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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet our Team – Annamarie Weddle

Annamarie Weddle has been practicing yoga since 2009, and she’s loved every minute of it.

“Once I started, I just dove in head over heels,” Annamarie said. “I became a yoga teacher because I’d started taking yoga and just really enjoyed it. I love teaching it and sharing it. And teaching has also taught me a lot about my own practice.”

Currently, Annamarie is trained in process, Vinyasa and power yoga. In all the classes she teaches, she tries to focus on the mind-body connection. Her personal emphasis in class is on intention and stress relief, setting students up for a fulfilling and holistic practice.

Plus, Annamarie says, she tries to help her students apply the content of the class to other parts of their lives.

At Hagoyah, Annamarie teaches the basics class at noon. 

“I really love the basics class because it’s a connected, feedback-oriented class,” she says. “It’s a class of instruction and a slower pace.”

Annamarie welcomes anyone to visit her class, from beginners to long-time students.

“I have a lot of people who come in and say, ‘It’s my first yoga class,’” she said, “and by the end of the class, it just clicks: this is why people love it.”

A typical day for Annamarie begins by waking up early and teaching a class, she said.  

“That’s a great part of the day because it gets you focused and allows you to set your intention for the day,” she said.

The rest of the day is flexible – because she teaches yoga all over the Kansas City metro area, she gets to see different studios and different parts of the community. These days, she spends her time at Hagoyah, Unity Temple, the Waldo Library and Belle Yoga Studio in Westport.

Annamarie loves being a part of the Hagoyah team in part because of the atmosphere, she says. “I love the concept of Hagoyah in general – the hair, the yoga, the nutrition! And I love Angela and Holly too. It’s neat to know that this is their place and it’s great to see their dreams manifested.”

 

Yoga Posture to try: Childs Pose

 

One easy and relaxing yoga pose is the child’s pose. This practice stretches your lower back, extends your arms and relaxes your entire body.

1. Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together; sit on your heels. Separate your knees about as wide as your hips.

2. As you exhale, bend over and lay your torso down between your thighs. Lengthen and stretch your tailbone away from the back of the pelvis while you lift your head far from your thighs, away from the back of your neck.

3. Lay your hands on the floor alongside your torso palms facing up.  Release the fronts of your shoulders toward the floor, and rest your forehead directly on the floor. 

The child’s pose is a resting and stretching pose. Stay anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes. Beginners can use this pose to get a taste of a deep forward bend, where the torso rests on the thighs. 

 Stay in the pose up to three minutes. To come up, first lengthen the front torso, and then with an inhalation lift from the tailbone as it presses down and into the pelvis.

This posture is welcome at anytime during your practice.  

 

 

Three Lies People Believe about Yoga

 

 

Three Lies People Believe about Yoga

 

Our Hagoyah team hears misconceptions about yoga throughout the week. These are a few common reasons people don’t try yoga – that is, a few lies people believe about yoga.

Give yoga a try! You’ll see that these lies are just, well, lies.

 

1. I need to be flexible to try yoga. 

So you’re not flexible enough for yoga? It’s just like saying you can’t go to sleep because you’re tired, or you can’t ___ because you’re ______. Yoga is designed to build your flexibility. Starting from scratch is okay: we’ve all been beginners at one point.

If you lack flexibility, yoga is just the experience for you! Flexibility isn’t a requirement. All you need to do is show up with a positive attitude. At Hagoyah, we’ll teach you the rest.

 

 2. My religion doesn’t fit with yoga. 

Yoga isn’t associated with one religion, one or belief system or one faith. You don’t need to worship any deities, serve any gods or participate in religious ceremonies.

Yoga is more than a physical practice: it’s the unification of your body and mind, your spirit and breath. In yoga, you recognize your thoughts, become conscious of your actions and words and comprehend who you are. Yoga is about seeing your connection to others and becoming connected to yourself. Having any religion, or no religion in particular, doesn’t exclude you from yoga. It’s a physical practice for everyone. Adapt the practice to your own beliefs!

 

 3. Yoga is too expensive for me.

Sure, some yoga studio classes may bring a little sticker shock. But while it’s true that some yoga classes can be costly, many have deals or specials for new students. At Hagoyah, we love offering our Enlighten-Up Lunch Break classes, where you pay what you can. It’s an introduction to yoga for anyone, and we’re happy to offer this gateway to further yoga practices.

And yoga isn’t expensive when you do it at home! Take what you learn from class and put it into action outside the studio. Roll out your mat in your own living room and practice your sun salutation, downward dog, child’s pose and warrior sequence. When you pay for a yoga class, you pay for more than just that hour: you pay for the knowledge you gain. 

 

Beauty-Body-Balance

Hagoyah is Holistic beauty.

 

Holistic is the theory or practice of incorporating Holism.

 

Holism is the care of the entire person in all aspects and/or; theory that whole entities, as fundamental components of reality, have an existence other than as the mere sum of their parts.  

 
Beauty . Body . Balance

 
Beauty is the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind.  

Body is the physical structure of a person or an animal, including the bonesflesh, and/or: the physical and mortal aspect of a person as opposed to the soul or spirit.
 
 
Balance is an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steadyand/or: stability of one’s mind or feelings.

Hagoyah?

What is Hagoyah?

It is Holistic Beauty.
 
Holistic Beauty is a combination of qualities.
It enhances and embraces color, shape, form,
texture, character and wellness.
Beauty .  Body  .  Balance
Your beauty regimen should embody all aspects;
including wellness, and lifestyle.
Beauty .  Body  .  Balance
Supermodel (and avid Yogi), Christy Turlington
has been quoted saying,
“I feel sincerely that beauty largely comes from within.”
 
We couldn’t agree more!  We also feel that practicing Yoga plays a big role in making one feel beautiful, in addition to all of the other wonderful benefits Yoga has to offer.
 
It’s true, being a bit granola, is way glamorous!
Beauty .  Body  .  Balance
We are that one place to integrate all aspects
of your being into something beautiful.
Beauty .  Body  .  Balance