Most people tend to practice yoga with the main objective of achieving physical well-being. As a result they focus only on the "asana" (physical postures) part of yoga practice. If we go by the eight limbs of yoga defined by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras, then asana is only one of those eight limbs. In fact, if we dig a little deeper, we realize that the word asana refers ONLY to a sitting posture. The word "asana" is derived from the Sanskrit root "aas (आस्)" which literally means "to sit". The word asana means either the posture you sit in or the seat that you sit upon. The whole series of physical postures were developed so the body could be made strong and flexible enough so that one could sit in a meditative posture for long periods of time. As per Patanjali, it is only through the practice of meditation that one can attain a perfectly calm state of the mind, which is the goal of yoga.
When these postures were developed, instead of coining a new name for them, the yogis decided to keep the same name "asana" for these postures as well, which Patanjali used for a sitting posture. This is how the whole science of Hatha Yoga evolved. The text that is most commonly referenced for all current yoga practices is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Swatmarama.
Once we understand the concept of the yoga practice as given by both the Yoga Sutras and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika we realize that the three most important components of a yoga practice are asana (physical postures), pranayama (breathing practices) and meditation. Based on this understanding I have been offering special early morning programs to cover all these three aspects of yoga. In successive months I offer the "21-day yoga immersion‘, "14-day pranayama intensive" and the "14-day meditation intensive".
The 21-day yoga immersion, as the name suggests, is a comprehensive program wherein, even though the major emphasis is on a well-rounded asana practice, I also introduce the students to all these aspects of yoga:
- Diet and nutrition – for the first time in this program we introduced an 8-day detox diet option
- History of yoga
- Yoga philosophy according to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: definition of yoga, how does the mind function, what causes stress, the five types of fluctuations of the mind, 8 limbs of yoga (ashtanga yoga) etc.
- The six cleansing procedures given in the Pradipika
- How to establish an on-going personal yoga practice
The recently concluded 21-day yoga immersion program was well-attended with over 30 participants. I am pleased to present here the feedback received from some of the participating students. You can read feedback from these as well as students from the past similar programs on my website here.
"I had a great experience with the 21 Day yoga immersion. As a beginner to yoga, i was skeptical about finishing the whole course, but wanted to try out based on my friend’s suggestion and it was perfect. I have started feeling positive changes with in me both mentally and physically. Highly recommend anyone who wants to learn yoga in a no pressure environment."
– Sreeni Edula
"This program surpassed my expectations. It was the most well-rounded program I’ve ever attended, with a good balance of asana, pranayama, theory, history, diet, meditation, and discipline, in a fun and welcoming atmosphere. I drove 30 minutes each way, leaving my house at 5:20 am without missing a day, because it was worth it. On day 22, I continued my practice at home, but was a little sad not to be driving in to our little group for a great start to my day. I lost 5 lbs too!"
– Teri Thomas
"My overall experience was wonderful as it was very nicely structured. I liked the concept of same flow each day with focus on a particular muscle group; and finally I loved the extra 30 minutes of Yoga theory/concept on Saturdays. This experience made me more disciplined and was the first step towards my overall goal i.e to gain strength and flexibility in my body."
– Nishant Munjal
"Awesome. Every class with Subhash is refreshing, and mind opening."
I enjoyed it. My day was longer when I came to classes. I used to have more time to do other works. I am more focused and less anxious when I did yoga. Thank you Subash ji."
– Divya Nallamothu
"Excellent! Three major takeaways: 1. learnt the correct way of doing all those poses
earlier i used to do some of them in wrong way like when to inhale and when to exhale etc. 2. change in the lifestyle. because of the attended program i started getting up early which i never did in my life. (did not used to get up early even during the annual exams time)
this program really gave me opportunity to change my life style 3. learnt some new variations in suryanamaskara. (i only know treditional suryanamaskara before) but with the program i got to know we can also do some variations."
– Shekhar Dontula