioner. Core cultivation. Consciously developing the musculature of trunk is a key component of Western yoga, and creates psychospiritual benefits as well. After grounding namaskars, students are taken through a series of exercises the strengthen and open the abdominal muscles, the lower back, chest, and upper back. Traditional sit-ups and other Western physical culture exercises can be used here in addition to, or as a substitute for, asanas and specific pranayamas and kriyas. Multi-dimensional vinyasa sequences. In this segment, the instructor leads students through the main focus on the class. This may consist of one or more sequences developed by the instructor in advance or spontaneously. This sequence uses the specific functional and pratikriyasana focus described above.




Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 77


Pranayama. After the completion of the main vinyasa sequences, time is taken to cultivate one or more pranayamas. At the beginning level, the basic pranayamas of nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing), bhastrika (bellows breath), or kapalabhati (skull-cleaning breath, “breath of fire”) should be taught and practiced. As students become better able to perform these basic pranayamas, instructors can introduce advanced pranayamas involving combinations or more challenging techniques. Dharana/Shavasana. Following pranayama, students will cultivate either a practice of dharana or recline into shavasana. During this period, students should be encouraged to completely release both physical and mental strain and learn to rest in the body as it is. This may go on for only a few to several minutes depending on the class. As stated above, this is the most important segment of class, and must always be incorporated. When bringing students out of shavasana, the transition should be gradual and should not disturb the quality of mind and body. Closing. Students who are on their backs should be brought back to seated, preferably without rolling onto their sides. Once the entire class has come to seated, the class as a whole intones a final Om, connecting the beginning and end of the class. After this, the students and instructor salute each other with a bow and the word namaste.



All Bhakti Warrior instructors should follow this general class blueprint. There is complete freedom in how the instructor conducts each segment; however, each segment should be included in every class.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 78

This class format evolved overall several years of practice and study of multiple styles of yoga. In designing the blueprint, I wanted to ensure that I included asana, pranayama, chanting, and meditation. I also wanted to consistently and consciously include dynamic, free-form movement. In my time teaching, I have found that many students have lost a sense of joy in being in their own bodies and trusting their movement instincts. The dynamic kriyas are intended to bring people back into this awareness, and encourage them to experience joy within themselves. The kriyas and free-form movement are particularly valuable for students who become frustrated by difficulty in getting into the asanas. One of my students who became a teacher told me she always includes dancing in her classes, and she notices that the less fit and capable students find it incredibly freeing and rewarding.

Foundations of Multi-dimensional Vinyasa
The yoga mat has come to define the limits of a traditional yoga practice. The standard yoga mat measures about three feet wide and can be between five and seven feet long. Most vinyasa practices begin “at the top of the mat,” meaning that most of the mat is behind the student. From here, the student usually steps forward and back into various positions, as instructed by the teacher. Certain advanced practitioners may incorporate gymnastic transitions (such as rolling from the back into Downward Facing Dog, a common movement in Ashtanga Yoga). However, it rarely occurs to most practitioners to question the space restriction that the mat creates. The term “multi-dimensional vinyasa” has many layers of meaning. The first meaning and the one on which we will focus for the time being is that asanas and their associated vinyasas occur in threedimensional space. For sake of ease, we can define these three dimensions as:

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 79


Forward-and-back. Characterized by moving from the “front” of the mat to the back of the mat and forward again. An example of this sequence would be stepping back from uttanasana into adho mukha svanasana and back again. This is the most common movement pattern in vinyasa classes. Side-to-Side. Characterized by moving laterally on the mat. Because of limitations of the standard mat formation, most students come in to side-to-side movements by stepping back, rotating to face the “long edge” of the mat, then moving laterally. However, this can also be achieved by stepping or jumping wide “off the mat” and coming into the same movement. Up-and-down. Characterized by moving vertically up-or-down. This occurs in most vinyasa classes by coming from a head down to a head up position (e.g. uttanasana to tadasana). However, advanced practitioners can also achieve this through somersaults (forward or back) or using inverted positions (such as Handstand) to transit directly into head up positions.



