Hatha Yoga is widely considered to be the origin of all yoga styles. If you trace the history back, even ‘modern’ styles like Ashtanga and Vinyasa all have roots within branches of Hatha, and the original teachings which were intended to purify and aid the student to reach higher levels of awareness and connection have been somewhat misinterpreted over time. My teachers at The Practice Bali and Zuna Yoga share elements of the Sri Vidya lineage in a way that is both true to tradition and yet relevant to life as Western householders today, and I aim to do the same through my classes.
Because when it comes down to it, our aim as yoga teachers should be to serve the collective. To help people reconnect with themselves and with their true, unwavering nature that gets masked and covered by years of conditioning and social expectations. As well as disconnection, this leads to all sorts of mental and physical imbalances like over-active minds and stress-fueled lives, and it’s no secret that mental health issues are a plague of modern society. I find it interesting that we are now drawing more and more from ancient practices and societies to counteract our new-age imbalances…but ultimately, the essence of the Hatha Yoga practice has remained the same – a return to centre, cultivation of a deep awareness and understanding of our own individual nature, and the repeated return to this space through practice, even as the world around us inevitably presents challenges.
Hatha Yoga provides the space to align and calm the mind in a conscious fashion, using elements of physical movement, mantra and breath work to do so. Focusing on the cultivation of awareness in the spine and in the quality of the mind throughout practice and off the mat, Tantric Hatha Yoga is an empowering practice which draws us back to the core of our very being. Self-remembrance, acceptance and cultivation of ‘Shakti’ enables us to go forwards into the world with a sense of connection and purpose – belief in and awareness of our own minds and bodies giving us the momentum to do so.
This is in part why I believe we need to re-define the way we view ‘yoga’ in the Western world. There has been too much emphasis placed on the physical aspects and the gymnasticism of most classes – this merely FEEDS our existing imbalances and inability to still the mind. We might feel great briefly in the knowledge that we have ‘worked out’, but the true value of yoga practices lies in the ‘work IN’ it provides us. By focusing on introspection, promoting a balanced mentality and cultivating awareness in all aspects of our lives, I have direct experience with the truly transformational qualities these practices can foster which I feel I am now ready to share with the world. For anyone struggling with confidence, anxiety, or simply seeking a little bit more clarity and alignment in life, these teachings really help to take your power back.
Empowerment and Awareness
I believe that yoga holds the power to return us to the present moment in a way which not only fosters a more grounded, balanced attitude to life, but also one which cultivates body awareness and acceptance like nothing else I’ve ever encountered (and I’ve tried it all!). The physical benefits are just a bonus – really what I hope to impart through my classes and sessions is that inner awareness and strength will take you much, much farther in life towards manifesting your dreams than any exercise programme ever will.