When we opened our doors nearly three years ago, we began with a kirtan and have wanted to bring this profound form of meditation, connection and bliss back to our studio ever since. Now from our own community of teachers, students and friends, we are grateful for the joining of hearts to fulfill this intention.
Kirtan is a call and response chanting of mantras that has its roots in India. Kirtan has the ability to quiet the mind if listened to or sung with intention. As we sing with each other, we experience a deep connection with all participants and ourselves. The magic of the chants will carry you within. Kirtan is the universal language of the spirit, the song of the soul.
Last Friday, August 22nd, we say together with our hearts, lead by Gayathri and the Gurus. You can see a sample of the evening below. We intend to make this a regular offering at Abhyaasa and look forward to singing with you! Namaste.
Ever wondered why we picked a studio name that is difficult for some to pronounce?
The word Abhyaasa (ahb-YAH-sah), from the yogic aphorisms (sutras) compiled by the sage Patanjali, means dedicated practice; an earnest and consistent effort. In our busy lives, often the hardest part of maintaining a consistent practice is to simply show up on the mat, and each day we find ourselves at a different point along our journeys. At Abhyaasa Yoga, we offer many types of classes so that each student can choose those that resonate most with them at any given moment. Regardless of the level of physical challenge or particular style, all of our classes are united by the wisdom of traditional yogic teachings, as we holistically embrace yoga as a union of mind, body and spirit. Our studio strives to give each student the tools to develop or deepen a personal practice, as well as to create a community to share these beautiful practices.
Yoga is so much more than the learning of and working through the physical poses (asanas). Asanas are a powerful tool to help one approach a state of observer of the mind, and its fluctuations from one thought to another, rather than identifying with these thoughts. What we are really practicing, therefore, is to dwell in a place of stillness and equanimity, whether or not we "nail" a pose. We are developing one-pointed focus, concentration, and with the breath, merging each movement with awareness.
This is where the other component of attaining balance comes to play in yoga; once we make the effort in our steady practice, we then send expectations to the wind and let go of any attachment to the results- Vairagya (vai-RAHG-yah). It is through this wisdom that we have created a space at Abhyaasa that offers challenge and growth, yet provides the nurturing, safe support to allow each student to embrace all outcomes with contentment. Abhyaasa and Vairagya are often compared to the two wings of a bird; it takes both to move from the constant mental multi-tasking to a place of stillness and send your practice, on and off the mat, into smooth, weightless flight.
Regardless of whether the name Abhyaasa gets you tongue-tied, the studio name acts as a reminder that establishing a sincere, selfless intention, putting in earnest effort, and being content with whatever comes to be is the heart of yoga. As we practice these principles, whether in our studies, jobs, through our relationships, or on our mats in the studio, eventually we arrive from "doing yoga" to being yoga.
Abhyaasa vairagyabhyam tannirodhah, Sutra 1.12.
In a nutshell, we find stillness through consistent, dedicated practice (Abhyaasa) with an acceptance of or detachment from the results of our practice.
So last weekend in Rock Your Asana! (our upbeat Vinyasa Flow class set to modern music) the focus was on Abhyaasa and Vairagya...balancing consistent dedicated practice with non-attachment to the fruits of our efforts. Ironically (or perhaps absolutely perfectly!) my thoughtful "letting go" playlist was not synched properly. Consequently morphing my long thought out rocking tunes to something entirely different than my plan... forcing me to, well, let go! :-)
It's a great collection of tunes, though, so we're revisiting the letting go theme tomorrow... new asanas, new flow, but who can't use that reminder yet again? Sincere selfless intention, earnest effort, contentment with whatever comes to be is the heart of yoga. Abhyaasa and Vairagya... often compared to the two wings of a bird... it takes both to send your practice, on and off the mat, into smooth, weightless flight. Namaste!
A space that nurtures connection, spiritual growth and physical well-being.