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Yoga Teacher Training in the Finger Lakes

Yoga Teacher Training in the Finger Lakes

Gross Body vs Subtle Body

Subtle Body Yoga
The difference between the gross body and the subtle body is the perishability. Gross body perishes at the end of every birth, whereas the subtle body does not perish and accompanies the casual body and soul till emancipation.  All the souls put together is the Brahman.  In the same way, all the subtle bodies put together, is known as hiraṇyagarbha or the cosmic egg. Hiraṇyagarbha is endowed with intellect and this intellect, also known as mahat, is the cause for the physical body. Hiraṇyagarbha can be considered as the feminine energy, if soul is considered as the masculine energy.  Unless, the soul impregnates hiraṇyagarbha, creation is not possible. This is yet another instance of interdependence in the process of creation.  If one assumes the form of his subtle body, he will see two different things on his two sides.  On one side, he will find flesh, blood, bones, nerves etc constituting the gross body.  This side will be totally dark, except the nine apertures.  On the other side, he will notice his casual body in the form of diffused illumination.  The illumination of the soul is not fully visible because, it is veiled by ignorance.
Out of the seventeen components of the subtle body, the first five are the organs of perception, also known as organs of knowledge – ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose. They are also known as jñānendriya-s.  jñāna means knowledge and indriya means belonging to; therefore jñānendriya-s mean ‘belonging to knowledge’.  Since knowledge is acquired through these organs of perception – ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose, they are known as jñānendriya-s. Jñānendriya-s play vital role in acquiring knowledge about the world. The external world is made up of five gross elements ether or ākāś, air, fire, water and earth. The subtle body is made up of tanmātra-s, the subtle forms of these elements.  Tanmātra-s look at the gross elements through the five organs of knowledge also known as organs of perception.  Unless one has knowledge about the material world, spiritual knowledge cannot be extracted.
Let us take eye as an example.  Eyes look at an object, say an apple.  The image of the apple is gathered by the aperture in the gross body, in this case, eyes, which in turn pass on the gathered information to the cognitive faculty viz. sight.  The action of the organ of perception ceases immediately after it conveyed the information to the cognitive faculty, in this case sight or vision.  It is only the vision that provides input to the mind.  Organs of perception and cognitive faculties are interdependent.  Traffic between the mind and organs of perception is two way through cognitive faculties.  Eyes convey the impression of an apple tree to the cognitive faculty sight, which in turn conveys the same to the mind.  Mind analyses the impressions of the apple tree and decides to see the fruits of the tree.  The desire of the mind is conveyed to the faculty of sight, which in turn gathers information through organs of perception, eyes which look for apples. Therefore, cognitive faculties, also known as knowledge is the intermediary factor between the mind and the organs of perception.
Organs of action are mouth, feet, hands, organ of excretion and organ of procreation.  When organs of perception convey the impressions to the mind, mind finally acts only through organs of action. Organs of action are totally in the control of the mind.  Desire, created through the influence of organs of perception is executed by the mind through the organs of action, also known as karmendriya-s.  Inherently, mind is attracted more towards organs of perception as they communicate innumerable worldly impressions to the mind and the mind is too happy to enjoy these impressions.  But, organs of action cannot communicate anything to the mind.  They can only receive commands from the mind. Traffic between mind and organs of action is always one way.

Let us continue with the example of an apple.  Ego is an inherent factor of the mind.  I or me or mine arise only because of ego. At the instance of the mind, eyes again look at the apple tree and this time more specifically for apple fruits.  Organ of perception, eye conveys to the mind through cognitive faculty, sight about the availability of the apple fruit in the tree.  If mind is in confusion, it refers to the intellect.  Intellect confirms to the mind that it is apple.  Then the mind develops desire because of the inherent ego.  The desire develops in the form of tasting an apple.  Now mind sends command to organs of action to get the apple.  Receiving the command from the mind, feet moves towards the apple tree, hands pluck an apple and mouth eats it.  The cause for the movement of legs and hands is prāṇa and its five modifications.  Thus the seventeen components form the subtle body.


