The Power of Prana in Yoga Practice

Axis Yoga Trainings of Denver, Colorado - Yoga Teacher Training 200-Hour Program

Yoga beyond poses consists of your breath

Most of us know yoga through the postures.  Perhaps we have even heard the Sanskrit word “prana” mentioned in class, though this is the exception to the rule.  Traditionally speaking, the pranic-force is fundamental to yoga practice (including the postures) and is as essential as sunlight is to a plant.

The word itself is commonly translated as “vital-force” or even “the breath”.  Prana is a much larger idea than that. A more literal translation of the word means “the first breath”.  It is the first, primal, all pervading, energizing force of the creation. The sun is imbued with prana, the plants and animals possess prana, the air is rich in prana.

The ancient yogis readily perceived this pranic energy and found ways to maximize its influence on our physical health, mental clarity and spiritual development.  Many of the techniques that are commonly used today, such as asana, pranayama and even meditation are build around pranic principles (whether we actively recognize it or not).

The very name sake of hatha yoga, the system of yoga that is the genesis of many modern poses, is in reference to the prana and its relationship to the mind. Through specific breathing techniques or prana-yama, we can affect specific states of mind; states of mind that are more conducive to deeper states of peace, joy and fulfillment.  Yoga practice uses the pranic force to affect powerful changes in our physical health and psyche.

We can also apply the principles of prana to our asana practice by simple becoming more deliberate about our breathing. Take time in your poses to recognize the quality of your breath, to make it smooth and purposeful.  The quality of your breath will powerfully shape the quality of your practice.

The more attentive you are to the quality of your breathing during asana practice the more powerful the effect will be.  By listening to the quality of our breathing we will know if we are applying ourself too much or not enough.    Classically speaking, the postures are thought to be an instrument to access the formulation of the breath, rather than being an end unto themselves.  Aim to have minimal hitches or rough spots in the breath.

I invite you to integrate these principles into your next asana, pranayama or meditation session.  Become more and more aware of the subtle power and influence of the pranic force within all of these practices.  Or better yet, learn about how to more skillfully apply pranic power to your poses this weekend at Axis’ monthly workshop!

Yours in the Spirit, Tradition and Service of Yoga,
Derik

 

Yoga & Prana Class March 19th

Perhaps we have heard the word “prana” mentioned in a yoga class in reference to the breath, but it is much more than that. What does it mean? How does it relate to yoga and how can it add exponential depth to one’s practice? Come find out the answer to these questions and more as we learn about this essential and often overlooked dimension of yoga practice.

Sunday, March 19th. 9:30-11:30
3250 E. Sixth Ave. UCC ~ Upstairs
Suggested Donation ($15-20)

 

 

3 Reasons You Should Be Meditating

Axis Yoga Trainings of Denver, Colorado - Yoga Teacher Training 200-Hour Program

A look at the benefits of regular mediation

Why Meditate?

It was only a couple of decades ago that meditation was regarded as something reserved for mystical spiritual seekers; it had something to do with eating brown rice with tofu.

Now, it is practiced everywhere from pre-schools to prisons, from hospitals to monasteries. It can even be found on the cover of Newsweek and Time magazines.

Why this dramatic shift from kumbaya to mainstream media?

The answer is very simple.

Meditation implicitly makes life more enjoyable.  Meditation teaches how to deliberately move from mental, even physical tension into a place of peace and clarity.  Meditation is like a best friend that will never abandon you, a friend that is always there for you in any and all circumstances.

How is this possible?

Our mind is at the cornerstone of all of our life experience. You are what you think. Two people can experience the exact same event and experience it in two totally different ways, based on their unique mental constitutions.  The mind is the ruling force of our perception and interpretation of all life experiences.

Through meditation it is possible to reprogram our thought process, to let go of needless distractions, to give you the mental stamina to overcome adversity, attract favorable circumstances and expand your capacity to experience peace.