To these three dimensions, we need to add the concept of rotation or spin. In three dimensional space, all objects can spin along its axis, or central point. As we all know, the earth rotates around its axis creating, among other things, day and night. For the human body, the central axis is the spine and our center of gravity, the imaginary line of force that keeps us fixed to earth and is integral to our sense of balance. one dimension Practice: Basic Concept These four elements—the three dimensions and rotation—are the conceptual foundation for a multi-dimensional practice. In order to both simplify the concept and give it a practical focus, we can speak of one, two, or three-dimension vinyasa flows. At this time, we will focus on the idea of a one dimension vinyasa flow.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 80

In one dimension vinyasa flow, we use one yoga mat. Within the structural limit of the mat, we have one dimension of movement— forward-and-back—with rotation. The simplest example of a one dimension vinyasa is the Sun Salutation, in which we start and end at the front of the mat, and use steps forward and back to transition between the two points. In addition to forward and back steps, we can also use rotation to change the orientation of the class. The following is a sequence that uses rotation to transition from one side in an asana sequence to another:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Tadasana Uttanasana Anjaneyasana (left foot back) Prasarita Padottanasana (90° degree rotation to the left) Anjaneyasana (90° degree rotation to the left) Parvritta Jagghika Prasarita Padottanasana (90° degree rotation to the left) [literally, twisted legs spread out foot pose, where the thighs are crossed and feet are wide, hands come to the floor]

This is a simplistic sequence that utilizes 90° degree rotations to come to each pose. It is also possible to use 180° rotations from lunges to change sides in a pose. For example, in virabhadrasana II/B we can start the pose with left foot back, right foot at front; to change sides, we can simply rotate to face the back of the mat. one dimension Practice: asana Selection In all levels of practice, the instructor selects asana based on the functional outcome of the practice. In a one dimension practice, asana selection is also governed by the relative ease of transit from one pose to another. The general rule in this matter is that poses that share the same base can be linked together. For example, the

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 81

base in utthita trikonasana is the feet with the legs in a spread position. Poses with a similar base include virabhadrasana I and II, utthita parsvakonasana, parsva virabhadrasana II, among others. All of these poses could be possibilities for the next pose following uttihita trikonasana. In performing the asanas within a one dimension vinyasa practice, the only additional recommendation for new instructors is to ensure that the sequence is balanced between the right and left sides of the body.

Root Work: Constructing a one dimension Sequence
As a practical exercise, you will create a one dimension vinyasa sequence using a minimum of 10 asanas. You may begin the sequence from any starting point. As you construct the sequence, remember to select a particular focus (strengthening, stretching, balance, etc.) so that the sequence of poses has internal consistency and resonance.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 82

Introduction to Ayurveda
Charaka Samhita Susruta Samhita Ashtañga Samgraha of Vagbhata Charaka Samhita I.41, I.15-17 Ayurveda is that which deals with good, bad, happy and unhappy life, its promoters and non-promoters, measurement and nature. Disease-free condition is the best source of virtue, wealth, gratification and emancipation while the disease are destroyers of this (source), welfare and life itself. Susruta Samhita I.14 Ayurveda has two objectives—alleviation of disorders in the diseased and maintenance of the healthy. ashtañga Samgraha of Vaghata I.3 Persons who are desirous of a life which is the means (cause, source, instrument) to obtain dharma (religious merit, righteousness), artha (wealth) and sukha (happiness), should bestow utmost faith in the teachings of ayurveda.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 83

Key Points
TT Maintenance TT Proper TT The

of the digestive and integrative fire of the body, or agni, is the focus of ayurveda. diet and exercise, determined by the constitution or dosha of the individual, is central to the maintenance of agni. cultivation of daily routine, including a practice of yoga, is important for the establishment of a balanced life.

essentials of ayurveda
Ayurveda has existed as fully developed system of preventative and curative medicine since before the modern era, and has roots stretching back thousands of years. Within its own textual records, ayurveda is described as a gift from the god Brahman in response to the suffering of mankind. The main wisdom of ayurveda is contained in three still existing and available texts: the Charaka Samhita, the Sushruta Samhita, and the Ashtanga Samgraha of Vagbhata. Each text contains an extraordinary level of insight regarding the human body, its condition in health and disease, and the promoters and detractors of good health. the doshas The ancient ayurvedic physicians believed that the human body was comprised of the same elements that formed the universe. This belief is part of Samkhya philosophy, which is one of the most influential systems of thought from vedic times. According to Kapila, the developer of the Samkhya school, the universe is comprised of five elements, which were born as a progressive evolution of the previous element. These five elements are:

Ether. The most subtle of the five elements, ether represents unused potential. It is the space within things that allows them to be filled with something else.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 84


Air. As ether began to move, it created air. Air represents movement and fluidity without shape or substance. Fire. As air began to move, it created friction, which sparked fire. Fire is the principle of warmth and radiance of light. Water. The heat of fire created water. Water is the principle of fluid movement with shape and substance. Earth. When slowed, water became earth. Earth is the principle of stability and solidness.




The ancient ayurvedic physicians felt that these five elements exist in all human beings. They perceived these five elements combining into specific pairs of elements known as doshas. The three doshas are:
1. 2. 3.

Vata. The principle of movement, comprised of air and ether. Pitta. The principle of heat, comprised of fire and water. Kapha. The principle of stability and structure, comprised of earth and water.

Each of the principles is further described by various gunas, or qualities, that relate to the elemental make-up of the dosha. For example, vata, which is comprised of air and ether, relates to the qualities of dry, rough, mobile, and cold (much like wind itself); pitta, in contrast, relates to the qualities of hot, oily, sharp, and mobile. All human beings have distinct combinations of these elements. In ayurveda, this constitution is known as prakriti (the original form). Due to choices of diet, exercise, and other lifestyle elements, the doshas increase or decrease from their original state, leading to vikriti (altered form). The goal of ayurvedic treatment is to bring the patient back to their prakriti, which is the patient’s natural state of health and wellness.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 85

agni: the Key element of ayurveda Almost all cultures held the fire element in high regard and revered it as the source of life and comfort. In India, the vedic seers worshipped the fire element as agni, which is both a cosmic principle and personifying deity. Agni is the fire element at all levels of the universe, from the sun down to the individual human fire. In humans there are several different types of agni, all of which are responsible for transformation. For example, the ayurvedic seers considered the act of digesting food to be an action of the gastric fire. In the ayurvedic conception of the body, there is a fire for each of the five elements that is responsible for breaking down that element in food; there is also a fire for each of the seven types of tissue in the body. The purpose of ayurvedic treatment is to protect and preserve agni. Substances added to the body, such as food, water, and those things applied to the skin, all must pass through agni. If the substance cannot be consumed by agni, it will leave behind large amounts of waste. In ayurveda, this waste is known as ama, or toxins. When these toxins accumulate, disease occurs. ayurvedic Healing Methods: diet, Herbs, and Panchakarma Ayurveda has an incredibly rich set of tools and medical procedures for returning a client to health, including invasive surgical techniques. Most ayurvedic healing methods respect the natural mechanisms of the body, so most treatments revolve around assisting the healing process, rather than aggressively attacking the source of the disease. Also, because of its antiquity, many ayurvedic medicines are based in the components of plants, although there are some very complex, and controversial, techniques involving metals, gems, and other materials that are powdered and combined to create healing salves and ingested substances. Three major components of ayurvedic healing are diet, herbs, and panchakarma, or the five cleansing actions. While many people

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 86

studying yoga state that they follow an “ayurvedic diet,” the genius of ayurveda is that there is no standard dietary practices. Although ayurveda emphasizes a diet rich in unprocessed, natural foods, the specific foods that an individual should eat is entirely based on his or her prakriti or vikriti. For example, cooked carrots would be a poor choice for someone with an over development of pitta (because carrots are warming, and cooking them adds additional heat), but may be perfect for kaphas (as the cold, damp earth elements is balanced with warmth). Therefore an ayurvedic diet consists of dynamic choices based on the current constitution and need of the individual, a choice that alters depending on the season, the time of day, and the other foods that a person may eat as part of their meal. Herbs and spices are an important component of ayurvedic healing. Physicians differentiate herbs from spices, since spices are predominantly used to change the effects of cooked food. Herbs are seen as healing tools that can be taken alone or in combination to achieve a desired effect. Through meticulous observation of the effects of certain herbs or herbal combinations, ayurvedic physicians discovered centuries ago what modern science is now confirming with molecular analysis: the naturally occurring elements in plants confer immense healing benefits in the human body. There is a vast number of herbals used in ayurveda. The most common ayurvedic formulation used in healing is triphala, or the three fruits. Consisting of parts of three plants (haritaki, bibitaki, and amalaki), triphala is considered a key element in healing and caring for the internal organs. In a study on the effects of radiation on mice, doses of triphala helped to reduce the extent of cellular death and formation of free radicals. Triphala is rich in vitamin C and several other active compounds, including those with anti-HIV, cancer, and anti-mutagenic. Panchakarma is the third most common ayurvedic treatment. It consists of several days of cleansing diet and treatments that can

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 87

include vomiting, blood-letting, massage, enemas, sweating, and nasal medications. Panchakarma is an intense procedure that must be performed under the care of an experienced practitioner or physician, and is only appropriate for those strong enough to undergo the treatments. The purpose of the treatment is to cleanse the three doshas and rid the body of ama, thus strengthening agni and removing the symptoms of disease. Prior to panchakarma, the patient performs several days of preparatory procedures, including internal oleation to help move ama during the procedure. Once the procedure is begun, the patient typically eats kitchari, a light and nourishing soup of mung beans and rice. After the panchkarma process, the body should feel light, balanced, and healthy. the daily Routine Ayurveda stresses a daily routine that helps to cultivate physical and mental health. The following daily routine is recommended by Vasant Lad, and is very similar to the daily routines proposed by other ayurvedic practitioners.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Wake Up Early in the Morning. Say a Prayer before Leaving the Bed. Clean the Face, Mouth, and Eyes. Drink Water in the Morning. Evacuation. Scrape your Tongue. Clean your Teeth. Gargling. Chewing. Nasal Drops (Nasya). Oil Drops in the Ears (Karana purana).

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 88

12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

Apply Oil to the Head & Body (Abhyanga). Bathing. Dressing. Use of Perfumes. Exercise. Pranayama. Meditation. Eat according to your dosha.

Root Work: determining Your dosha and diet
While adopting an ayurvedic diet is not required for a yoga practitioner, determing your dosha and seeing how it influences your daily and dietary practices can be an interesting and illuminating experience. For this root work exercise, you will determine your dosha through a dosha questionnaire, and see how your current lifestyle patterns connects to your prakriti. Journal what changes you might make in your patterns based on this information.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 89

Approaches to Physical Injury
Yoga Rahasya Yoga Rahasya II.26, 4.31 After having examined the origins of the diseases of the body and senses, the teacher must apply kriya yoga. Otherwise there will be no benefits. To destroy the diseases of the body, the body must be used.

Key Points
TT The

application of yoga therapy is an advanced skills that should not be used except after several years of training. working with injury, work slowly and conservatively so as to create a positive evolution towards healing.