Change Your Mind, By Changing Your Brain

Change Your Mind

When you understand how neural pathways are created in the brain, you get a front row seat for truly comprehending how to let go of habits. Neural pathways are like superhighways of nerve cells that transmit messages. You travel over the superhighway many times, and the pathway becomes more and more solid. You may go to a specific food or cigarettes for comfort over and over, and that forms a brain pathway. The hopeful fact, however, is that the brain is always changing and you can forge new pathways and create new habits. That’s called the neuroplasticity of the brain.

I used to drive with one foot on the brake and the other on the accelerator, and I wanted to train myself to drive with one foot only. It took some time, as I had a strong neural pathway for two-footed driving. But because I had the will to do it, I built a new pathway, and I rewired or reprogrammed my brain. You can remove a behavior or thought or addictions directly from the brain. Because of neuroplasticity, the brain’s ever-changing potentials, anything is possible. People who’ve had strokes can retrain their brains to function again by building new pathways. Smokers and overeaters and many others can learn new behaviors and attitudes and can transform their lives. Whether you work with others on their habits or you work with your own (or both), you can apply these understandings to boost your success. Some Powerful Ways to Retrain the Brain

1. Identity the habit you’d like to transform and set the intention.

You may remember the punch line “The light bulb has to want to change.”  You have to have a high intention to change as well. If there is this high intention, then creating new pathways in your brain is bound to happen.

2. Observe what the old habit or pathway is doing in your life.

Look at feelings, thoughts, and how the body is responding to the habit, and see what results you’re creating in your life. Be the witness, and  be aware.

3. Shift your focus.

This is very important. To create a new neural pathway, you take the focus off the old habit, and then that old habit eventually falls away. Don’t pay attention to the donuts and cakes. Take your awareness and focus it on good, wholesome, healthy delicious foods.

4. Use your imagination.

You can build new neural pathways not only with new behaviors, but through the imagination. Just imagine the new behaviors over and over and over. Keep repeating that in your mind so you build new pathways. Focus your mind and retrain your brain.

5. Interrupt your thoughts and patterns when they arise.

Say “no” or “cancel” when an old thought or impulse comes in, and say, “I don’t have to do that anymore.” Then turn toward the new neural pathway you’re building and keep on going in the right direction.

6. Use aversion therapy.

This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It’s an optional path. I like to call it “the maggots on the chocolate cake technique.” I used to love candies and sweets, and when I stopped eating them, I still had to pass by them when I walked by the candy store in town. I used aversion to train my brain to walk on by: “That’s junk,” I said to myself. “It’s made in factories, sickeningly sweet, makes me feel bad. The company makes it so sweet just to addict buyers. I don’t want any of that.” So I talk myself out of it. I’ve use it with many clients (only those who say they want it) on smoking, junk food, cocaine and many other behaviors.

7.  Create a specific plan and choose what to do instead.

When you get specific, it’s easier to build new neural pathways. You “make it official.”  Decide if you want to exercise instead of overeating or if you want to eat fruit instead of candy. Just keep focused on the new choice.  You may want to create affirmations and anchors to reinforce your choices. This can be “I’m free or “I’m in control.” Reinforce this with energy therapies like EFT or other techniques.

8. Transform the obstacles.

Look at what’s in the way. Look at secondary gain – what you’ve been getting out of the old habits or pathways. Look at the stress in your life and how you can handle it differently. Get your mind in the place of possibility. Handle the emotions and thoughts and get on a new superhighway in your mind.

9. Connect with your Higher Source for inspiration and support.

Listen to our guidance. Know you have the Force within you, and therefore you have great power. Meditation creates new pathways and brain changes. Actual studies have been done on the brains of monks to show meditation’s effect on neural circuits of the brain.

