Yoga Off the Mat Book Launch
Is yoga really more than stretching?
You may be able to tie yourself in knots, but does that really count as yoga? Perhaps not, at least according to Sydney-based author and yoga school director, Katie Spiers.
In her latest book, Yoga Off the Mat (published by Live Yoga Life, February 26), Manitsas conveys to the curious and the converted how to ensure their yoga practice is far more than simply stretching. The work is a follow up to her earlier book Spiritual Survival and the City (published by Hardie Grant as Katie Spiers).
Now that yoga has been embraced as a mainstream activity in Australia, Manitsas says it’s time practitioners realised the ancient practice is about far more than simply staying fit:
“Where yogic philosophy becomes really useful, and much more difficult to apply, is in everyday life – off the mat. Our everyday situations give us plenty of chances to apply this broader understanding of yoga; it can impact everything from how we relate to the planet through to our own self esteem,” she says.
As she explores how the full teachings of yoga, including its ethical and philosophical backgrounds, can help us Manitsas explains how yoga has much to offer the mind as a meditative art. It also helps us see ourselves in a more positive light:
“We may have grown up in a culture that tells us we can be whatever we want to be and a credit card can buy us anything we need, but this has left us embracing the message that who we are, how we see ourselves and how others see us is based on what we have and what we look like,” says Manitsas.
“Yoga teaches us that true self-confidence comes from within and that once we are grounded in knowing who we really are; a confidence will arise that is unshakable, regardless of our bank balance,” she says.
For those already practicing yoga ‘Yoga Off the Mat’ provides a valuable resource for learning more, particularly in the context of social ethics and ‘spiritual activation’. Newcomers to the practice will find Manitsas’ easy to read style offers a good starting point to the full yoga practice.
Author Katie Spiers (formerly Spiers) is Sydney-based Samadhi Yoga Studio Director and Certified Advanced Jivamukti Yoga teacher.
Available in both paperback and ebook (downloadable format) online through www.liveyogalife.com. Paperback also available at www.samadhiyoga.com.au.
Media materials including images are available from www.samadhiyoga.com.au and www.liveyogalife.com. Media contact for interviews contact Monica Redondo via our Contact Form.
We had an amazing time at our book launch for “Yoga Off the Mat” at Sydney’s Samadhi Yoga Studio last Friday.
Thank you to all who came!
Kuddos as well to Katie Spiers for such a powerful and inspiring dynamic practice at the workshop preceding the launch. The practice tested comfort-zones with three-point head-stands and many delightful and unique Jivamukti asanas – such as the one-legged-side-lift!
As requested, here’s the inspiring extract from Katie’s book, “Yoga Off the Mat”, which had us all inspired – a perfect ending to the beautiful asana practice:
“Our yoga asana practice can be an excellent mirror for this. On some days we may feel like we are making excellent progress and the body is light and free. On other days we are tired or grumpy and progress feels hindered. The lesson is to get on the mat and do the practice anyway. To set a goal, clearly defined and to do our very best to see that goal through to completion. The practice will have to be flexible to accommodate various factors such as our level of health or our age for example, but it should be done with a sense of willingness and belief in the positive benefits for ourselves and others even if they are not immediately obvious. This is difficult for us because we live in a time where we avoid uncertainty and expect instant results. It is a challenge to train ourselves not only to let go of instant outcomes but also to believe in results we can’t always see straight away.
Buddhist teacher Geshe Michael Roach, an extraordinary man and teacher who has authored several wonderful books and runs a school called ‘Diamond Mountain’ in the USA has a simple yet powerful analogy for this cultivation of intention and karma – gardening. He describes that just as a tomato seed will never grow into a mango tree, a mango stone will never become an oak tree. The seeds that we sow in our lives (through our karma – our actions) will ripen according to the type of seed planted. Good deeds will lead to further good karma and vice versa. In his book ‘How Yoga Works’ (co-authored by Christie McNally) he puts it like this,
“Nothing we ever do, nothing we ever say, nothing we ever think fails to plant a seed. And each of these seeds will wait patiently in line, for years and years if necessary, to ripen upon us. They never ever ‘forget’ … from now on, we need to be careful only to plant good new seeds and never negative ones.”
An important aspect of this teaching to keep in mind is that the intention behind an action can either heighten the positive karma accrued or lessen negative karma. Again from ‘How Yoga Works’,
“What we do to help or to hurt others is at the bottom of everything. Nothing works, not yoga or any other thing we ever do, unless we have been careful to plant the seeds in our mind to see it work.”
What this teaching means to me is that we have to believe in ourselves. We have to believe in our ability to change, to evolve as a human being, and ultimately to believe in the potential within each of us for enlightenment – before we can see that potential blossom we first have to imagine it, and believe in it.
Join Live Yoga Life and Katie Spiers in the much-awaited release of “Yoga Off the Mat”!
Friday February 26th,
6pm – 8pm Workshop, $25
8pm – 9pm Book-signing, reading and chai (free of charge)
Join Katie for her first workshop since she became a mother for the second time. In this workshop we will explore the many faces of our yoga practice. It is easy to be peaceful and graceful in our asana practice, but once we step off the mat and onto the street it might be a challenge to maintain
that sense of calm and quietude.
How can we find the ‘yoga’ in challenging situations be they at work, with our families or even in the obstacles that we encounter from time to time.
Expect a dynamic asana class in-fused with great music and inspiring readings. After the workshop Katie will read a short extract from her new book (published by ‘Live Yoga Life’ – NOW AVAILABLE! – while we serve chai.
We invite you to join us for the book-launch of “Yoga Off the Mat”, another inspiring book from the author of “Spiritual Survival and the City”, Katie Spiers.
Yoga Off the Mat’ is a collection of insights and reflections from yoga teacher and studio director Katie Spiers. Katie has been practicing yoga since childhood and in this unique book she offers commentary and inspiration around how we might take the teachings of yoga into our everyday lives on a very pragmatic level. From vegetarian diet to caring for the environment and sticking to a meditation practice Katie makes suggestions you will find inspiring, practical and useful whether you consider yourself a practitioner of yoga or not!