The practice of swadhyaya, self study, builds upon the two niyamas that came before it, santosa (calm yourself down, ahaaaaa) and tapas (developing the discipline to control the runaway desires of the senses). And now the question: Who am I? That is the million-dollar question. It has been said that the soul tends to be drawn to a path or activities that illuminate it. There are four main paths in yoga described below. Many people do not follow one exclusively but prefer a combination. Do you find yourself being drawn to a main path? Notice that these paths in yoga do not mention asana practice, which is considered Hatha yoga.
- Jnana Yoga: Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge, wisdom, introspection, and contemplation. It involves deep exploration of the nature our being by systematically exploring and setting aside false identities. Writings by Swami Vivekananda and Vedanta Practice will illustrate this path in more depth.
- Bhakti Yoga: Bhakti Yoga is the path of devotion, emotion, love, compassion, and service to God and others. All actions are done in the context of remembering the Divine. Chanting and singing are powerful vehicles of the spirit on this path. This path was emphasized by Sri Ramakrishna.
- Karma Yoga: Karma Yoga is the path of action, service to others, mindfulness, and remembering the levels of our being while fulfilling our actions or karma in the world. The Bhagavad Gita is the classic story that teaches this path.
- Raja Yoga: Raja Yoga is a comprehensive method that emphasizes meditation, while encompassing the whole of yoga. It directly deals with the encountering and transcending thoughts of the mind. This is the oldest path, includes all the other paths, and is focuses on direct communication with God or Source. The Upanishads, ancient wisdom texts that share flashes of insight into the investigation into consciousness itself, are beautiful to read and just as relevant to us today as they were centuries ago.
To make the practice of swadhyaya, or self study, your focus for this month, you may want to chose some writings from the sources mentioned and notice the question “Who Am I?” as you tend to the activities of your life.
- Two new teachers, Tori Treangen and Nicole Musgrave. Please join us in welcoming Tori and Nicole to teaching at 4yoga! These brief bios will help you learn a little about each of them, and we look forward to practicing together.
- Tori Treangen (RYT-200) stepped into her first yoga class in 1998. Formerly a student of classical ballet, she found yoga felt good and playful. She fell in and out of the practice coming back to it in earnest while living in various boroughs around New York City. Yoga became a mainstay in a busy and constantly demanding lifestyle, but she took another break from 2004 until her first pregnancy in 2009. Now she can’t imagine life without the practice of yoga and enjoys sharing her love and appreciation of the discipline with all types of people. She completed her first 200-hour training with a therapeutic focus under Shanda Packard at Harmony Therapeutic Yoga and her second 200-hour training recently at Samgha in Smiths Grove. She sees yoga as a way of life.
- Nicole Musgrave (RYT-200) began practicing yoga in 2012, initially as a means of physical exercise. However, she soon realized the practice also had a powerful effect on her mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Wanting to share her enthusiasm for yoga with others, Nicole completed a 200-hour training program with Balanced Yoga in Columbus, Ohio. Her teaching focuses on alignment, on balancing effort with ease, and on cultivating an awareness of how to translate lessons learned on the mat to everyday life experiences. Currently, Nicole is in the Folk Studies Master’s Program at Western Kentucky University, working as a Graduate Assistant at the Kentucky Folklife Program. Outside of yoga and folklore, she enjoys flailin’ on her guitar and banjo, weaving, cooking, and traipsing through the woods.
- New Sunday-morning Spiritual Warrior class at 8:30 a.m. with Cre. Join Cre on Sunday mornings for this new mixed-level class. A journey from the head to the heart and through our body is often the toughest journey that one can take. This class is designed to help students obtain better awareness of their minds, spirit, and body. Moving mindfully from one pose to the next, students will create a quieting in the body’s systems as well as the ability to hear what the body is saying. References to ancient yogic texts and philosophies will be brought into this athletic and vigorous class.
- Labor Day mixed-level class at 9 a.m. We continue our tradition of hosting holiday classes with a mixed-level class on Monday, September 5, with Angie. Mixed-level classes are appropriate for everyone; Angie will provide options for more and/or less vigorous versions of poses.
- Monthly talk and meditation session. Juanita will host this session on Friday, September 23, at 6:45 p.m. As always, there is no charge for this informal gathering, which provides an opportunity to ask questions about and discuss meditation and to experience a short meditation.
- Living Our Yoga Yin class. Although Angie will be out of town, Alice will continue this series on Friday, September 30, at 5:30 p.m. with a focus on the fourth niyama, swadhyaya (self-study). This class incorporates readings and teachings to enhance students’ experience and to create conditions that may take them deeper into the mind, body, and spirit aspects of this wonderful gift of yoga. The traditional yin asanas remain the same as in our classic yin class.
- 4yoga’s 5th anniversary. September 27 marks 5 years since Erica, Kim, Kelly, and Angie founded 4yoga. Look for special opportunities to practice and celebrate together in October!
For a full list of September classes, please see the calendar section of the site or pick up a hard copy at The Pots Place. We also post updates each morning on our Facebook page, should you find it convenient to keep up with us there.
Accessing studio after class has begun: Remember that even if you are running late when the shop downstairs is closed, you can still join us for class. If the front door is locked, come to the back door of The Pots Place (look for the blue building) and ring the buzzer. The teacher will then unlock the door remotely for you to enter through the pottery studio.