TT When

the Injured Warrior
It is inevitable that either ourselves or our students will face minor changes in our physical abilities on a daily basis, prompted by the physical stress of our yoga and non-yoga practices. When physical practice is improperly done, either because of overexertion, lack of attention to the quality of movement or breath, or some other factor, we open the door to injury. Physical injury may also arise

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 90

for many other reasons, including accidents, defects at birth, and aging. Within the textual tradition of yoga, injury is often presented as a karmic outcome of our actions, and therefore an opportunity to learn from them. This sensibility and perspective is unlikely to be the initial landing spot of any but the most equanimous yogins, however. It is far more likely that people injured in physical activity, including yoga, will experience a predictable pattern of behavior in relationship to injury. Psychological Stages of Injury When a person sustains an injury that substantially reduces his or her ability to perform certain functions, there is a relatively predictable pattern of behavior that emerges. The value of knowing this pattern is that it will give asana instructors insight into communicating with the injured student.

Injury-Relevant Information Processing. In this initial phase, the injured student is coming to understand the nature of the injury and the extent to which it will limit movement. There many also be questioning as to why the injury happened (both on a practical and emotional level) and the emergence of negative thinking patterns around the injury. Emotional Upheaval and Reactive Behavior. In the following phase, the student becomes emotionally active in relationship to the injury. Emotions can include anger, shock, self-pity, denial, and disbelief. (Note that from a psychological perspective, the emotional responses are rarely presented as positive mental experiences). Positive Outlook and Coping. In this phase, the student accepts the injury and begins to develop positive reaction and coping strategies. At this phase, the student can actually begin to heal the injury on a physical and mental level.



Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 91

Responding to the Injured Student Many students, particularly those with a strong attachment to their yoga practice, will want to continue to perform poses that will exacerbate the injury. A common example of this is students with wrist injuries, particularly those created by carpal tunnel syndrome. For these students, poses such as chaturanga dandasana or downward facing dog may create immense pain and discomfort. However, they may ignore the pain, feeling that they can “power through” these pain points or that doing these poses will, over time, alleviate the pain. With all students, but especially those with injuries, it is important to share with them the importance of the first yama, ahimsa. Naturally, those students in the second phase of psychological awareness will not be prepared to hear this kind of lesson. However, until they recognize that their practice must evolve to address the injury, the students will continue to experience pain and physical limitations that will likely resolve far more slowly than it would with proper care and attention. While the student is healing, you may want to make it a point of checking with the student after each class or session to determine their attitude and relationship with his or her injury. Recalling the various stages of psychological adjustment, try to encourage the student to move through the second stage into the third stage of injury awareness. As discussed below, offering options within a pose that, while still providing the physical benefits, may prevent further strain or reinjury can be important. Above all, recognize, even if only on behalf of the student, that there is a lesson in the injury. Modifying the Practice When dealing with injuries, the first concern is not to exacerbate the condition. In the first stages of injury, there is usually a good deal of inflammation and heat in the area, as the body shifts blood

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 92

flow to the area to assist with healing. After this stage, the body begins to lay down new tissue to heal the site of injury. During the acute stage of inflammation and swelling, some specific asanas may be recommended, but a complete vinyasa practice may not be possible or advisable. After the body has begun to heal the injury site, the student should follow a conservative practice plan that will gently restore the area to full mobility and ability. For example, if the student has strained the hamstrings, then poses that stretch or strengthen the hamstrings should be done with complete mindfulness to the sensations in that pose. In some cases, modifying the practice may involve the complete removal of certain categories of poses. Particularly in group classes this can be awkward for the teacher as well as the student. While the best course of action is to encourage the student to follow the feedback received from his or her body, many students will become discouraged if a good portion of the class is not accessible to them. It is up to you as the instructor to determine how best to proceed. The most practical approach is to continue to teach the class in a manner that is consistent with your intentions for the group, and individually encourage those students with injuries to develop right relationship with the practice. Students living with different abilities Another dimension of the injured warrior are those students working with chronic or permanent differences in ability. Some people with permanent disabilities may continue to caught a negative mental cycle regarding themselves and their injury. However, many people with continuous or lifelong differences have learned to cope and adapt. The former group of individuals should be handled as discussed above. The latter group, however, have likely developed different coping strategies and activity patterns surrounding their injury or disability. For that reason, these students may known how to modify their

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 93

physical yoga practice. As with any new movement system or pattern, students will likely need to multiple exposures to best figure out how to best adapt the pose to their bodies. As an instructor, it is your role to encourage them to find the appropriate adaptations, working with them as necessary to insure that the modifications will give them the same benefit as the original proposed structure of the pose.

