Saturday, September 12, 2009




Most of the Hatha yoga forms taught today throughout the Western world is influenced by the great yogi Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who was born in 1888. He is considered the father of modern yoga and is responsible for pioneering the refinement of postures, specifically sequencing them and giving therapeutic value to each one. He is also responsible for combining the postures with breath control to create a form of moving meditation. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, who developed the Ashtanga Vinyasa method of Hatha yoga, studied with Krishnamacharya from the age of 12 and continues to teach yoga, inspired

By his great teacher, in Mysore, India. B.K.S. Iyengar also studied with Krishnamacharya, albeit for a brief time.

Lord of learning and remover of obstacles, the Hindu god Ganesh provides inspiration to yoga students, who should cultivate the attitude that obstacle, are there to be overcome.

He has spent his life perfecting the asanas that his first guru taught him and is the founder of the Iyengar style of yoga. He has a yoga center in Pune, India.T. Desikachar, the son of Krishnamacharya, developed the Viniyoga approach to Hatha yoga and currently has a yoga center in Chennai, India. He also teaches throughout the world.


One of the founding principles of Hatha yoga to which dynamic yoga adheres is that of the eight limbs, which the literal translation of the Sanskrit word ashtanga is. Devised by the famous sage Patanjali in about 200B.C, the eight limbs are described by him in the historical yoga text, the Yoga Sutras. The eight limbs can be likened to the form and nature of a tree. For, as a tree stands strong against every adversity and continues to grow, producing fruits from its labor, so do yoga students, through consistent practice and dedication, begin to reap the benefits of their labor and nourish the fruits of their love. The first five limbs are concerned with the body and the brain. They constitute the outer phase of yoga. The final three limbs are concerned with the reconditioning of the mind and constitute the inner phase of yoga.

The Hindu deity, Shiva, represents supreme consciousness. He is also known as the Lord of the Dance, symbolizing the Eternal movement of the universe.

The first limb of yoga is called Yama. Its purpose is to promote moral and ethical principles within the individual. Yama has five principles or social disciplines: ahimsa (nonviolence), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (purity), and aparigraha (non-attachment).

The second limb is called Niyama. Its purpose is to create an inner integrity and it also has five principles: saucha (cleanliness, purity), santosha (contentment), tapas (austerity), svadhaya (self-study), and isvarapranidhana (surrender to God).

The third limb is called Asana. These are the yoga postures, which are practiced to calm the mind, enabling a deep state of meditation to occur. This is based on the principle that if the body is restless, the mind will also become restless, inhibiting the true realization of the self.

The fourth limb is Pranayama, or extension of the breath. Prana is the life-force energy, and ayama is the voluntary effort to control and direct this energy. Pranayama helps contemplation and eliminates distractions of the mind, so it becomes easier to concentrate and meditate.

The fifth limb is Pratyahara, which means mastery of the senses. Through the practice of asana and pranayama your mind's attention is turned within; through pratyahara this internal focus is maintained.

The sixth limb is Dharana, or concentration. It is the ability to focus your full attention on one point to the exclusion of everything else. It is essential to realizing the true self.

The seventh limb is Dhyana, or meditation, which is the effortless flow of awareness toward the object of concentration. The difference between concentration and meditation is that in concentration there is a peripheral distraction or awareness of your immediate surroundings, whereas in meditation the attention is not disturbed at all; you are completely absorbed.

The eighth limb is Samadhi, which means the absorption of object with the mind. In this enlightened state there is no duality of consciousness. It is one step beyond being completely absorbed in the meditative state. When you have achieved Samadhi, the "I" becomes nonexistent. You become one with God or one with all. This is the fruit of the tree or the fruits of your labor.




Dynamic yoga is a creative style of Hatha yoga, blending the principles of Ashtanga and Iyengar.Dynamic yoga is not only meditative but also physically challenging. Central to the technique of dynamic yoga is the sequencing of postures with interlinking transitional movements and a synchronized breathing pattern. These create a flowing connection of yoga postures that gives you a balanced workout and mental clarity.

Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means the union of body, mind, and spirit. Yoga is an exploration of the potential of the body, working in harmony with the mind in order to recognize the higher self. It can be translated as a spiritual union of your soul with God or the eternal truth. This truth is experiential, and the practice of yoga becomes a process of self-discovery that is available to everyone. Traditionally there are five branches of yoga. They are: Karma yoga – the path of action; Gyana yoga – the path of wisdom; Bhakti yoga – the path of devotion; Hatha yoga – the physical path; and Raja yoga – the path of meditation. The dynamic yoga program in this book is a form of Hatha yoga, which focuses on the physical postures, or asanas.


The practice of yoga involves patience, perseverance, and a keen observation of the self. The consistent practice of yoga postures cultivates the ability to observe what is in the present moment. By focusing your attention on the subtle and broad movements of both mind and body, you are able to gain pure insight into the nature of things as they truly are. This is known as mindfulness, from which follows happiness, freedom, and peace. The yoga postures demonstrated in this book have been developed from an understanding of the connections between patterns of thought, body posture, and the breath. These connections are evident when you consider the body's habitual response to certain external stimuli. For example, when you are afraid, your heartbeat increases, your breath stops momentarily, and certain muscles tense; when you are nervous, your stomach turns, your breath shortens, and your palms sweat.

Yoga sages have observed these and some more subtle connections between mind and body for thousands of years. Their knowledge is embedded in the dynamic yoga postures. By practicing them, you, too, will reach a deeper understanding of the connections. In time, you will find that you are practicing yoga not only during the movement of postures, but also through the entire day as you go about your regular activities. By bringing the body and mind more in harmony through yoga postures, you will find that your whole approach to life changes. Then, instead of simply reacting to everyday events and situations, you will respond to them mindfully.

This pose is taken from the Sun Salutation a sequence; The Sun Salutations create the flowing rhythm of the practice.