Sivananda yoga classes in Brussels & Amsterdam


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2016 Sharad Navratri

Navratri is one of the most celebrated festivals of India. Nav translates to ‘Nine’ and Ratri to ‘Night’ therefore meaning nine nights that are dedicated to the Divine Mother in all of her forms.

The Mother Goddess is said to appear in 9 forms, and each one is worshiped for a day. These nine forms signify various traits that the goddess influences us with. The Devi Mahatmya and other texts invoking the Goddess who vanquished demons are cited.

Navratri Festival Celebrations devotees are welcoming Goddess Durga for nine days. The celebration lasts for nine nights, or as many days. The tenth day is celebrated as Vijayadashami , wherein devotees immerse idols of Goddess Durga into the water. This year Navratri which started on October 1 will be on till October 10, with 11th being Dussehra. It is also known as the Maha Navratri and the most important day.

The nine forms of Goddess Durga is said to symbolise creative energy and the feminine body. Each form of the goddess has its own day dedicated to it. 

 

Sources: 

Om shanti -ॐ शान्ति


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Navaratri festival from 13-25 October 2015

Navaratri is one of the most celebrated festivals of India. Nav translates to ‘Nine’ and Ratri to ‘Night’ therefore meaning nine nights that are dedicated to the Divine Mother in all of her forms.

The Mother Goddess is said to appear in 9 forms, and each one is worshiped for a day. These nine forms signify various traits that the goddess influences us with. The Devi Mahatmya and other texts invoking the Goddess who vanquished demons are cited.

The first three days of Navaratri are dedicated to Goddess Durga (Warrior Goddess) dressed in red and mounted on a lion. Her various incarnations- Kumari, Parvati and Kali are worshipped during these days. They represent the three classes of womanhood that include the child, young girl and mature woman.

Next three days are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi ( Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity), dressed in gold and mounted on an owl and finally, last three days are dedicated to Goddess Sarasvati (Goddess of Knowledge), dressed in milky white and mounted on a pure white swan. Ashtami, Navami and Vijaydasami which is on the 9th day are celebrated as Sarasvati Puja in which books are worshipped. The books are placed for Puja on the Ashtami day in own houses, traditional nursery schools, or in temples. On Vijayadasami day, the books are ceremoniously taken out for reading and writing after worshipping Sarasvati. Vijaydasami day is considered auspicious for initiating the children into writing and reading, which is called Vidyarambham. Tens of thousands of children are initiated into the world of letters on this day.

Sources: Sivananda, Wikipedia, India Online pages


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Join the workshop ‘An introduction to Nada Yoga, the Yoga of Divine Vibration’

nada yogaSampoorna Yoga Studio in Brussels is organizing a course where we delve into the practice of Nada Yoga to help purify body, mind and emotions. The course will take place on 4 Tuesday afternoons in October, in Brussels.

In India, sound has been used as a healing medium for over 5000 years. In the full practice of Sampoorna Yoga, the path of Nada Yoga – the science of divine vibration – plays an important role. It is a very effective path to liberation. It can be practiced by anyone, anywhere and brings about peace and happiness. It is not an intellectual pursuit but an experiential one.

This course is intended for yoga teachers and sincere yoga practitioners, and gives them a clear foundation of the practice of Nada Yoga. No prior musical knowledge necessary.

Asampoorna-yoga-03-FRONT-SITEfter a brief theoretical introduction, we will work on voice control, sound production, breath control through pranayama, chakra purification exercises. We’ll practice simple vocal and rhythmic exercises based on the teachings of Shri Yogi Hari and Swami Nadabrahmananda. Furthermore we will learn some simple chants.

Each of the 4 sessions will have a specific theme: introduction and theory, melody (raga), rhythm (taal), chanting (moksha mantras, bhajans, kirtan).

EknathThe course will be given by Eknath (aka Erwin Vann) professional musician, former professor at the Royal Conservatories of Brussels and Antwerp, Certified Sampoorna Yoga Teacher (ERYT500) and direct disciple of Shri Yogi Hari.

I’ll be there, will you?

Dates: 7, 14, 21 & 28 October from 2-4PM
Price
: 80€ for the full course (25€ for a single session)
Place: Sampoorna Yoga Studio, Rue du Houblon/ Hopstraat 40, 1000 Brussels


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Insight yoga workshop – ying & yang yoga

20140521_210603Recently I’ve been lucky enough to participate in a 8-day yin yoga, Buddhism and mindfulness retreat with the amazing Sarah Powers and her wonderful husband Ty Powers. The location in itself was magical, in the middle of the Dordogne in France, next to a river, far from civilisation: Moulin de Chaves.

 

sarah-powersty-powersThe idea was to give myself a some time off from teaching and working and to explore Yin Yoga as a personal practice as well as learning how to integrate it in my yoga classes. I was quite surprised to find a large group of yogis upon arrival, as I must admit I didn’t know anything about Sarah & Ty before signing up, so I didn’t know they were that well known and that you are lucky if you get in to one of their workshops or retreats ! There were about 50 people there and the nationalities were diverse: Dutch, Australian, French, Spanish, Israeli, German, Swiss, Austrian, Belgian, American, English, Brazilian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish,… (and I’ve probably forgotten a bunch). Personally I needed me-time, so I wasn’t socializing much which was greatly facilitated by the fact that we were supposed to be silent after evening meditation (from 9PM) until after morning class (until 1PM). The day of arrival was a beautiful and sunny day and after 8 hours of sitting on a train it was great to be near a river in the sun, and to smell and feel the energy of nature all around. Our first class with Sarah was at 5:30 PM and I was electrified by her amazing soft voice and lovely (Patchouli ?) smell. There was an introduction about the retreat, about Buddhism, mindfulness, Insight Yoga and then we did a nice Yin Yoga practice. It’s a hard practice for me to sit still for that long in quite painful postures (opening the hips, tendons, ligaments, and joints in the body). She was very nice and walked around the  big yurt gently suggesting corrections and applying some hands-on as well. After the class we had a delicious vegetarian (and vegan options) dinner, followed by a meditation led by Ty Powers. Every day the schedule was :

