Advanced Yoga Practices
ADVANCED YOGA PRACTICES
ADVANCED YOGA PRACTICES (AYP) is a full scope system of yoga that combines asana (posture) practice with pranayama, meditation, and samyama covering all of the eight limbs of yoga. The system includes practices that can be taken on by people who are new to yoga and takes people all the way through, to gradually build up an advanced level yoga practice including samyama– the practice of moving inner silence outward into daily action. AYP is a particularly strong and effective approach where advanced stages can be reached by practicing for short durations twice daily. It is suited for busy individuals and yogis of all levels, including beginners and yoga teachers.
For more Information on Advanced Yoga Practices visit www.AdvancedYogaPractices.com which includes books, audio, video and lessons as well as questions and answers to thousands of practioners.
Teacher training in Advanced Yoga Practices is also available and backed by the Yoga Alliance as a school of yoga. Tristan Dorling does the 200 hour teacher training and I can recommend this training highly. Up to four sessions of pranayama, meditation and samyama are done each day in addition to asanas. The training was simply superb and beyond anything, I thought imaginable.
This section of the Beyond Our Best site will provide links and information for those who wish to pursue Advanced Yoga Practices as well as information for practices in Singapore and supporting other AYP teachers world wide.
Join our Yoga & Meditation Classes or Workshops in Singapore and put your mind on “silent mode” with Nathalie Ishizuka, a certified teacher of Advanced Yoga Practices AYP (200 hour meditation, asana, pranyama, samyama training) backed by the Yoga Alliance). Nathalie, a Franco-Japanese yogi from New York (Director of the movement Beyond Our Best) has been practicing advanced yoga techniques including samyama for the last seven years daily.
Integrating asana (posture) practice with pranayama and meditation, Advanced Yoga Practices (AYP) covers all of the eight limbs of yoga. Advanced Yoga Practices by Yogani (www.advancedyogapractices.com) focuses on deep meditation right from the start so that moments of silence and inner joy can permeate your life. The full integrated yoga system includes practices that can be taken on by people who are new to yoga and takes people all the way through, to gradually build up an advanced level yoga practice including samyama — stillness in action.
While Nathalie learned directly samyama seven years ago from her raja yoga teacher, Yogani’s method can bring you step by step all the way to enlightment (the experience of inner silence and bliss regardless of ouside circumstances making you far more adept to act in the world as needed). This tested method may save you years and years of practice so you can enjoy inner silence and joy as soon as you are ready.
Advanced Yoga Practices is for you if:
- You have found meditation difficult in the past.
- You want to put your mind on “silent mode” and overcome stress, fatigue, worry and over-doing.
- You are looking for more than just an asana or exercise class.
- You have a family, work and responsibilites requiring the most effective yoga out there that respects your limited time.
- You are a beginner, intermediate or advanced yogi — including yoga teachers.
- You want a complete system of yoga that accompanies you to gradually build up an advanced level yoga practice including pranyama (breath control and expansion) and samyama — stillness in action –all the way to enlightment (the experience of inner silence and bliss regardless of outside circumstances).
- You wish to experience the adventure of a lifetime and then some (be ready for daily self practice to get there!)
Advanced Yoga Practices is Not for you if:
- You want a heavy physical exercise or workout class.
- Your idea of yoga is entirely physical and that is all you wish to experience right now.
- You already practice an integrated yoga system that includes asana, pranyama, meditation, and samyama and are fully satisfied with your current progress and practice not wanting to add another system for overload.
- You do not want to invest 20 minutes a day to do something that might change your life far beyond your previous best experience and then some.
I CAN’T MEDITATE
Most people are intimidated, even yoga teachers who may teach you asanas in a studio, to delve into meditation. You can’t be convinced of learning something like meditation for which you have no previous experience of its benefits. It is only natural and healthy that you are fully skeptical.
You did not start by reading Shakespeare. You started by learning the ABC. Be patient with yourself and do the basic groundwork. It is not the effect of the meditation that matters on any particular day, but doing the process and cleansing your nervous system at whatever level you happen to be that day.
One day you may feel like a total beginner (even after years of practice), the next day you may feel bliss. Sometimes just aggravation. It does not matter. Whatever needs to be cleansed that day, is exactly what is being cleansed in your meditation. Each day is different. Enjoy the processs and do not get attached to any fleeting states of mind however pleasurable. It matters not if you see lights, hear sounds, have divine visions or nothing at all. It matters that you practice daily, twice a day if you want to transform your nervous system in the most effecient and effective manner.
I DON’T HAVE TIME TO MEDITATE
Once you are convinced by experience that it is the core practice of meditation that provides you with not only equanimity but boundless joy and competence, anything else that you do that day is just icing on the cake. You will wake up eager to meditate and with a regular consisetent practice of short periods using effective meditative techniques you can make important progress.
At home start at 5 or 10 minutes a day and build up to 20 minutes. This is less than the time it may take you to shower, eat breakfast, read the paper, watch TV, play with your phone, browse the net, or answer one or two emails you could have done without. If you could save minutes on any of these tasks, you could easily find 20 minutes a day to start and change your life and your loved ones.
Another reason for coming regularly to classes is that many people may not understand the benefit of meditation. Some are already happy, others feel there is no urgent need for change. Life is not perfect, but it works.
Meditation is often seen for something to do in the future, perhaps a vacation, retreat or retirement. Others may think meditation is just to relax or calm their thoughts or for health, but may have no idea that meditation can create a whole new state of mind, coping and states of creativity, innovation and bliss that helps us create the world we wish to see.
Meditation is like upgrading the operating system of your computer. If done correctly, it changes your whole nervous system. This new nervous system allows you to experience greater inner silence and joy. You will know what it means to be fully human.
THE NEED TO APPLY MEDITATIVE STATES TO OTHER AREAS OF OUR LIVES
Lastly, practicing meditation alone and not applying that inner state to the outside world is a wasted opportunity. We need to build our meditation into our lives and integrate it with our talents and competence so it can serve our loved ones, our families, our community and all human beings. The world demands nothing less. By focusing on applying our focus to one thing at a time and mastering it, you will progress deeper and faster. It is hard to apply a state of meditation to all things with the same intensity, unless you are a rare individual…
What you Will Learn and Practice during Each 60 Minute Class
- Simple Effective Asanas (15 minutes) to Amplify Any Meditation
- Simple Pranyama (5-10 minutes) to Improve Meditation Effectiveness & Energetic Balance
- Simple 20 minute Meditation to Experience Greater Inner Silence
- Effective 10 minute Rest (Shavasana) : Relaxation to go Beyond your Best
- Putting it All Together : Self-Pacing for Success and Joy (Q&A)
By practicing often together we will build the momentum and community needed to continue our daily practice and be able to answer any questions we may have and progress with greater inner silence and joy.
Each step builds on the other. You can join a class anytime and learn the practices in any session, but it is recommended to only practice each step one at a time before adding another level on your own self practice. When in doubt ask your teacher whether a practice may be right for you.
In addition to morning classes Nathalie offers 90 minute Workshops once a month or Private Sessions where we have the time to go deeper into Selected Yoga Topics. Private sessions are also available by skype.
New Topics for Private Lessons or Workshops: We will be introducing new topics or revisiting older ones in more depth which are educational in nature allowing you to learn about the 8 limbs of yoga and understand the full scope of yogic practice that lead to inner silence and ecstatic joy.
Self-Pacing and Responsibility: The basic class includes asanas, pranayama, meditation, rest. You can learn in addition when ready a new technique or deepen a topic to broaden your understanding of yoga. However, add what you learn only when you are ready.
Everyone moves at a different pace and it is important to honor our own pace. Doing so will make you more effective. The additional topics below are offered as individual private sessions and are suggested when a student in a group class is ready (or the student can ask). Steady and consistent practice that gradually builds on the main meditation is key.
Class Topics: The progression will generally be in the order mentioned on this list but may also depend on the individual. Individual separate sessions may be added or removed to enhance effectiveness or understanding.
On-Line Free Resources: www.AdvancedYogaPractices.com (500 free lessons to support your practice) or www.aypsite.org
Recommended Book for AYP Yoga Practices: Advanced Yoga Practices : Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living by Yogani, ideal is the kindle version $8.79 as the book is rather large and with kindle you can read 10 minutes a day.
Several sessions may be attributed to each topic. We need to build the fundamentals together slowly and with steady practice. There is no value in adding techniques for which our nervous system is not ready. Slow and steady practice will make a great difference.
1. Deep Meditation Fundamentals & Technique (Common to all Classes Offered as Group)
This meditation creates inner silence and is the key to changing your nervous system so you can experience inner silence not only during meditation but increasingly during activity during the day. It is the fundamental that will allow you to experience anything far beyond your best. We will explain the mechanics of the meditation and questions on what you may experience during this meditation as well as how to make it a daily habit.
2. Asanas Basic Routine (Relaxing the Body for Meditation)
Most of what we know about yoga are the funny positions we see people twisting and turning into in yoga studios. However, these were only meant to be 1/8 of yoga and used in an entirely different manner than today – preparing us for meditation. To be effective asanas should be light stretching and no more than 10 minutes prior to meditation. We will learn a series of effective asanas to do before the pranayama and meditation that intensify the effects of meditation and will make your entry point easier. We will also learn a 3 min version for the airplane or when you are travelling that you can do standing up.
3. Fitting Meditation Practices in Daily Routine
This workshop will break us into smaller groups to examine how and when to meditate; how many times daily, how to self pace, scheduling in meditation into our lives, best times to practice, and re-inforce previous lessons including why we practice twice a day, and how to fit meditation in even on the busiest days or when surrounded by family or obligations.
The Art of Progressing Joyfully
We will discuss how we can modify times or durations of practices and why we are only adding one practice at a time gradually building up to a full practice. We will discuss some signals that we may be doing too much yoga or not giving our nervous system enough time to integrate the benefits of yoga.
How to balance purification with joy is the art of this inner game. We will learn also what to do when we find ourselves overwhelmed and how to adjust and integrate our practices for a lifetime of joy.
5. Spinal Breathing Pranayama
“Cultivating the Soil of your Nervous System”
This simple pranayama (spinal breathing pranayama) is done before the “I AM” Meditation. This is a practice that can spiritually help you gain many years of advancement in each sitting. What you have been doing up to now in meditation is awakening a silent seed. Pranayama will cultivate the soil of your nervous system.
Using breath and mind we will do selective purification of a particular channel in your nervous system that plays a leading role in the rise of enlightment (enlightment is a state of balanced union between inner bliss consciousness and involvement on this earth). You need to combine both the meditation and the pranayama together.
6. Mulabandha “Root Lock”
Enlivening Energy Upwards
Mulabandha means “root lock” and enlivens energy upwards. It is associated with the lower level of the spinal nerve and muladhara chakra. It is not recommended unless daily practice of both pranayama and meditation or else you may not get much from it.
This lock moves the energy upwards from the pelvic region and can after time contribute to pleasure or inner luminosity. Initially though it also helps to ensure that energy does not escape from the pelvic region. When done dynamically by contracting and releasing rhythmically it is called asvani mudra.
7. Shambhavi Mudra
Purifying Our Control Center
Shambavi means happiness. It is associated with the third eye (ajna chakra) and one of the most important means by which the third eye is opened. This mudra stimulates and purifies the ajna chakra (control center for yoga) regulating the flow of ecstatic energy through the body.
Whereas mulabandha stimulated the lower portion of the spinal nerve (sushumna) to enliven energy upwards, now we are stimulating the top end of the spinal nerve and begin to make a connection there leading to the beginning of “ecstatic conductivity” of the senses moving inwards.
8. Enhanced Series Asanas
For Days we Need to Align the Body
In this practice we will do a full hour of yoga asanas for the times when you may wish to have a fuller individual self practice. These are additional asanas beyond the basic ones introduced in the introduction course for when we may have more time to practice or wish to spend more time balancing the body.
After the asanas we will do pranayama, meditation and rest. The full practice including the basic meditation can be done in 90 minutes.
9. Siddhasana or “Seat of the Perfected Ones”
Contributing to Rising Bliss
Siddhasana means “seat of the perfected ones” and is considered in the hatha yoga pradipika (the bible of hatha yoga) as the king of all asanas. It is an “aggressive” or strong sitting practice that stimulates prana (energy) in the body which can contribute to rising bliss but also to more purification of the bodies nervous system so needs to be done with regular basic practices.
10. Uddiyana Bandha
Assisting Energy Rising Up
Uddiyana bandha (abdominal lock) means to “fly up.” This bandha is associated with the lower and middle level of the spinal nerve, swadisthana and manipura chakras. Performed as a stand alone practice during asana practice, it may occur automatically during sitting practices. This practice combines with mula bandha assist in the rising of energy from the pelvic area upwards.
11. Yoni Mudra Kumbhaka
Enlivening Every Part of Our Nervous System
Yoni mudra means “seal of the goddess” and is a very strong technique that opens every part of our nervous system and draws energy up at the same time. It produces large amounts of purification in the body and cultivates the subtle habits of ecstatic biological functioning within us. This mudra purges too the third eye and more.
Cleansing Inner Channels of the Body
Shatkarmas are specific cleansing techniques that are targeted toward the inner channels of the body particularly the gastrointestinal GI tract, nasal passages and sinuses which have a significant impact on the flow of neurobiological energy throughout the body. The six shatkarmas are dhauti, basti, neti, trataka, nauli and kapalabhati. We will discuss a few and practice one together.
13. Kechari Mudra
“To Fly Through Inner Space” The Rise of Escstatic Bliss
The connection we make at the top of the sushumna (ida and pingala meet near nasal passages) so in ketchari which stimulates this region we bring up ecstatic conductivity more than any other practice. It illuminates the entire nervous system. Ketchari is a perfect companion to shambavi and we will only prepare for the beginning stage I (there are four stages).
Stillness in Action
Samyama is one of the most powerful yogic techniques that can only arise after inner silence in meditation is achieved. Meditation allows us to clear out the obstructions in the subconscious mind and developing a clear awareness of our inner silence. With samyama we are acting directly within our inner silence to produce an outflow of positive effects that purify our nervous system and surroundings in powerful ways – to external manifestation.
The Samyama “sutras” proposed by AYP will allow you to create an incredible balance within prepared for just about anything.