Yoga therapy
The study of yoga therapy is a deep and extensive subject, and is outside of the scope of this book. However, a few words on the subject, as well as some basic techniques, will provide some grounding for those interested in investigating it further. Modern yoga therapy is usually considered an offshoot of the work of T. Krishnamacharya, the teacher to B.K.S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, and T.K.V. Desikachar. In his later years, Krishnamacharya began to embrace an adaptive approach to yoga, whereby the poses became a template that the instructor modified to suit the student’s need. For example, the pose uttihita trikonasana has some specific structural elements that stretch the hamstrings, strengthen the muscles of the waist and ribcage, and develop balance. By changing such things as arm position, the movement of the spine, or the feet, practice of the pose will generate different benefits. In the West, Larry Payne, Gary Krafstow, and Mark Whitwell are some of the best known proponents of yoga therapy (and happen to be direct students of Krishnamacharya or T.K.V. Desikachar). In most cases, their approach to yoga therapy present adaptations of asanas, coordinated with breath, to create specific results. For example, to strengthen the back, a student might perform repetitions of shalabhasana timed with the breath, and then hold the posture; or, as another example, the student might add or remove the arms in certain variations to develop greater flexibility and strength.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 94

Because yoga therapy is not a recognized medical practice in the West, teachers must be very careful when discussing with students the limits and promises of yoga therapy. It is also important to note that yoga therapy, to be most effective, must be done one on one, in a controlled environment with a sequence built specifically for the student. Finally, yoga therapy, even when done by Krishnamacharya himself, was and is never presented as a substitute or replacement for medical attention and supervision. Yoga therapy is an adjunct and supporter of the medical attention that a student is already receiving. Some Simple Principles for Vinyasa Classes Even though we will not be performing yoga therapy sessions or classes, the following principles from yoga therapy are imminently applicable to vinyasa classes:

Change the pose to create new effects or challenges in known poses. Move dynamically in the pose as well as holding it statically. Be continuously mindful of the breath when performing asana.

2. 3.

Root Work: Injured Warrior dialogues
If you can, teach a basic yoga sequence to someone with a physical difference or limitation. Make this someone who will be both willing to give feedback and willing to forgive the potential awkwardness of the session. After completing the session, discuss with the student his or her perceptions of the class and recommendations for improvement. Add this to your journal.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 95

Yoga for Children and Pregnancy
Yoga Education for Children Yoga Rahasya Yoga education for Children 42-44 [I]t is the younger generation who are leading all to a positive path to mental peace...[having followed a path of yoga, young people would be] perceptive and understanding, physically and mentally fit, they would be aware of their own potential and more capable of its realization. Yoga Rahasya II.39 - 41 The whole world knows without a doubt, that it is the housewife who is the protector of the world, for she gifts food, knowledge and wealth and provides a place to live. They are so busy taking care of children, grandchildren, relatives, beggars, dependents, cattle and others, that they find little time to take care of themselves. Being in this situation, how can these women who are always active practice yoga? However, without them, life in this world is like flowers in the sky.

Key Points
TT Yoga is the true nature of children, and the only thing we can do is

not try and take that from them.

