All adults are welcome (male & female, young & old, beginner & advanced).
Yoga from the Heart Canada is based on a spiritual form of yoga developed by Heinz Grill of Germany, whose teachings are based in devotion to the Highest, and reflect a deep understanding of the integral nature of earthly life and spiritual life. The classical postures of Hatha yoga (based on a Sivananda sequence) are practised actively, but in a new sensitive and artistic way. The body is used creatively as a tool to develop inner qualities of strength and stability, surrender and devotion, concentration and calmness. We work with consciousness exercises in which we learn to perceive a deeper side of ourselves, of others, and of life. The classes also consist of pranayama (breathing) exercises, mantra chanting, deep relaxation, meditative readings, and advice on home practice. The classes are both highly energizing and relaxing, as the bodily tensions are released, and the mind is freed from its relentless stream of confining ego-based thoughts.
Yoga From the Heart Canada is not only Hatha yoga. There is an underlying emphasis on Bhakti yoga (devotion) and Jnana yoga (spiritual knowledge). Although we practise the same traditional Hatha yoga poses (“asanas” in Sanskrit) as taught in Sivananda schools, it is the “expression” of the asanas which is different. Bhakti yoga is reverential devotion to life in which one surrenders one’s personality out of love for the Highest. Jnana yoga deals with the question “Who am I?”, and leads to the profound knowledge of the soul as being pure light. So ultimately, it is the Bhakti and the Jnana which we want expressed in the asanas. Of course, when one is just starting out, it is not possible immediately to express the true elegance of an asana in its deeper meaning. The important thing is the practice itself, where we work in connection with these high principles/thoughts, and where the yoga positions serve as the working field in which we can first start to recognize the state of our own consciousness (in its disordered subjectivity) … so we start to develop a sense for Bhakti and Jnana in a very practical way. Then, over time, with dedication and joyful determination, and with repeated contemplative reading of suggested spiritually-inspired writings, the expression of the asanas begins to reflect the inner life of devotion and spiritual knowledge (as opposed to an expression of the ego, which is the case with most artistic endeavours in these modern times).
Through the practice of Yoga from the Heart Canada, the movements of the body in daily life also begin to reflect the breadth of the inner life … they become more relaxed and smooth, more precise and aesthetic. One begins to perceive more objectively, and to concentrate more intensely. And one discovers a deeper and more sincere way of relating to others, enabling one to better understand and help them. The will to act becomes freer, less complicated, and more selfless as one becomes less attached to the physical world, and begins to work for (serve) a higher cause. This selfless service is called Karma yoga, and is the essential third pillar (along with Bhakti yoga and Jnana yoga) of spiritual life.
In Yoga From the Heart Canada, there is no goal to achieve some perfect physical form of a position … nor is there the goal of recognizing and controlling the subtle prana energy of the body (although these skills are secondarily developed in the practice). Rather, the only thing that matters in this yoga is the attitude of the consciousness. We are trying to develop an attitude of gratitude, and of giving. Westerners need to learn again to live the life of true devotion, to surrender their large personalities (egos), before they can begin to recognize the spheres of the inner world. Through the sincere practice of Yoga from the Heart Canada, little by little, this process of realization takes place, and brings with it a long-lasting flexibility of the body, an expansion of the consciousness, and a deep inner peace.