Here are three basic tips to get you started on the path of inner freedom:

  1. Have a teacher.  There are many automated resources out there to help you get started on the path of meditation, however I would encourage you to find a teacher with can give you some outside eyes, answer your questions, and provide a living example of what a committed meditation practice looks like.
  2. Regular practice.  Just like learning any discipline, meditation takes practice.  If you want to learn to play the violin, you need to practice.  If you want to learn how to run of four minute mile, you need to practice.  If you want to learn to master your own thought waves…. you need to practice. Consistency is the key.  It is hard to make any meaningful progress if your practice is sporadic.  Aim for meditation daily, ideally at the same time and place.  This will build a powerful groove of association that will radically deepen your practice.
  3. Life off the cushion.  At first we do yoga/meditation to enrich our lives.Then we do our life to enrich our yoga/meditation.  Meditation helps to shine the light of awareness on our habits and tendencies.  With this insight we are better able to make choices that support our life and in so doing support our meditation practice. 

The beauty of meditation is that nothing outside of ourselves is required.  If we can think and breath, we can learn to meditate. How conscious are we of our thoughts?  How intentional are we about our decisions?  Are we in-touch with our creative capacities?  Meditation can help us to answer these questions and many more, provided we are willing to practice.  A world of awakening awaits you.

 

Going Deeper with Meditation

 

Got Peace?  Have you ever felt anxious, or lay at wake at night thinking your way in endless circles?  Learning how to direct and live in harmony with one’s own mind is an essential life skill.  Meditation teaches us how to gain mastery over one’s (discursive) mind and experience deeper levels of peace and fulfillment.  Mainline into the source of all happiness with practice of meditation.

Join us on Sunday, Feb. 26th.  9:30-11:30  |  3250 E. Sixth Ave. UCC ~ Upstairs

Suggested Donation ($15-20)

What happens when you meditate daily?

Axis Yoga Trainings of Denver, Colorado - Yoga Teacher Training 200-Hour Program

An experiment in daily meditation

 

An account from one of our yoga teacher training students…

My personal experiment was to construct a continuous meditate practice outside of yoga class. My plan was to do it every morning, considering that is when I had the most time for myself, and to do it 20 minutes a day. The first two days were really easy. I noticed I was really productive at work and had more of a chill day than when I would not meditate. The third day through the seventh day, I did not find time for a session. I decided to sleep in instead of waking up on time which is 4 am. My day would start out sluggish and it was harder to focus at work. I would try to get 4 things done at once, instead of completing one duty at a time. My day was more unorganized and felt longer and more stressful. After that week, I told myself I had to find time for it in my day somehow or another.

The second week rolled by with hardly an issue. I meditated everyday for seven days and it seemed as though the week was easy as pie. If I could not fit it in my morning time before work, I would meditate right before bed. When I did that, my sleep was more sound. I hardly rolled over or moved or woke up. My dreams were more vivid and peaceful. I was able to go to bed later than usual and still be able to wake up on time the next morning. I felt more energized throughout my day.

I would go into work with a smile on my face and not have a tired look. My days would fly by, and if it got stressful at work, it hardly affected me as far as putting me into a bad mood and I was able to come up with simple solutions immediately. I felt more confident in my skin. At work, when employees were not doing their job the right way, I would tell them the expectations and if they did not listen to it, we would have to find someone else. I was not rude about it, rather I introduced the conversation in a direct but pleasant matter. Needless to say, they fixed their attitude and got their job duties done. I was really proud of myself for saying something when I normally would pretend to not see anything and let them get away with not doing their job correctly or half ass. I even stopped watching television after 7. When I needed something to do, I grabbed a book and started reading for at least an hour.

The third week came by and once again, I got caught up in old arguments which lead to me missing a few days of meditation.

The practice was a little choppy as far as the effect it had on my day, and the timing. My practice was all over the place. I would miss a day, next day meditate in the morning. Next day, miss another day. Day after, meditate after lunch. Next day, miss another day. Then I meditated the next day after. Same thing happened the fourth week.

