Written by experienced yoga teacher James Bryan from Knoff Yoga School in Cairns, Queensland
If we use the metaphor of hiking in the wilderness as an example of our yogic adventures, then we understand that a relatively small amount of time is spent on the mountain tops – the ah-ha moments, and the majority of the time we are down in the valleys – on the mat slogging away. Becoming clearer on the yogic path and dropping social and mental limitation is comparable to reducing the weight of our backpack – lightening the load!
Physically we take the uplifting path (light/vibrant body), but mentally we must descend through the beta, alpha, theta and delta mental states. As we learn to focus the mind more and more to illuminate the hidden parts of ourselves, we start to release the suppressed contents of our sub-conscious and eventually approach the threshold of the unconscious and eventually the super-conscious mind.
This spiritual evolution is not linear and contains both steps forward and partial retreats. We are told by the ancient yogis that any effort extended is never wasted. Obvious signs of progress are increasing feelings of compassion and clarity.
Feelings of isolation and separation are signs of experiencing the world through the predominance of one cerebral hemisphere; in our culture normally the left (analytical, linear, fight or flight activation, etc.). As we progress and learn how to access and activate both hemispheres simultaneously, not only do we access more brain power, but we also experience profound feelings of unity and harmony – because we are no longer divided within ourselves. Moving from beta… alpha… theta… and finally to delta brain waves… results in complete co-operation and utilization of our separate selves and is the end game of yoga = Samadhi.
When we designed the Knoff Yoga program of 5 levels: Beginner, Foundation, Intermediate, Advanced and Master, we wanted a clear path for our students to follow. Our experiences taught us that most students (and teachers for that matter) are stumbling along in the dark and are very lucky not to trip and fall. One of the pitfalls of the Western approach to yoga is to make asana the total focus and omit the synergistic tools of the rest of the 8 Limbs of Yoga. Another is the window shopping approach, i.e., yoga this week and pilates the next. We designed our program to include 5 elements: Meditation, Pranayama, Asana, Relaxation and Philosophy. If any of these integral and essential parts of the yogic path are missing, then our students will not receive the promised benefits they read about in yoga books.
In feudal Japan, the Samurai warriors had only 8 sword movements to fight with. Their techniques had to be totally practical because their lives depended upon it. Today in Kendo there are 100’s of sword movements – what has happened? We kept this in mind when designing the Knoff Yoga program and see great value in the K.I.S.S. (keeping it straightforward and simple) approach to yoga – providing it works of course.
Our passion is to share the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of yoga. Our goal is to offer training that is transformational, and imparts the techniques and philosophy of yoga as well as the enthusiasm to make yoga a life-long choice. We understand that Knoff Yoga will grow and prosper in direct relation to the positive impact it has upon the lives of our teachers and students.
The path of yoga is not easy, nor is it always fun, but it is always worthwhile. 95% of the effort required is in just getting on the mat with no compromises and no excuses. You will always be glad you made the small effort for a substantial return of good health and well-being.
James has a range of products available for you – from Chair Yoga for all levels to Pranayama for beginners and intermediate: