Unnata Teacher Wisdom

Yoga articles and wisdom from Unnata Yoga course leaders and senior teachers.

Why Write? Writing as a tool in a yoga teachers’ journey

Do you know the feeling, when you give a class, and suddenly a unique word pops out of your mouth without you ever planning or intending to use it? It could be a metaphor, an image, or even just a surprising verb that sneaks into the sentence from the back door of your consciousness?

For our students, those words create moments when students are awakened, they pay close attention, and remember what they have experienced even more. A teachers’ language is a powerful tool to make a student open up and learn. As teachers, we should appreciate and nurture this tool with intention; our language matters. The more accurate it is, and the more fresh with presence, the more effective our classes will be.

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Beginner’s Mind – Where the Possibilities are Endless

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”― Shunryu Suzuki

Can you remember your first yoga class ever? And how maybe it wasn’t at all like you thought it would be? I remember having a preconception that yoga would be easy and peaceful, and I was surprised that my first class was quite challenging both physically and mentally. My beginner’s mind didn’t care that the practice was different than I expected, and a world of possibilities opened up as I realized that there was a whole world I knew nothing about but wanted very much to learn. This was the start of my passion for yoga and even now, years later as my practice continues, it’s always a spark of beginner’s mind that keeps me engaged and wanting to learn more.

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The Real Dharma

This post was written in celebration of Sri Dharma Mittra, who’s 80th birthday is this May, 2019. To find out more about Dharma Yoga and the studio’s celebratory plans, from May 10-14th click here.

Everybody has a unique way of being. A way of talking, a way of walking, a tilt of the head, or a facial expression reveals a thought or emotion. During a conversation, some people are quiet, some constantly interject, some speak at a slow pace, and others barely breathe while talking.

You receive so much additional information about people when you’re live in their presence, observing their idiosyncrasies. And you learn so much more about a teacher – and the teaching – when you experience it in person.

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What Rock Paper Scissors Can Teach Us About Ayurveda & Balancing Our Doshas

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Let’s play a simple game that can teach us how to balance the three Ayurvedic doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha). But first, what is Ayurveda? And what are the doshas?

Ayurveda is science of Life (Ayur = Life, Veda = Science). It is the sister science of Yoga, and it teaches us how to manage our health at every level – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

According to Ayurveda, the doshas are three primary qualities that we each embody in different amounts, and each dosha is derived from a particular combination of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether (space).

Vata = air & ether (space)
Pitta = fire & water
Kapha = earth & water

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好きこそものの上手なれ

四歳の娘とハンモックを使って遊んでいたのですが、途中から私はヤムナボールでマッサージしながら、のんびり横になっていました。
娘は片太ももにハンモックをかけて、激しく揺れ回って、”見て見て〜”と騒いで一人で遊んでいました。

気づくと、彼女は揺れもせず木のポーズでバランスをとり、呼吸をしています。まだヨガは直接教えてないですが、子供は自由に遊び方を発見しながらも、私のやることを見て真似します。このときは、マットの外で教えていた呼吸と床のヨガをハンモックの上でやっていました。

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A Yogi’s Understanding of New Year’s Resolutions

The story of the Bhagavad Gita begins on the eve of a great battle. The honorable warrior Arjuna flies over the battlefield with the help of his charioteer Krishna, to survey the situation. Arjuna sees his friends and relatives on one side of the field, ready to fight and slay his friends and relatives on the other side of the field.

Arjuna knows his cause is righteous, and his enemies brought these circumstances on themselves. But victory in battle would mean murdering his own friends and relatives, and the thought weighs heavy on his heart. Struck with compassion for his foes, dismayed and unsure what to do, Arjuna asks advice from Krishna. Forge ahead? Or, quit now, before any bloodshed?

Arjuna’s inner battle reflects a struggle that many of us experience at the dawning of
a new year. Do we forge ahead on our same path with renewed enthusiasm? Or do we alter course and begin afresh with a new direction?

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The Hanged Man

Traveling through India at the moment, the enchanting chaos that strangely touches the deepest stillness within me that I keep on returning to year after year. It is much harder work than a holiday, but my curious and adventurous nature keeps me moving through this land rich in history, culture and myth, and the sacrifice is always worth it. Rickshaws, trains, bumpy roads, and a heavy backpack, all make an impact on my back, and really has me missing my aerial hammock. Headstands help, but are not quite the same.. the feeling of hanging from my ankles or hips, and allowing my whole body to lengthen and decompress is like no other.

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¿Qué haces ahí tirada sin hacer nada, es que no tienes nada que hacer?

Durante mis primeras prácticas de yoga escuchaba decir a mis maestros que Savasana era la postura más difícil y para mis adentros siempre pensaba: ¡venga ya! ¡que os he visto hacer el Escorpión! Pero la realidad era que cada vez que tenía que entrar en esta postura, tanto al principio como al final de la sesión de yoga, mi mente estaba más activa que nunca y era muy difícil encontrar ese estado de Savasana del que los maestros hablaban… o ¡me dormía! En cualquier caso, no conseguía mantener la conciencia de mi cuerpo y mente completamente relajados en esa entrega preciosa al presente.
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What are you doing lying there without doing anything, don’t you have anything to do?

During my first few yoga practices, I heard my teachers say that Savasana was the most difficult posture and to my inner self I always thought: Come on! I’ve seen you do Scorpion! But the reality was that every time I had to enter this posture, both at the beginning and at the end of the yoga session, my mind was more active than ever and it was very difficult to find that Savasana state that the teachers talked about… or I fell asleep! In any case, I couldn’t keep the consciousness of my body and mind completely relaxed in that precious surrender to the present.

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Karma Yoga

Karma is an interesting word in today’s society, in that it can have two meanings:
1. luck or fate – something outside of our control
2. an action or situation that occurs as a direct result of actions we had previously made – something our actions inspired to occur, and therefore very much in our control

Even though the two common interpretations of karma could seem to be opposites of each other, it is my understanding they are actually two sides of one coin – the side we can see and the side that we can’t see. Karma is essentially the universe’s way of balancing out actions. Sometimes we experience the balance within our lifetime, and we can see the results of the seeds we have sown – good or bad. Sometimes, however, what we experience is partially the result of actions and deeds we did in a previous life, the effects of which simply took longer to come to fruition. Because our conscious minds may not be aware of what our souls did on a previous journey, the type of karma that comes to us from a previous lifetime can seem a bit unfair.

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