10. Transform and make the shift.

Know that transformation is always possible and that you can create new brain pathways whenever you’re ready to make the shift. When you keep your mind in the “I can do it!” space, you get a clear sense that you’re done with the old and on a new beam now. Some people feel we’re being rewired spiritually for anew era. There’s great upheaval now in our world. And there’s a process of transformation happening on earth in which huge changes are taking place for all of humanity. You have to be present in the moment, overcome your fears, and get to know the Infinite source so you can be a vehicle for the light to predominate on the earth. Credits: Marilyn Gordon

FEAR Underlies All Obstacles to Peace

You have lost your “Center” because that Center is now different. Also, your soul wants you to fully participate in this transformation.

Yoga Klesha

Therefore, the frequency of you that holds the primary consciousness for the physical form has the responsibility to go down into the depths of your own darkness and to bring it all the surface of your consciousness where it can be healed.

(It looks like some things never change. I just put up a welcome message on my site today saying the exact same thing.)

Because your physicality has been so involved in the process of perceiving and healing your darkness, you have felt separate from your Multidimensional SELF. In fact, your darkness is just that: “Separation from your true Multidimensional SELF.” You have been a brave warrior to go into the depths of your Self to live and relive your fears and anxieties.

Let us take a close look at your fears and anxieties so that your efforts will not have been in vain:

  • 1.  The first darkness is the illusion of separation. This illusion tells you that you are alone and that no one will be able to understand or accept you. You want to go “Home,” and Home is someplace else that is very, very far away.
  • 2.  The second darkness is the illusion of fear. Fear is a natural reaction to separation. If you are alone with no one to understand or accept you, then of course you will be afraid. Fear feels like a brewing storm that will break in the moment when you least expect it.
  • 3.  The third darkness is the illusion of “I will not survive.” This fear is very predominant at this time because, in reality, part of you will not survive. Your darkness will be enveloped within your Light. Fear will not cease to exist because nothing becomes extinct; it merely changes form. You have become very attached to your darkness. It is the part of you that tells you that you must live more deeply inside of yourself and turn away from the physical world.

remove fear

Now let us look at your fears as well as how you can transform them:

1.  The illusion of separation. In order to completely experience the third dimension, one must allow the experience of separation from the ONE. This is the last physical embodiment for you and for those who wish to return their consciousness to the higher dimensions.

Therefore, all of you who have consciously or unconsciously chosen to ascend want to savor your physical experience to the fullest.“Why, would I want to experience something that is so painful?” you ask. Because, our ONE, you wish to gather all of your third dimensional lessons around you and integrate them into your full Multidimensional SELF. As a result of your physical incarnations you have gained great independence and determination.

Again and again you have remembered to turn inwards to your Source in time of need.Furthermore, you have connected the illusion of separation with your Earthly lives. During your Ascension process you need to release that illusion and connect with Earth, Lady Gaia, as She is assisting you and you are assisting her.

2.  The illusion of fear. Fear is the opposite of Unconditional Love. Your Higher SELF has chosen for you, its physical expression, to experience fear and anxiety so that you can boomerang those emotions into the feeling of Unconditional Love.

What you resist – persists. Therefore, you need to stop resisting your fear.You need to move into it and give it your full attention. Do you hear what your fear is really saying to you? It is saying, “Do not forget me. I, Fear, have been a wonderful teacher for you. I am your warning mechanism that allows you to know when you are falling off your center. I am the portion of you that reminds you to re-calibrate yourself. “Go inside,” I tell you, “to hide from the enemy of separation.”What did you find inside? Did you find separation? NO! You found Unity. I, your fear of separation, reminded you that you are ONE with all life.

3.  The illusion ofI will not survive.” The fear of “I will not survive” will remain as a memory. This memory is important so that you can help others. You have had this fear very deeply through this Earth incarnation because you nearly died as an infant. However, the fear you have is actually reversed. The infant was not afraid that its physical body would not survive. Your infant Self was afraid that its Soul would not survive.

Now tell that infant that your Soul did indeed survive and, in fact, it greatly expanded itself. In this final physical life you, and many others, have learned and will continue to learn, that you can bring spirit into matter and thereby raise the frequency of the matter that has been imbued with the light of Spirit.

Do you see now why you have been so nervous? Feel now how your nervousness can be released into the expanded Light that you are actively allowing into your body. Remember, whenever, you bring in more Light you invite more darkness to the surface of your consciousness to be appreciated and loved freely.

Conquer Fear

Issues in Your Tissues

Issues in your Tissues

Hip Emotions: Is There Sadness in Your Hips?

The mind-body connection is what enables the ancient practice of yoga the foundation upon which to bestow its benefits of calmness and serenity. ‘What happens to the mind also happens to the body and spirit,’ issues yoga teacher, Donna Raskin, highlighting in essence what yoga, the Sanskrit word for ‘union’, is all about. Known to provide relief from physical discomfort and used to acquire a meditative state of mind, yoga can also be used to enhance function where mental and physical processes combine – in the dynamic of emotion. A holistic approach to interpreting physical discomfort as emotional blockage has encouraged a proliferation of styles, such as Forrest and Dru Yoga, which establish principles of practice upon motivation towards psychological healing. Yoga acknowledges the ability to hold emotional tension in various areas of the body, however the hips receive special attention as an area associated with emotional burden. Often referred to by yoga instructors as the ‘junk drawer’ or ‘attic’ of the body, our hips are considered a site of storage for emotions which we do not wish to confront and so tuck away into the deepest confines of our being. Physiologically, how can emotional burden be stored in the hips?
Anatomical hip diagram

Anatomical hip diagram

Hip instincts

On a symbolic and physical level, we can consider how central the space of our hips is to the form of the body. Most often a place for a woman’s centre of gravity, this can infer a deeper connection to this area and the emotions it can hold, but for men also the pelvis is the seat of directive movement in the human body, imperative to proper alignment, balance and posture. Our peripheral nervous system, involved in the stimulation of emotional response in addition to other functions, establishes connections in the hip area to promote survival in times of emotional stress. From birth, the sympathetic nervous system response can stimulate a strong contraction of the flexors of the body, drawing ribs around the visceral organs and the knees up to the torso to offer protection should the infant suffer a fall. In this the hip muscles, particularly those of the iliopsoas complex, are activated which will later be used to run, kick or stand ground as the body grows more sophisticated in its ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response. The psoas major is unique in that it is the only muscle which connects the spine and leg bones and, hinging on the central nervous system that attaches through the spine into the brain, can be regarded as an extension of the survival-focused reptilian brain in classic brain theory. Fascia (fibrous tissue) also connect the psoas to the diaphragm, causing an interdependency of breath with the tightness and movement of this muscle.
Stressed out of balance
The link between the hips and instinctual reflexes associated with fear and stress looks to offer an explanation for the storage of suppressed emotion in this area. Whether to dodge or flee an attack, much rests on the hip muscles being able to perform their function with power and speed. The site of some of the strongest muscles in the body, in an instant the hips are charged up with excess energy to maximise the body’s kinetic potential. However, it is rarely the case when subject to the mundane stresses of work and domestic life that we use this energy as nature intended. In turn, the calming influence of the parasympathetic nervous system works to neutralise and suppress the effect of the sympathetic contraction response, governing the ‘rest and digest, feed and breed’ gland and organ functions of the body to create the state of balance necessary for optimal health and function. Prolonged periods of stress or trauma can inhibit the ability of autonomic nervous system to maintain harmony when overstimulation becomes the benchmark for homeostasis, resulting in adaptation that resets the standard for normal. Under these conditions, constant stress can seem a fact of life or in more acute cases, dysfunction can manifest as a prevalent sense of anxiety or fear, heart palpitations, insomnia or adrenal fatigue. Tightness in the hips and other muscles of the body often feature due to insufficient relaxation of the muscles subject to the contraction of repetitive mechanical or psychological stress. The tightness itself further inhibits relaxation for when the psoas is tight, deep abdominal breathing is constricted. At the core of yoga and meditation practice is awareness of the breath as the breath is key to achievement of a restful state. As Guru T. K. V. Desikachar states, ‘The quality of our breath expresses our inner feelings.’ A tight psoas interferes with the movement of the diaphragm which in turn affects the ability to activate the parasympathetic response. This is achieved via signals from neuro-receptors on the wall of the main abdominal artery when, in deep inhalation, abdominal pressure is high.

Freeze response

Cases of acute psychological trauma often find its genesis in the freeze response in particular since by nature, trauma is ignited by intense fight/flight experiences without resolution. Like a circuit breaker, the freeze or immobility response enables the body to cope with inescapable situations without risk of energetic overload whilst activating an analgesic mechanism that reduces pain in death. In Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma, Peter Levine PhD. highlights the capacity of wild animals to discharge excess energy in the aftermath of a freeze response to life-threatening events by shaking. The significance of this is noted by Levine to enable the animal to return to normal function minus any effects of trauma. The tendency of humans and domesticated animals however is to harbour the energy seeking resolution in fight or flight within the nervous system. Levine states, ‘Intense frozen energy, instead of discharging, gets bound up with the overwhelming, highly activated, emotional states of terror, rage, and helplessness.’ (Levine, 1997) Vicious cycles of emotional debilitation and immobility ensue. Therapeutic approaches like Trauma Release Exercises (TRE), designed for survivors of war and natural disasters, can demonstrate the relevance of the psoas in trauma recovery by utilising exercises that relax the psoas. With the capacity to provoke neurogenic muscle tremors that originate from the psoas, stored energy related to trauma can be discharged and resolved.
child in firelog pose

child in firelog pose

Tissue memory

Considering the role of the psoas in energy storage and trauma release, the desire to cry during an intensive hip opening yoga class – as related through experience by a wealth of yoga blogs and articles – is not as unusual an experience as it could seem. Tears of forgotten anguish in pigeon pose have been noted to strike from states of a calm or even cheerful disposition and is perhaps yoga’s most common example of hip-related emotional catharsis­. Fascial unwinding, not unlike yoga and TRE in its relaxing effect upon the tissues of the body, is a practice of massage therapy ‘in which a client undergoes a spontaneous reaction in response to the therapist’s touch.’ Practitioners theorise the occurrence of emotional release in conjunction with fascial manipulation with an understanding that is not dissimilar from that which is advocated by Levine. Upledger developed the notion of the energy cyst, ‘foreign energy … derive[d] from non-physiological sources, such as from external trauma, pathogenic organisms or severe emotional shocks.’ With the body unable to discharge this deposit of ‘foreign’ energy in the fascia, he promotes that unwinding facilitates its release, often accompanied by expressions of stored-up emotion apparent as crying, shaking, laughing, etc. (Upledger, 1997) Stored emotions may offer lessons from which the subject can ‘discover blocks that may have been hindering [the] healing process,’ according to physical therapist, Carol M. Davis. She goes on to suggest that ‘not only the myofascial element, but also every cell of the body has a consciousness that stores memories and emotions.’(Davis, 2009)

Body conscious

Notions of the body consciousness have been influenced heavily by the work of neuroscientist, Candace Pert, whose research in the 70s pioneered an understanding of neuropeptides as the biochemical agents of emotion. Binding to specific receptors on the surface of the cell, these chemicals are capable of triggering a chain of biochemical reactions deep within, changing the aspect of the cell to either positive or negative effect. In this way, the cells of the body are capable of retaining the energy of a traumatic event. Pert asserts, ‘Repressed traumas caused by overwhelming emotion can be stored in a body part, thereafter affecting our ability to feel that part or even move it.’(Pert, 1999) As to how this could relate to emotion stored in the hips, Pert hypothesises, ‘I believe that unexpressed emotion is in the process of traveling up … from the periphery, up the spinal chord, up into the brain. When emotion moves up, it can be expressed. It takes a certain amount of energy from our bodies to keep the emotion unexpressed … I think unexpressed emotions are literally lodged lower in the body.’ With reference to the metaphysical principles of the chakra system, yogic tradition can coincide with this theory and site the location for these lower-body unexpressed emotions at the base of this neural pathway in the hips.

The Gunas: Nature’s Three Fundamental Forces

The Gunas

The Gunas: Nature’s Three Fundamental Forces

Excerpted from Rolf Sovik  of the Himalayan Institute – One of my most sacred places with a wealth of Wisdom and have spent several years here. Enjoy!

Life’s complex journey has the potential to bind as well as to liberate. In order to navigate this dual nature of experience, the ancient school of Indian philosophy called Samkhya (“that which sums up”) divides reality into two categories: the knower (purusha) and the known (prakriti).

Purusha, the Self, is never an object of experience; purusha is the subject—the one who is aware, the one who knows. Prakriti, on the other hand, encompasses everything that comes before us in the objective universe—whether psychological or material. Prakriti is all that can be known.

Unmanifest prakriti is a reservoir of limitless potential consisting of three fundamental forces called the gunas—sattva, rajas, and tamas—in balance with each other. Through the interplay of these forces, prakriti manifests as the universe. Therefore, all that can be known in this world, tangible and intangible, is a manifestation of the gunas in their various forms.

Cultivating awareness of how these forces operate can be a valuable tool on the spiritual path. By apprehending the “feel” of each guna and using that knowledge as a guide, you can move toward recognition of the knower—the purusha—in you.

The Gunas Close Up

The word guna literally means “strand” or “fiber” and implies that, like strands of a rope, the gunas are woven together to form the objective universe. Philosophically, the theory of the gunas explains what this universe is made of and how it came to manifest itself as mind and matter. But more important for yoga practitioners, awareness of the gunas tells us whether we are genuinely moving forward in life (sattva), running in place (rajas), or losing our way (tamas).


For yoga practitioners, awareness of the gunas tells us whether we are genuinely moving forward in life (sattva), running in place (rajas), or losing our way (tamas).


Each guna has its own characteristics. The essence of sattva is to act like a transparent pane of glass, allowing light—the light of conscious awareness—to reveal itself in the operations of the mind and in nature. Sattva is not enlightenment itself but it unveils what is true and real (sat). It shows itself as beauty, balance, and inspiration, and it promotes life, energy, health, and contentment. Cultivating sattva—by making choices in life that elevate awareness and foster unselfish joy—is a principal goal of yoga.

Rajas is the energy of change. It is distinguished by passion, desire, effort, and pain. Its activity may cause movement either toward sattva (increased spiritual understanding) or tamas (increased ignorance). Thus it may act positively or negatively. But it is most often characterized as unsteady, agitated, and unhappy—prompting change for change’s sake alone. If freshly picked tomatoes are sattvic, spicy tomato sauce is rajasic—good for a Friday night pizza, but perhaps not an everyday meal choice. Rajas brings happiness by prompting the coupling of the senses with their objects. Thus rajas also binds us to attachment, to the fruits of action, and to sensory pleasures of every kind.

Tamas conceals the presence of consciousness. It causes dullness and ignorance through its power to obscure. Its nature is heavy and dense. One Sanskrit synonym for tamas is sthiti, or “steady.” In its more sattvic garb, tamas can supply a steadying influence in life—for example, bed rest can lead to healing. But tamas is primarily immobilizing: tamasic foods are lifeless, stale, or impure; tamasic entertainment is mindless and intoxicating. Tamas leads to inaction when action is required. Each of us has experienced the binding power of tamas—the appeal of lethargy, procrastination, and sleep.

The three gunas are constantly interacting with one another. We can discern hints of this interplay in English phrases such as “innocent pleasure” (sattva-infused rajas) or “rabid addiction” (rajas-propelled tamas). But while the gunas themselves are permanent in essence— having emerged from primordial nature (prakriti)—their interactions are transitory and afford only a false impression of permanence. In this way, the play of the gunas obscures the real (sat), and attracts and binds us to what is ultimately unreal (asat).

The Gunas at Work

We can begin to explore the gunas’ tangible presence on the yoga mat. Imagine you are in a class performing janu shirshasana, head-to-knee pose, without a great degree of mindfulness. As you fold halfheartedly toward your extended leg, your back rounds, your shoulders hunch, and your foot collapses to the side. Your head falls forward and your mind sinks into a sleepy reverie. Except for a dull sense of discomfort in the pose, you might as well be taking a nap. This is tamas—a sense of lethargy and inattentiveness.

Compare this to another occasion when, determined not to be outdone by the person next to you, you find yourself making tenacious efforts in your pose. You struggle, painfully, to lengthen the back of your leg, but consequently round your shoulders as you strain to touch your toes. Meanwhile, preoccupied with the painful end of a romantic relationship, you fantasize about meeting the person three mats down. This is rajas—a generous serving of agitation, exertion, competitiveness, pain, and enticement.

Yet, on still another day, your pose unfolds differently. The class is smaller and you are in a calm mood. Following your teacher’s cues, your attention shifts inwardly from one element of the pose to another, and you find yourself working a challenging but safe edge. Longer, more stable holds in the posture yield a subtle awareness of breathing. And while much of what you are doing in the pose is invisible to those around you, your mind is pleased and relaxed by your inner efforts. This is sattva—clarity, mindfulness, and a spontaneous sense of contentment.


Identifying the sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic aspects of a yoga pose—and then cultivating rajas and tamas in service of sattva—is a surefire method for advancing your practice.


Identifying the sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic aspects of a yoga pose—and then cultivating rajas and tamas in service of sattva—is a surefire method for advancing your practice. But there is more to these three qualities than simply improving your seated forward bends. Insert these same principles of self-observation into daily affairs, and you will have the power to transform every aspect of your life.

{Everyday Awareness}

The process of working with the gunas unfolds systematically in four stages:


1. The interplay of the gunas occurs almost entirely outside of your conscious awareness.


2. You begin to notice the gunas in the world around you (the rajasic display at the checkout counter, the sattvic sounds of a Mozart sonata), and learn to recognize the feel of their distinctive qualities.


3. You witness your own sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic tendencies.


4. Finally, you begin to sculpt your involvement with the gunas—cultivating sattva, softening rajasic urges, and engaging tamas in the service of stability and rest.

The Gunas in Life

Descriptions of the gunas form an important part of one of the most revered texts of the yoga tradition, the Bhagavad Gita. In chapters 14, 17, and 18, Krishna portrays the gunas in marvelous detail. He begins (in verse 14.5) by describing the power of the gunas to “bind the immutable embodied One.” He goes on to provide an account of the nature of each guna. Later (in verse 18.40), Krishna dramatically summarizes the scope of the gunas’ activities:

There is nothing on the earth, in heaven, or even among the gods, that is free from these prakriti-born gunas.

But if the gunas are so pervasive, how are we to work with them? Krishna’s advice is to sharpen our powers of self-observation and discernment. His recurring message is that with practice and the right resolve, we can learn to witness the activities of the gunas and employ them with a sense of balance and purpose.

To make this process more visible, Krishna contrasts the look and feel of the three gunas in a variety of contexts. For example, he notes that:

The food you eat may (17.8–10):

Taste good and promote health,
strength, and a pleasant mind (sattva)

Be oversalted, highly spiced, and
cause illness and depression (rajas)

Be stale, unwanted by others, and not
fit as an offering (tamas)

The gifts you offer to others may be (17.20–22):

Given at the right time, with nothing
expected in return (sattva)

Given reluctantly, or with the aim of
gaining a returned favor (rajas)

Given at an inappropriate time or
place, with disrespect or contempt (tamas)

The steadfastness with which you approach your spiritual path may (18.33–35):

Help you bring your mind, breath,
and senses into harmony (sattva)

Depend on your acquiring something
you want (rajas)

Preoccupy you with fears, grief, and
excessive sleep (tamas)

Your happiness may (18.37–39):

Arise from inner discrimination and
increase over time (sattva)

Be overly sensual; sweet in the beginning,
poisonous in the end (rajas)

Arise from sleep, lethargy, and negligence (tamas)

As you read this list, or turn to the more extensive teachings in the Gita, don’t let the stringent characterizations mislead you. They are not meant to promote self-criticism or condemnation. The gunas act as signposts—guides that indicate where you are and where you are inspired to be.


Samkhya philosophers say that life exists for the purpose of acquiring experience and knowing the Self. The gunas are meant to facilitate this spiritual endeavor. They reveal, conceal, and stir us up—all for the purpose of drawing us closer to purusha, the knower.


Samkhya philosophers say that life exists for the purpose of acquiring experience and knowing the Self. The gunas are meant to facilitate this spiritual endeavor. They reveal, conceal, and stir us up—all for the purpose of drawing us closer to purusha, the knower. Krishna, the voice of the knower, sums up this relationship (in verses 14.19–20) with a lofty description of life’s goal—one in which ego identification with the activities of the gunas is transcended altogether. Though challenging, this millennia-old teaching continues to inspire seekers today:

When the seer observes
no agents of action (no “doer”)
other than the gunas,
and knows the transcendent
beyond the gunas,
such a one attains My being.

The body-bearer, transcending
these three gunas
which create the body,
freed from the sorrows of birth,
old age, and death,
enjoys immortality.

English translations of the Bhagavad Gita based on Perennial Psychology of the Bhagavad Gita by Swami Rama (Himalayan Institute Press).



After Effects Of Yoga Teacher Training Course

Yoga Teacher Training Rochester NY and Finger Lakes

We have all heard zillion things from people with Yoga Alliance certification that how yoga teacher training course changed their lives. Their experiences act as a guiding light for us. But no words said and understood can explain the alteration & amends it makes to one’s being. Nothing can justify its beauty. A miraculous & astounding experience with divinity in its most awakened form, is what we have to say.

Spiritual transformation is the word that we would like to use to define after effects of yoga teacher training course.


1. Rediscover the Philanthropist in you

While you will hear your yoga guru preaching about the oneness of all beings, you will find yourself more attuned to the needs of others. Love will flow compassionately from your heart and whether it is nature, animals or other individuals, you would feel it is your duty to be empathetic towards one and all.

 2. Receive spiritual guidance

No matter how otherworldly it may sound but it is a fact that you will open up your intuitive centres. When you learn about ego and the self, you learn to let go of it freely. The process of releasing and surrender enfolds the perfect blueprint of the universe. Trust opens up channels of beauty & bliss, where the soul guides the awakened soul through the universe.

 3. Self preservation & Self acknowledgment happens

Living in a highly competitive world, we often neglect or overlook ourselves, which often leads to self criticising attitude. Yoga teacher training programme brings you to a zone of awareness and heightened understanding. The self reflection process starts and you develop a better relationship of the self. Love, trust, compassion and understanding of your soul reduces stress and anxiety by manifolds.

4. Let go off easily

Letting go is a slow process but with constant guidance and company of high attuned souls, it becomes easier for you let go off old habits. Things you do not require or are an extra baggage are dumped off with ease. Unplugging from technology or shift towards a healthier lifestyle and eating habits are some of the common changes observed.


5. Physical empowerment

One of the obvious benefits of 200 hour yoga teacher training course is that once you become a yoga instructor, you have the power within yourself. Body postures, body alignment and calm approach towards life, empowers your whole being. A unique experience, world would be a totally different place to live in.

6. Mental empowerment

There is no denying that we all have been exposed to how positive thinking works. But how many of us really work on it? Only a few. Yes. But in a more conducive environment, we all truly make an attempt to shift to positive thinking. This helps in relieving the mind from all its stress & doubts. Only one truth prevails. Meditation, pranayama & yoga nidra come together for your mental aid in this course.

written by: Manmohan Singh