Mini Me Yoga programmes encourages both adults and children to explore, learn and bond. Kate Bartram-Brown, the founder, created a programme in which everyone can access and engage in yoga without having had any previous experience. Embedded within the programmes are meditation and mindfulness alongside techniques for positivity helping to create happy, healthy kids whilst also benefitting the adults participating too!
When I first began with yoga, I was working my full time job, going to graduate school at night, and thinking about the future which generated a mixture of anxiety and a lack of presence. Yoga came to me by surprise as my sister whom I was visiting in San Francisco lied to me and took me to my first yoga class. Flash forward to today, I continue to work my full time job, have been studying yoga for 16 years and teaching yoga for 13 years, and feel that I live more in the present than in the past or future.
Modern life can feel overwhelming with periods like we are sailing seas with large waves. Then, we unconsciously inundate ourselves with information every time we pick up our smartphones.
Yoga can be both a simple and complex remedy to modern life. Yoga can be as simple as breathing and moving to a sequence like Surya Namaskar. Yoga can be complex because it is a way of living requiring time to master. There are many introductory pathways but there are few teachers who are steeped in the rich tradition of yoga and its practices, and are relatable to be able to provide a bridge for today’s students.
When I was a new student to yoga, I was humbled at the end of each physical practice and struggled to place into context the many touch points of yoga such as: Hinduism and its many branches or periods; sacred texts (the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Shiva Sutras, etc); rituals and pujas; and icons (Shiva, Shakti, Ganesh, etc.). Yoga with its recorded history of over 3,000 years means that its practices and teachings probably date further back in time.
The yoga is further complicated by misunderstandings in translation and commercialisation. One of the greatest confusions in yoga when it was introduced to the west is the misunderstanding that yogis should be renunciate or strive to leave their body. Householder path is the opposite to the renunciatory path. Living like a monk or nun can work for some people, however householders seek to celebrate this life and body rather than leave it. Yoga in the west has also been influenced by commerce with stereotypical images of youthful, slender yogis in their fashionable, movement friendly apparel.
The meaning of yoga has continually evolved for me. Today, when I think of yoga, I mean any or a combination of practices with elements of ritual such as breathing, asana, meditation, contemplation of verses from sacred texts, self-study, eating for seasonally and appropriately for your constitution, and more. Knowing what I now know and have experienced, if I were teaching my beginner self, I would share this verse from the Rig Veda, one of the earliest yoga texts:
The human body is the temple of god.
One who kindles the light of awareness within gets true light.
The sacred flame of your inner light is always bright.
The experience of unity is the fulfillment of human endeavors.
The mysteries of life are revealed.
For me, this verse encapsulates yoga. We begin with viewing ourselves as sacred, then through our efforts we are able to achieve illumination and oneness.
Roberto Lim is a Prana Vinyasa (link to www.shivarea.com) yoga teacher and trainer who has traveled and taught yoga in Costa Rica, Europe, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, and Turkey. He is also a Modern Mystery School initiate and healer. He has attended Healers 1 and 2, and Ensofic Ray Healing programs in Toronto, Canada. Roberto was born in the Philippines and moved to the US when he was nine years old. He lives with his wife, Ariana Bain, a MMS guide and healer, and their cheerful puppy Sandy in Somerville, MA near Boston, MA.
Some images from pixabay.com
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