by Juan Villegas, E-RYT® 500

Saucha or Purity: The First Niyama

Saucha means purity, clearness of mind, speech and body. Saucha is one of the Niyamas of yoga and Niyamas can be interpreted to mean positive duties and observances. In the book “The Yamas and Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice” by Deborah Adele, she goes further with the concept of saucha by saying that we not only need to be pure in thoughts and words but also develop purity in relation to the things that we have no control of. She writes that:

‘Saucha asks us not only to seek purity in ourselves, but to seek purity with each moment by allowing it to be as it is. We are asked to be with life, with others, with things, with the day, with work, with the weather, as they are in the moment, not as we wish they were or think they should be or expect them to be.’

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by Juan Villegas, E-RYT® 500

Druidry; Celtic Yoga Connections

The history of Druidry is hard to trace, early practitioners left almost no records of this ancient Celtic system of spirituality. What we know about Druidry comes from pre-historic paintings, drawings, and writings such as those from Julius Caesar. At the end of the Ice Age, people from Southern Europe traveled north to Scotland and other Celtic areas to settle, creating a culture with considerable knowledge of astronomy and engineering skills that are hard to comprehend even today. This period of early Celticism encompasses the development of Druidism, a highly sophisticated religious system that included poets, healers, seers, philosophers, judges, and teachers.

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by Juan Villegas, E-RYT® 500

Koshas: Getting to Know Yourself through Yoga Practice

Koshas are layers or sheaths that help us to move from the physical to the spiritual. There’s that moment at the end of an intense physical and mental practice, it could be running, yoga or chasing your nephews around a park for two hours, where you feel absolutely blissed out and serene. Have you felt that before? While your mind was focused and your physical body was working you managed to move into a state of peace. According to yoga philosophy, you have moved through the layers of the Koshas. Much like layers of an onion, the peeling of these layers helps us navigate to the core of who we really are.

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by Juan Villegas, E-RYT® 500

Connections in Yoga

There is a moment in a yoga practice when I awaken my body after savasana, sit up, open my eyes and enjoy the blissful connections between body and mind and the sense of peace this connection brings. I’ve heard this referred to as “yoga glow” and you can see it on the faces of others as they leave class, a gentle smile and relaxed eyes. A full mind-body connection achieved through the mindful movement of breath and body. I believe it is this feeling that keeps us coming back to our mats, in our hectic lives we need as much of this connection as we can find! For 60 minutes the mind has focus, the breath is full and you can’t worry about your phone or email, you are connected to yourself instead of devices.

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by Mark Atherton, E-RYT® 200

Dukkha | A Tool for Self Study

Dukkha is a fascinating word in the worlds of Yoga and Buddhism. It is often translated as ‘suffering’ which tends to sound rather pessimistic. Lama Surya Das translates Dukkha as “difficulties ” or “dissatisfaction” which is less harsh in tone and a fact of life to which all of us can relate.

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by Juan Villegas, E-RYT® 500

There is a scene in the movie Eat Pray Love where Liz sits in the beautiful meditation room at the Ashram. She closes her eyes to meditate and immediately thoughts about her house, job and life start stampeding through her head. Anyone new to this practice can empathize; those first few times we meditate can seem like a battle with our thoughts. Sitting in stillness is a skill we find challenging, but with simple regular practice with no expectation an entirely new world can open up. Positively effecting our asana practice, relationships and health.

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by Mark Atherton, E-RYT® 200

Technology and I endure a love hate relationship. It’s been around two weeks since I returned from New Zealand. For 16 days my devices remained off, disconnected from service. Silence was everywhere. My mind wasn’t drawn to the buzzing of my phone or ping of a new email. I loved my simple morning ritual of a cup of tea watching the sun rise, walks after meals, and uninterrupted conversations.

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