7:30-8:00 AM : silent meditation
8:00-9:00 AM: breakfast
9:30-12:30 PM: class
1:00-2:00 PM: lunch
3:30-6:30 PM: class
6:307:30 PM: dinner
8:00-8:45PM meditation

Moulin de Chaves BuddhaI stayed in the dorm and besides it being quite humid (we later asked for a dehumidifier that helped a lot), it was simply perfect. The roommates in the dorm were nice and respectful of each others privacy and despite the rain (lots of it during the retreat), it was a wonderful experience. Every day we enjoyed amazing food which greatly helped our practice: fresh, organic, local, vegetarian, vegan, … Made for us with much love by the staff of the Moulin, often there was a dessert as well, but I stuck to being sugar-free for this retreat, except for the last day when there was a vegan apple crumble 🙂 We were really motivated by our teachers to dive deep inside ourselves, to do self inquiry (both during Yin Yoga classes and meditation) and face our fears and other hindrances that take us away from mindfulness and peace of mind in our daily lives. The yin yoga classes were very instructive and went further than I had imagined, as we were presented with some anatomy, lots of information about the different meridians and the impacts of excess or disturbed energy in the meridians and the impacts on the organs and emotions. We did quite some sharing with the fellow students and at times this was quite emotional for some of us. From Friday evening until Sunday noon we were asked to remain completely silent, if possible also by not smiling or looking to each other  (Vipassana method) to allow ourselves to go quiet and make the self inquiry even easier. I admit that I looked forward not having to talk for some time and to be quiet, but it was a lot harder than expected. My mind tends to get restless and if there’s no book, internet or discussions to distract oneself, it’s quite a challenge. Obviously this was the objective, to observe how our mind functions and to control the mind to be more relaxed and in balance all of the time. We received a lot of mental support from the teachers and in all, it was a very interesting and satisfying experience, albeit not an easy one. I believe that many people were happy when it was Sunday lunchtime and we could again socialize. After this silent period, there was an overall sense of being part of a group and people were very happy to share their experiences and friendships were forged. Many of the attendees are long-time yoga practitioners, have their own studios around the world or plans to start one. It was a wonderful experience to once again be part of a big yoga family where everyone has at least one very important shared value: the love for yoga, sharing the teachings and its benefits. This retreat has brought me much more than I could have imagined, a renewed interest and motivation in meditation, lots of inspiration from Buddhist teachings, great insights in the human body and especially the energetic body (meridians) and more than ever the intention to practice yin yoga regularly and to start teaching it in the near future as well. Moreover, meeting such wonderful yogins from around the world has strengthened my hope for this world as I’m sure that everyone of the attendees (and other yogins around the world) will pay forward the teachings of love, kindness and compassion that we learn in yoga.

I won’t say a lot more about the teachers, because you have to simply experience them, their energy is so beautiful, it simply has to be experienced. They truly live, breathe and are Insight Yoga. Check out their website for events near you and remember to register in advance as their events fill up very quickly.

The wonderful group of yogins & teachers in front of the Moulin on Tuesday 27 May 2014:

image

 


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Mantra of the day: Ganesha Mantra

My mantra of yesterday was the very powerful Ganesha mantra: “Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha”, which can be loosely translated (according to MindBodyGreen) to “Yo! Wake up Root Chakra energy of transformation so I can move through any obstacles in my life.”

Ganapati is another name for Ganesha, who is symbolized as an elephant-headed god, representing power and fortitude. He is the remover of obstacles and bestower of success.

Chant this mantra for as long as you need whenever you feel the need to take away obstacles from your life, from your mind. Sit somewhere quiet in your favorite meditation pose, close your eyes start chanting. You’ll feel the effect immediately. It’s calming, reassuring and brings about a sense of relief and strength.

Chant this mantra 108 times.

The number 108 has many meanings, including the following:

  • It is the hyperfactorial of 3 since it is of the form 1^1 * 2^2 * 3^3.
  • The interior angles of a regular pentagon measure 108 degrees each.
  • Hindu deities have 108 names. Recital of these names, often accompanied by counting of 108-beaded Mala, is considered sacred and often done during religious ceremonies. The recital is called namajapa.
  • Shiva’s Nataraja dances his cosmic dance in 108 poses.
  • In the Bhagavata Purana, Krishna dances with 108 Gopis.
  • In Hindu Astrology there are 12 Rashis or Zodiacs and 9 Planets or Navagrahas. 12 X 9 = 108. This symbolism is illustrated well by the counting method, where the finger segments of the right hand represent the Rashis and those on the left hand the Navagrahas.
  • Also in Hindu Astrology there are 27 Lunar mansions or Nakshatras which are divided in 4 Padas or quarters each. 27 X 4 = 108.
  • 108 signifies the wholeness of the divinity, perfect totality.
  • The chakras are the intersections of energy lines, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, and is said to be the path to Self-realization.

Sources: Meditation & Mantras by Swami Vishnudevananda, MindBodyGreen, Western-Hindu.