The same affects happened to me the third and fourth week and they were really chaotic weeks. In spite of meditating a few days in a week, it was clear to me that it is not going to cut it. I had to do it everyday without missing a day. Granted, some days were better than others but overall, I noticed I had the best week when I was consistent with my practice. Now, I am on day 4 without missing a day and it is only going to get better from here. This whole experience has made me accept who I am as a person and that I can amount to great things if I simply apply myself to it. I will continue to have a consistent practice for meditation and even in my busiest of days, if I have to go to the bathroom just to meditate for ten minutes I will, but I will make time to meditate somehow.

The little things I do now, will amount to greater and bigger things in the future.



Going Deeper with Meditation


Got Peace?  Have you ever felt anxious, or lay at wake at night thinking your way in endless circles?  Learning how to direct and live in harmony with one’s own mind is an essential life skill.  Meditation teaches us how to gain mastery over one’s (discursive) mind and experience deeper levels of peace and fulfillment.  Mainline into the source of all happiness with practice of meditation.


Join us on Sunday, Feb. 26th.  9:30-11:30  |  3250 E. Sixth Ave. UCC ~ Upstairs

Suggested Donation ($15-20)

9 yoga resolutions for 2017 to ring in the New Year - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings of Denver

Yoga Resolution 9: Share Your Practice

Axis Yoga Trainings of Denver, Colorado - Yoga Teacher Training 200-Hour Program

Shout it from the rooftops!

Yoga Resolution #9: Share Your Practice

 

Welcome to a new beginning!

Congratulations on making it to the final installment of our nine part series on setting our intentions for the new year!  I hope the series has been enlightening for you and has helped to propel you into a powerful new direction in 2017.  Living into your resolve is an ongoing process that can extend well beyond the length of this series.  Living out your soul’s purpose can be the journey of a lifetime!

9 yoga resolutions for 2017 to ring in the New Year - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings of Denver

Most if not everyone participating in this series has some sort of yoga practice.  I encourage you to maintain the momentum you have started, and continue your yoga practice as we take the next bold steps into 2017!  What aspirations or dreams are you living into?  What sort of support are you receiving?

As we wrap things up, I invite you to plot out your next bold step in the coming year and put some stakes in the ground.  What can you commit to now that will continue to propel you into the rest of the year?  What can you aspire towards that will give you inspiration as you navigate your everyday responsibilities?

Perhaps it is a trip.  Perhaps it is some shift in a significant relationship, or adjusting your diet or developing new associations, or even deepening your yoga practice.  

Yoga is the eternal wellspring of peace and clarity amid the myriad fluctuations of life. It has been my own experience and the experience of many, many students.  If deepening your yoga practice has been on your list, I invite you to take you to take the next courageous leap into our upcoming spring yoga teacher training!

People take the training for a variety of reasons ranging from personal enrichment to becoming full time yoga teachers.  Perhaps your 2017 resolve could benefit from a richly supportive environment that will take your yoga practice to the next level!  If so, I invite you to apply for our upcoming program, just click here for more details.

Wishing You the Best in 2017!

Derik
720-934-6934

 

9 yoga resolutions for 2017 to ring in the New Year - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings of Denver

Yoga Resolution 8: Let Gratitude Be Your Guide

Axis Yoga Trainings of Denver, Colorado - Yoga Teacher Training 200-Hour Program

Live and grow in a state of appreciate.

Yoga Resolution #8: Let Gratitude Be Your Guide

Let’s begin with a word of appreciation for all of your dedicated effort to live into your 2017 resolve!  Now, in this moment, reflect upon your three greatest victories in the new year and then softly smile to yourself for 15 seconds 🙂

9 yoga resolutions for 2017 to ring in the New Year - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings of Denver

How did that feel?  We are almost three weeks into the new year and I hope you are seeing progress; that your resolve is actually coming to life!  When we live in alignment with our soul’s deeper purpose, as expressed through our resolve, happiness and fulfillment occur naturally.  What a beautiful gift!

