My name is Elizabeth Lyseng, and like most yoga teachers I'm a fan of communicating the value of yoga to as many people as possible. I have a bit of the same relationship to classical yoga as “force of nature” Aksel Kolstad has to classical music: a strong desire to bring it home to people. The tradition that I practice and teach is classical yoga, which is a direct continuation of Swami Satyananda’s understanding of yoga.
Aksel has invited me to write a monthly post on CDC’s blog, with a particular focus on yoga for musicians, and I am very happy to accept! Yoga is a far-reaching topic, and, of course, yoga is for everyone! The way yoga is being portrayed in today’s media, it may seem a little daunting for some. However yoga does not prescribe a certain style of clothing, or what a yogi should or should not practice. Yoga is about taking care of one's body and mind, based on each person’s own experience and the understanding gained through the practice of yoga. Yoga is an ancient science of the body, deriving from a traditional Eastern philosophy where taking care of the whole body is at the core. With the whole body is meant that the physical body is not seen as separate from the mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of man. From this holistic viewpoint, an imbalance in the mental, emotional or prana related areas (prana being the energy currents in the body) can manifest as stress in the physical body's weakest organ, or other physically weak areas in the muscles and skeleton. In this first presentation I have chosen to give a general idea of the scope and potential of yoga based on some important truths:
Physical exercise strengthens your body and releases tension
Breathing exercises focus the mind
Relaxation techniques calm the mind and body
Mantras and recitations calm the emotions
Meditation balances the soul
Yoga gives you a stronger and more supple body, increases your ability to concentrate and strengthens your mind. Asanas (physical exercises) and Pranayama (breathing exercises) provide specific stimuli and effects on the organs, joints and muscles. Through relaxation and meditation you can release tension and bad energy, providing more room for reflection, and energy to cope with stressful situations.
Breathing (Pranayama) is one of the most vital processes in the body. The breath affects the activity of every cell in the body, and most important of all, breath has an intimate connection with the activity in the brain. Many people use only a limited portion of their lung capacity. Through Pranayama exercises you can become aware of the full potential of your breathing, and how to use your breath.
Meditation has a surprisingly positive impact on the functions of the body. Through meditation you can get a stronger and more flexible body, which many people believe can only be achieved through strenuous physical exercises. By sitting still in deep concentration over an extended period, energy is focused in the body and mind. Meanwhile, joints and muscles all the way in to the skeleton are strengthened when the body is kept in one position over time. Meditation gives mental power and strength to the mind, so that your body relaxes, lets go of muscle tension, and uses less energy on holding itself up. Through regular meditation practice you will be able to meditate for longer and longer periods without effort.
Relaxation may be practiced in short or long sessions. Through relaxation your body achieves a state that balances between wakefulness and sleep. In this state the skeleton and muscles are invited to accept the favours of gravity and release the body’s full weight onto the floor. Thereby the body lets go of all tensions and quickly achieves a rested state. At the same time the mind releases unnecessary tension, is "reset", and receives a renewal of energy. Relaxation can be practiced anywhere from 5 -10 minutes up to an hour or longer, with immediate effect on the body and mind. Through regular relaxation practice with a yoga teacher you can learn to master shorter sessions of relaxation for self-practice.
Don´t hesitate to contact me for further information. My contact info can be found on the Café de Concert website.
All the best, Elizabeth Lyseng