I was born and raised in Hyde Park, a community where mind dominates body. My husband and I have raised three children here. I have been a freelance writer over the past 30 years and a yoga student for the past fifteen. I completed yoga teacher training at the Temple of Kriya in June, 2010. I discovered yoga, as so many do, after suffering an injury. It was the subtle parts of the practice that captivated me—“inhale, lift the sternum; exhale, soften the back.” The grosser parts—“inhale, lift the legs; exhale, place the feet on the floor over the head”—tended to repel me, and that has increased over the years because I’m aging at a faster pace than I am mastering yoga poses. The happiest yoga for me is slow and subtle, so that’s the yoga I teach. Slowing down the practice gives the body time to teach the mind. Usually we listen to our bodies only when they’re complaining, but when we do a little yoga, our bodies show us equipment we didn’t even know we had. Whether we are old, young, brittle, or callow we have treasures inside that, if we can activate them, will make us feel freer. Yoga activates our insides to give us a little breathing room. The teachers who have illuminated this principle for me are UnSoo Kim, Sue Rexford, Cynthia Latimer, and Mary Samano. Believing, as I do, that yoga is for everyone, I teach yoga from the bottom up, one pose at a time, often one piece of a pose at a time. In class we set up the foundation for a pose first, then we align the joints and stack the bones, and finally, we move into the pose. We hold the pose until our form or breath becomes compromised. Depending on the student, the poses can be held for one breath or ten or more breaths. This means we don't move quickly from one pose to another. While we hold the pose we explore what's going on inside the body, for instance, how the placement of the feet can release tension in the lower back or how the grounding of the shoulders frees the neck. The complexity of the body and the poses are a continuing source of information for all students. My goal for students is to enjoy the class while they're there; to be able to use what they have (body, mind, and breath); to ground and decompress through movement, breath, and rest. If a student should become more flexible, or stronger, after a few classes, that's icing on the cake.
Patricia S. instructs the following:
Yoga Foundations (1)
It's said that a yoga student is a beginner for the first fifteen years of practice. That means there is a wide range of experience, ability, and proficiency among students in a beginning yoga class. And that doesn't even take into account other variables among students, such as age, injury, level of health and fitness, and normal body biases (most humans are not perfectly symmetrical). Accessible to students of all ages, sizes, and fitness levels, Yoga Foundations (also known as Hatha Yoga) is a great way to manage and reduce the stress caused by daily life. In this class, learn the fundamentals of yoga in a relaxed and fun environment.
Richard Freeman once said, "Yoga begins with listening. When we listen, we are giving space to what is. We are allowing other people to be what they are, and we are sanctioning our own bodies and our own minds to fully manifest." Yoga allows us to return to this present moment, and in this moment we can begin to discover the essence of our true self, our true nature. The meaning of the word Hatha conveys the intention of bringing two worlds of opposition together. The physical postures within Yoga Foundations, or Hatha Yoga, gives us access to the mind and our heart by balancing and joining together "ha" meaning sun or masculine energy with "tha" meaning moon or feminine energy while deeply exploring the relationship of the inhale and exhale (pranayama).
Yoga Foundations (1-2)