I invite you to celebrate your victories, whether small or large, with the spirit of gratitude.  Living in gratitude lightens the load of doubt, worry and anxiety and frees us up to live life with an awake sense of curiosity and wonder in the face of all sorts of circumstances.

As you plot the course of your new year’s resolve, what have you discovered, what can you be most grateful for?  I would encourage you to continue with your yoga practice to help generate a wellspring of support, insights and, well…. Gratitude.

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As an exercise, keep a gratitude journal for the next 21 days to help maintain the momentum you have accumulated thus far.  Write down 5-10 things you are most grateful everyday.  I can promise you, it will shift the way that you see the world!

 

 

200-hr. Yoga Teacher Training Open House – Sun. Jan. 22 at 9:30am

Come find out more about Axis Yoga’s ongoing yoga teacher trainings. This will be a great opportunity to experience a class, meet graduates, get your questions answered and get a taste of what Axis is all about! Click here to learn more.

9 yoga resolutions for 2017 to ring in the New Year - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings of Denver

Yoga Resolution 7: Give Yourself An “A” for Effort

Axis Yoga Trainings of Denver, Colorado - Yoga Teacher Training 200-Hour Program

High-five yourself! You deserve it!

Yoga Resolution #7: Give Yourself An “A” for Effort

It comes easier for some than for others…  Some have a natural propensity to take their shortcomings in stride.  Thankfully, a positive outlook and the ability to genuinely acknowledge your successes is something we can cultivated.

9 yoga resolutions for 2017 to ring in the New Year - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings of Denver

We began this series by formulating a resolve for the new year.  How is it going?  I’m sure that for many of you the results may have been mixed.  I’m sure you can think of examples of when you took action in support of your resolve and other times when you may have convinced yourself to do otherwise.

Living in alignment with your resolve is its own reward, it speaks for itself, and can fill us with inspiration to continue upon the path (even if it is hard).  But what to do if we are not living in alignment?

Rather than assuming you are a failure or incapable, see your shortcomings simple as feedback.  When we deviate from our resolve, or circumstances blow us in a different direction than we intended, welcome the input you are receiving with acceptance and curiosity; take this even one step further and find something to appreciate about the situation.

Recognize and acknowledge your efforts, learn from the situation, and simple take the next courageous step in the direction of your resolve.  Our resolve really describes who we are when we are in harmony with ourselves.

Here is a simple exercise to help you see where you are on the path of living into your resolve:

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At the end of the day, begin by writing down your resolve.  In the spirit of genuine curiosity and objectivity, reflect on when you may have come up short in your resolve.

  • What was the situation? What thoughts went along with it? How did it feel?
  • What did you say and do in response? How did that feel?
  • Is this a familiar thought or feeling in your life?
  • How can you respond differently to this occurrence in the future? Do you change how you are perceiving the situation and or how you respond/act?

Conducting this exercise will help to reshape your relationship to your resolve, take off any negative charge and plot you in the direction of living into your deepest intention with maximum intentionally, self awareness, and acceptance.

 

 

200-hr. Yoga Teacher Training Open House – Sun. Jan. 22 at 9:30am

Come find out more about Axis Yoga’s ongoing yoga teacher trainings. This will be a great opportunity to experience a class, meet graduates, get your questions answered and get a taste of what Axis is all about! Click here to learn more.

9 yoga resolutions for 2017 to ring in the New Year - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings of Denver

Yoga Resolution 6: Try Something New

Axis Yoga Trainings of Denver, Colorado - Yoga Teacher Training 200-Hour Program

Get out of your comfort zone in 2017!

