saha nau bhunaktu
saha viryam karavavahai
tejasvi navadhitam astu
OM shanti, shanti, shanti
May we be protected together.
May we be nourished together.
May we create strength among
May our study be filled with brilliance and light.
May there be no hostility between us.
Om peace, peace, peace.
This is our go-to invocation at Great Heart Yoga. The Shanti mantra is an affirmation of our commitment to learning and practicing within the context of a supportive community. We do yoga to evolve ourselves and to evolve humanity. We evolve faster in a group than on our own. Plus, having community helps us stay accountable for our actions and growth. When the path is tough, we have buddies who have our backs. We share the challenges and the gifts of our study and practice. Together we bring more light into the world.
handful of flowers, an offering. This simple, universal gesture invokes sacredness, our relationship to the great mystery. It is at once an offering, a commitment, a prayer, an intention to make meaning of one’s life, and to align with the Great Heart, the Great Mystery, or whatever you choose to call the Big Energy that manifests as everything and as you. We bow to That.
"To truly support people in their own growth, transformation, grief, etc. ...We have to be prepared to step to the side so that they can make their own choices, offer them unconditional love and support, give gentle guidance when it’s needed, and make them feel safe even when they make mistakes." Read the rest of the article by Heather Plett
Learning to hold space for your students is one of the most important things you can do as a yoga teacher. It has to do with how you hold yourself and the way you step into the seat of the teacher. It's one of my favorite things to teach on, and I think this article might help clarify some things as well.
How do you hold space in your life? How do people hold space well for you?
Annie is one of the smartest people I know. She's book smart sure. She's also people smart, body smart, a kitchen wizard and an Ayurveda nut (I could go on). But one of my favorite things about her is that she can translate complex yoga ideas to real life with ease. She can take the densest, most ancient, wisdom packed scholarly writings and explain them in a quotidian way. She's so funny too.
I love working with her because she is a hard working mom who is deeply committed to her own evolution, and the evolution of the planet. She channels her integrated intelligences to skillfully pass on tools for creating and maintaining healthy habits in this chaotic and magical world.
Here at Great Heart Yoga, the core of our work lies in helping individuals tap into their essential nature or dharma. We enthusiastically guide individuals into discovering who they are at root and at core through the work of yoga, and then help them learn to express themselves in the world more fully. This inquiry work starts with a willingness to engage in deep listening on the level of the body, mind and heart.
Here is a yoga asana inquiry practice to begin to discern and name your dharma:
Go to your mat with a desire to listen deeply from within. As you begin to practice, listen to your breath. Notice what it feels like to be you. Choose to do your practice today as you, not as someone else (do your own dharma, not someone else’s). Own your experience by setting your physical foundation more deeply. Feel into who you are this phase of your life. Listen to what is coming forth from deep within you. Discern and name and get grounded in the essential nature of your being. Open to the fullness that is you. Get curious about what is making you come alive at this time. Open to your unique gifts.
After you practice, ask yourself:
What shifts in your body when you listen deeply?
When and where are you most receptive for listening to your truest self/voice?
What is one action you can take to support deeper listening in your daily life?
Invocation: “to call upon, something greater than ourselves and so break our own boundaries [which is].. the beginning of wisdom, the source of hope, and the condition of joy.”
– Raimundo Pannikar
Each time you begin your work of yoga with the ritual of an invocation, be it a mudra (hand gesture), a mantra, or a prayer, you put out the to the universe that the work you are doing is bigger than whatever your limited notion of yourself is. Maybe you go to your mat with a very individual concern to de-stress, to experience more energy, or alleviate a kink in your back. All totally valid reasons. But, the truth is that the practice won’t just shift you, it will shift the universe, seen and unseen. Whatever spark of insight, wave of hope, or alleviation of mental or physical suffering emerges in you comes as an energy that has no bounds. This energy ripples out into the universe, seen and unseen and has a beneficial effect. Yoga is that powerful.