Happy Earth Month!

Since day one, we have strived to find creative ways to give back to our community.  And starting today, we are going to share that with you!

Hagoyah’s non-profit organization of focus for April and May is Green Works KC.  Proceeds from our Tuesday & Thursday 12:00 Yoga classes go directly to this organization.

“If you are thinking a year ahead, sow a seed, If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree. If you are thinking one hundred years ahead, educate the people.”

– Kuan Tzu  Chinese Poet, c. 500 B.C.

Green Works KC supports urban high school students through environmental education and workforce development. Using project-based learning, job skill training, service projects, internships, and other educational formats, GWKC prepares students for a sustainable, independent life after high school. They hope to inspire community and environmental activism, awareness, and respect through education and partnership.

Their primary curriculum focuses on Kansas City’s most pressing environmental problems including the combined sewer system, energy conservation and weatherization priorities, the declining urban forest, increasing ozone levels, and solid waste and recycling issues.

Green Works programming is long-lasting and over-arching. The core programs include a first year environmental education program, and a second year workforce development program, followed by paid summer internships.

During the 2017-2018 school year, ECOS classes will be held at at East High School, Northeast High School, and Hogan Prep High School. They also have two Excelerate programs at their midtown classroom.


The current Yoga Sutra focus for the Yoga Den is Asteya: non-stealing. In the context of Earth Month and Spring, it is fitting to take a look at the things we are consuming, buying, collecting, or using from this world. It can be material goods, environmental resources, energy, actions, thoughts, social media, or anything else that we may be “hoarding” or taking in out of a belief that we “lack” something—that “we are not enough” as we are, that we need something external—something additional to justify our being or affirm our experience.

Perhaps now is the time to evaluate the things you are bringing into your life. Are you “taking” things that might not be necessary? Can you live with less? What purpose do these things serve, and is your quality of life dependent upon having them? What is the impact of these actions and decisions on the earth, others around you, and the overall atmosphere or ecosystem in which you live?

A few ways to put this into practice:

What would it be like to experience contentment and abundance? Allow yourself to believe that you already are and have everything you want or need.

Educate yourself. Google can be really helpful for things like this! Look up simple “hacks” and solutions to minimize your consumption, reuse and recycle goods, and shake up your routine and habits. Or maybe getting off of electronics completely (or even for an hour or two) is a way to cut back? Fill your time with things that inspire you or give you a feeling of awe.

Participate in group or solo volunteer endeavors. There are tons of organizations in the area that need all sorts of skills and service. You don’t have to just serve food, pick up trash, donate money, or build houses. You can do administrative work, calls/canvassing, sorting/cleaning, physical work, read to kids, work with animals, help people become citizens, be a friend or mentor, participate in community action groups or committees—the possibilities really are limitless, you just have to look. The Public Library is a great start, as are volunteermatch.org and npconnect.org.

Get yourself into the community and connect. If something needs to change, it doesn’t take a giant world-shifting movement. We each individually hold so much power in our intentions and spirit. The person behind you in line at the store could need uplifting as much as anyone. So every action you take, all the energy you project, and especially how you take care of yourself, live out your own values, and treat others and our earth—are BIG steps to a more harmonious and healthy environment.

This is what we are all about cultivating at Hagoyah: inner beauty and wellness, treating people the way they deserve, creating a loving, peaceful, accepting, and joyful environment. This is why we want to engage our clients and our community in the things that mean the most to us. We hope to instill in all those who come through our doors the fact that they are enough—rather, MORE than enough—and we want to encourage everyone to spread it, believe it, and help others see it!

Yoga History

If you’ve never read into Yoga History, you may not be aware that the yoga we practice in the West is not the same as all
the yoga they practice in India. Or that many of the styles of yoga we practice come from a single lineage in a vast family tree of styles and philosophies. Or that our emphasis on our physical (asana) practice is relatively new, a modern interpretation of the ancient, sacred practice.

To begin exploring the evolution of yoga, we must begin around 5,000 years ago when yoga was first mentioned in the Vedas. These ancient texts are written in Sanskrit and are the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. These texts contain mantras, instructions and commentaries on rituals, and discussion on meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge.

The Upanishad texts continue to develop the ideas and practices in the Vedas, beginning a period called Pre-Classical Yoga. The Upanishads detail a six-fold path to liberation, which helped open up yoga to other religions and people outside Hinduism. This path includes breath control (pranayama), withdrawing the senses (pratyahara), meditation (dhyana), concentration (dharana), contemplative reflection (tarka) and finally the union with the divine (samahdi). The Upanishads provided a foundation for many important yoga texts including the Bhagavad Gita, a conversation between Krishna (the divine) and Prince Arjuna (mortal man). It is entirely devoted to discovering how one must live in order to have a truly yogic lifestyle. Prince Arjuna must embrace letting go of his ego and begin letting his actions speak for him. These principles later develop into three schools of yoga; Karma Yoga (generous actions), Bhakti Yoga (caring dedication) and Jnana Yoga (knowledge).

In the Classical Period, we begin to see our modern ideas of yoga really begin to take shape. Patanjali writes the Yoga Sutras, 195 aphorisms which guide us in our daily lives as well as in our yoga practice. Patanjali detailsan eight-fold path, developing the ideas of the Upanishad even further. They are ethical rules (yamas), behaviors (niyamas), physical postures (asanas), breath control (pranayama), withdrawl of senses (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and unity with the divine (samahdi). It’s worth noting here that Patanjali doesn’t detail any asanas in particular, but tells us only that the posture must be able to be held for a long time, staying relaxed, steady and motionless. If the posture causes pain or restlessness, it is not a yogic pose.

This brings us to the Post-Classical period, where the schools of Tantra and Hatha Yoga develop. Tantra focuses on expanding consciousness and liberating energies to transcend limitations. Hatha focuses on cleansing and balancing the body before progressing on to higher meditation. Around 130CE, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika is written, describing the ethical behavior of a yogi, 15 asanas (mostly variations of lotus pose), purification rituals, mudras, pranayama and meditation. The purpose of all of this is to prepare us to move into samahdi.

So where does this modern day “flow” yoga come from anyway? As it turns out, yoga as we know was heavily influenced by a system of Danish exercises called Primitive Gymnastics. These were the most popular form of exercise the world over by the 1920’s. Here’s where the single line of lineage begins to come into play.

T. Krishnamacharya was a well versed scholar of traditional Hindu philosophical systems as well as the ancient science of Ayurveda. However, he was also someone who was receptive to the needs of his day. He began creating a new dynamic asana practice combining some of the old traditions with the new modern take on exercise. His students loved it and they went on to create most of the styles that we practice in the West today. These included Krishnamacharya’s son TKV Desikachar (Viniyoga), TKV’s brother in law, BKS Iyengar (Iyengar Yoga), and Pattabhi Jois (Ashtanga). After all of these thousands of years of yoga changing, developing and growing, this is the kind of yoga that made it here. But, re

member, this is just one of the lineages of yoga that is practiced in India and the world over. Pretty cool, huh? If you’d like to know more about the other lineages in yoga, please view Alison Hinks’ Yoga Lineage Chart below!

How can knowing all of this help you out in your Hagoyah yoga practice? Know that all of our teachers come from the same lineage, so although their styles may differ, they all teach the same basic principles. Begin to notice where you see the similarities in their approach! Where can you find the influence of Pattabhi Jois’ Ashtanga? In Erran’s Vinyasa class? What about the breath focus of TKV Desikachar’s work? Perhaps in Sara’s Sweaty Serenity? The perfection of BKS Iynegar’s alignment? In Megan’s attention to detail in Glow with the Flow? Come explore the whole range of yogic experiences with us and find your expression of this ancient art. In the end, it is of little importance what kind of yoga you practice, as long as you DO practice!

“People often ask me if I teach asanas, and when I answer “yes”, they say “Oh, then you are a hatha yogi!”. And if I am talking about the Yoga Sutra, they say “Oh, you are a raja yogi!”. And if I say I recite the Vedas, the comment is: “Oh, so you are a mantra yogi!”. If I simply say that I practice yoga, they do not know what to make of me. Many people want to give everything and everyone a label.

Unfortunately, these classifications have become much too important and give the impression that there are fundamental differences between the various forms of yoga. But really, they are all dealing with the same thing, and are only looking at them from different perspectives. If we really follow one direction in yoga as far as we can go, then it will lead us along all paths of yoga.” TKV Desikachar