Yoga Resolution #6: Try Something New

These three words are an invitation to awaken fresh insights and experiences into your life.  They sound simple enough, however it can be challenging to break the mold of our familiar patterns and activities.  Your brain is literally wired to feel safe with familiar circumstances, for many good reasons.

Happy new year card 2017. Silhouette of A girl doing Yoga vriksh

However, our brain is also possesses the capacity to rewire itself, to let go of past associations and find new meaning. The technical work for this is “neuroplasticity”.  Yoga has been clinically proven to break up old, stuck neurological patterns within the brain, and create new pathways of perception.  Yoga has the power to move someone from addiction to liberation.  You are your own best neurosurgeon!

Trying something new is a powerful way to exercise your brain, and develop appreciation for the wondrous world that we live in.  It does not have to be overly complicated. You do not have wait for skydiving season, or until you get your permit to climb mount everest to get started.

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The important thing is to begin your process of exploration.  Often times, the gateway to new vitalizing experiences, is just a few degrees outside of our normal routine.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Make yoga a priority in your life! Start a home practice.  Even go as far as signing up for yoga teacher training (whether to decide to teach or not). Practicing yoga is a way of sewing positive, benevolent seeds in your heart and mind, that will continue to spout; so long as you continue to water them.
  • Change your environment.  Clearing out any clutter is a great way to invite new energy into your life.  Consider creating a dedicated space for yoga practice.
  • Create time for meditation, to clear your mind of noisy static and open it to new possibilities.  Meditation will stimulate direct insights as well as gradually condition your mind to see life in a new light.
  • Go Dancing 🙂
  • Find support.  Changing habits in isolation can be unnecessarily challenging.  Is there some circle, even a virtual circle, you can tap into guide you more gracefully into whatever change you are wishing to make.  Or start your own circle!
  • Have honest talks.  Make a (new) habit of making time for meaningful connections with your fellow humans.  This could look as simple as an honest talk in a coffee shop or going for a hike.

Go Big.  What is your resolve for ‘17?  Continue to feed your resolve on a daily basis with incremental decisions, create time for bonus adventures, and put some stakes in the ground to express your resolve in a big way (even if you do not know how you will get there, yet). Is a trip on the horizon? Will you meet the love of your life?  Is it time to make yoga teacher training a priority?

Carpe Diem.  Even if our adventure into a new decision turns out to be so-so, we are that much wiser for having made the effort and can pat ourselves on the back for trying something new. Keep the flame of your resolve alive, accept the challenges as they come, and continue to take the next meaningful step.

 

 

200-hr. Yoga Teacher Training Open House – Sun. Jan. 22 at 9:30am

Come find out more about Axis Yoga’s ongoing yoga teacher trainings. This will be a great opportunity to experience a class, meet graduates, get your questions answered and get a taste of what Axis is all about! Click here to learn more.

9 yoga resolutions for 2017 to ring in the New Year - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings of Denver

Yoga Resolution 5: Create Momentum

Axis Yoga Trainings of Denver, Colorado - Yoga Teacher Training 200-Hour Program

Daily incremental choices create big changes!

Yoga Resolution #5: Create Momentum

Before we dive into yoga resolution #5, let’s do a quick check in with ourselves. How are you feeling in this New Year? Do you feel good about the resolutions you’ve set thus far? Are you keeping your energy high?

Since we are still at the very beginning, it’s important to create momentum around our resolutions by reframing the choices we make. It’s so important that creating momentum is a resolution in and of itself!

Watch this short video to hear more about how to check in with yourself and build momentum around your resolves.

Happy new year card 2017. Silhouette of A girl doing Yoga vriksh    

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200-hr. Yoga Teacher Training Open House – Sun. Jan. 22 at 9:30am

Come find out more about Axis Yoga’s ongoing yoga teacher trainings. This will be a great opportunity to experience a class, meet graduates, get your questions answered and get a taste of what Axis is all about! Click here to learn more.