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 96

TT The

physical practice of yoga has wonderful benefits for women both during and after pregnancy.

the Playful Side of Yoga
We often say that children are natural born yogins. Indeed, the ancient yogic texts suggest that all children in the womb are aware of their divine nature and sit in perfect meditation. When we are born, our memory of our divine past is wiped away from us, creating the yearning in us for our sacred past. Whether or not this is true, it is self-evident that children are our link to the future, and the qualities with which we raise them will set the future path of our world. Currently, that future path is not as bright as it could be. Purely on a physical level alone, the children in Western countries are typically unfit, disconnected from their bodies, and not given adequate opportunity to exercise their mind and body together through constructive play. The implications of this in terms their immediate health is staggering, but continued over time will lead to a major health crisis that will neither be reversible nor truly treatable through medical intervention. Why Yoga Has a Role to Play The essential element for yoga with children is to encourage a sense of exploration and fun. This, of course, confers great physical benefits. However, the other part of yoga is the fact that it teaches internal awareness, a positive relationship with oneself and others, and provides a disciplined, yet compassionate, structure. Teaching the lessons of yoga do not need to heavy handed and the variety of animal heroes in the yoga tradition provide a very accessible reference point for children. Naturally, the major question that must be asked is whether or not a child’s parents are open to them being taught these principles. Even though there is no

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 97

conflict between the principles of yoga and the principles espoused by any number of different systems of thinking (religious and nonreligious), the parents must embrace and reinforce this education at home. In ayurveda there is a principle that when a baby is ill, the physician looks to the mother, as the content of her milk affects the baby. In that same way, parents must be involved in the educating and counseling of children. If you propose to work with children through yoga, it is important that the parents participate as well. This not only bonds the family, but also creates a pervasive reinforcement for the principles taught in class. Yogic techniques and games for Children The following is a short list of techniques and games that can be used with children of a variety of different ages:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

“Ha ha” exercise Making a Mandala Stop Exercise Yoga Zoo/Who Lives in the Forest? Name The Pose, Do the Pose Yoga Theater

Root Work: New Yoga games
Come up with two additional yoga games that will work with children. Have fun with this, and get creative!

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 98

Yoga For Pregnancy
Physical exercise can be an incredibly important part of a woman’s pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has stated that: Becoming active and exercising at least 30 minutes on most, if not all, days of the week can benefit your health... Regular activity also helps keep you fit during pregnancy and may improve your ability to cope with the pain of labor. This will make it easier for you to get back in shape after the baby is born. You should not, however, exercise to lose weight while you are pregnant. Yoga can be an important part of a woman’s program of health pregnancy. Yoga helps to maintain strength, create positive changes in flexibility, and encourages a health relationship to the breath. All of these things can help to alleviate and reduce the symptoms associated with advancing pregnancy, including low back pain, morning sickness, cramps, and improve the birthing experience. guidelines for appropriate Practice Pregnancy is not the time for a woman to start a vigorous practice of yoga, and while some women are able to maintain a vigorous practice up until their third trimester, this is does not reflect an acceptance of the new role into which these women are moving. Yoga should help support the health and well-being of a pregnant woman. In addition, certain hormonal changes make overexertion unwise and even potentially dangerous. There are no universally contraindicated postures or movements. Common sense dictates that as pregnancy progresses, poses that are performed prone become out of the question. There is not a substantial amount of evidence that some poses in and of themselves increase the risk of problems for expectant mothers. However, some general guidelines adapted from the ACOG are presented below:

Bhakti Warrior Immersion Program | 99

TT After the first trimester of pregnancy, avoid doing any exercises on

the back.
TT Avoid

having a pregnant women practice in a heated or humid

TT Advise

students to wear comfortable clothing that will help them to keep cool, including wearing a bra that fits well and gives lots of support to help protect the breasts. students to drink plenty of water to help keep them from overheating and dehydrating. Certain poses such as backbends and twists will need to be done in a way that accommodates the increased size of the abdominal region and the increased strain on the low back. In general, prenatal classes are a wonderful space for women to share their experiences with pregnancy; to receive mutual support; and to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of a yoga practice. Most hospitals are willing and excited about hosting healthy pregnancy programs. If you are interested in teaching yoga to pregnant women, or partner yoga for expecting parents, you will want to reach out to community partners to grow your classes.

TT Encourage

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful