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What to expect in a Satyananda Yoga Class?

What to expect in a Satyananda Style class

When you arrive for your first class you may be asked by your teacher to complete a health questionnaire. This ensures that your individual needs can be supported during the classes. Your teacher may also offer guidelines such as allowing 3-4 hours between eating a meal and your yoga class and to wear loose comfortable clothing. You may also be asked to bring a light blanket or cushion to class.

The teacher

Traditionally a Satyananda teacher sits at the front of the class and gives verbal instruction along with occasional demonstration of new practices or as needed. The Satyananda teacher emphasizes the development of inner awareness and encourages listening to and honoring your own body’s needs during the class. The teacher’s steady presence at the front of the class exemplifies the qualities available to students through regular ongoing practice in the Satyananda system of yoga. The teacher may be more adaptive in a class for children or other special needs groups.

The Practices

A classical range and sequence of yoga postures (asana), gently stretch and open the joints of the body, inviting release of tensions on physical, mental and emotional levels, strengthen, tone and aid development of core stability, increase flexibility and enhance overall wellbeing. Breathing practices (pranayama) help to regain healthy breathing patterns, expand breath capacity, balance the flow of energy (prana) in the body and calm and focus the mind.The Satyananda pranayama practices are slowly and systematically developed over time. Relaxation (yoga nidra), as developed by Sw Satyananda, is a systematic process of deep relaxation and a preparatory (pratyahara) practice for meditation in the forms of body stillness (kaya sthairyam), inner silence (antar mouna), ajapajapa (breath and sound) or sound resonance (mantra chanting).

The class

The class may start with a short settling period, performed lying down and follow with a series of yoga postures, which systematically move the spine through its healthy range of movements and stretch, strengthen and massage the body. Practices range from gentle joint movements, through to strengthening standing postures and dynamic sequences all progressively developed over time. Accessories such as chairs may be used for specific classes such as yoga for elders.

Following the physical postures you will practice pranayama, yoga nidra and/or meditation. Depending on the level of class, you may be introduced to sound repetition such as chanting the universal mantra AUM. The teacher may offer home practice based on yogic philosophy, such as simple lifestyle practices or observances, which enhance self-understanding and mindful-presence in every day life.

Progressive Development

Satyananda practices of asana, pranayama, yoga nidra and meditation are introduced and developed in a systematic and progressive manner starting from Beginners to Progressive Beginners and Progressive through to Intermediate levels.

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