9 yoga resolutions for 2017 to ring in the New Year - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings of Denver

Yoga Resolution 4: Live Life Authentically

Axis Yoga Trainings of Denver, Colorado - Yoga Teacher Training 200-Hour Program

The true test of any resolution is to live it!

Yoga Resolution #4: Live Life Authentically

Namaste ‘17!

Welcome to installment number four of our ongoing new year’s resolve series (woot! woot!). The last time we conversed, I introduced the concept of sankalpa. A sankalpa is a deeply held vow or conviction, designed to orient one towards their highest self.

A well developed  sankalpa will weave its way into our daily thoughts and interactions.  It is more than a nice idea, it is a reflection of our deepest and most earnest heart felt desire. More often than not, a sankalpa has a spiritual tone to it such as the desire to live a life of peace or integrity, though it could be more superficial in nature as well.

9 yoga resolutions for 2017 to ring in the New Year - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings of Denver

The assignment was to craft a sankalpa through self reflection, conversation, journaling, artistic expression, and so forth.  Come up with one pithy statement or affirmation that is a reflection of your deepest potential and purpose.  (I know, sounds big, as is Life).  Here is my personal affirmation for 2017, as an example:

“My Will, Mind and Actions Align with Truth.”

The most important thing is that your sankalpa resonates with you.  If you approach it sincerely, a sankalpa becomes a sounding board for all of your thoughts, actions and decisions, gradually it becomes an organic extension of who you are.

Drawing upon one’s sankalpa turns “I will go to the gym three times a week” into “I take loving care of my mind, body and spirit”.  A sankalpa has the power to mold and shape our character, and help orient ourselves towards our higher inner and outer potentials.  It brings out the best that is already inside of you.

How to Live into Your Resolve?

Once we set the compass of our sankalpa, the true test will be to apply your affirmation to the actual terrain of your life; how you respond to stress, how you adapt to change, how you relate to others.  How do we best embody our heartfelt resolve?    

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  • Commit your sankalpa to memory.  Say it as a tonic to prevent distress.  Say it in the midst of distress.
  • Don’t be shy.  Boldly place reminders of your 2017 intention in your environment!  Clear any clutter from the fridge and turn it into a shrine in homage to your intent!
  • Enter reminders in your ‘wisdome phone’ to prompt you to tune in.  Are there apps or outside message (such as this blog:) to remind you to stay centered amidst the vacillating currents of life?
  • Go Big!  Put some stakes in the ground!  What challenging yet manageable steps can you commit to that will bring your sankalpa to life.  Trips? Adventures?  Dates/pacts with friends? Mend or let go of broken relationships? Yoga training?  Find a stretch that will breath life into you and your sankalpa.
  • Whisper a silent, personalized prayer at the end of meditation asking for guidance and support.

A sankalpa is designed to bring forth, and help us overcome our limitations.  Invariably there will be setbacks.  Like a scout traversing uncharted territory, you will encounter unexpected challenges and surprises.  Maintain a broad perspective as you hone in on the details of living into the gift of your sankalpa.

 

 

200-hr. Yoga Teacher Training Open House – Sun. Jan. 22 at 9:30am

Come find out more about Axis Yoga’s ongoing yoga teacher trainings. This will be a great opportunity to experience a class, meet graduates, get your questions answered and get a taste of what Axis is all about! Click here to learn more.

9 yoga resolutions for 2017 to ring in the New Year - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings of Denver

Yoga Resolution 3: Make Meditation A Priority

Axis Yoga Trainings of Denver, Colorado - Yoga Teacher Training 200-Hour Program

Settle, still and focus your mind

Yoga Resolution #3: Make Meditation A Priority

Welcome to the New Year! Mediation is one of the keys to successful resolutions or resolves. During this video I talk about the importance of meditation, how to incorporate it into your daily life and at the end, we’ll walk through a 3-step process to meditating. – Derik

9 yoga resolutions for 2017 to ring in the New Year - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings of Denver