click to zoom image The original meaning of Yoga is “to yoke”, or “to harness”. It is, therefore, rightfully seen as a tool by which the native potential of body and mind is unlocked and cultivated. There are many styles of yoga. Most of the ones which have become popular here in the west are varieties of Hatha Yoga – a system of physical and mental conditioning which detoxifies the blood and internal organs, improves the immune system, enhances mental alertness and eliminates stress, but whose ultimate goal is the evolution of the individual.
click to zoom image The style taught at City Yoga is Shadow Yoga – a practical application of traditional hatha yogic principles, founded by Shandor Remete (Natanaga Zhander). Shadow Yoga begins with set forms, or preludes, which prepare the student for varying levels of practice. The preludes are systematic, emphasizing alignment, positioning and rhythmic breathing in a dynamic, step by step pattern of unfolding movements.
click to zoom image They are structured according to the principles of marmasthana (the vital junctions of the body) and nadi (energetic channels). Each prelude has a particular purpose and should be learned in the order presented:
Balakrama – “Stepping into strength” – The first prelude relieves stiffness in the joints, removes the obstructions which block the flow of vital energy and makes the body supple and strong. This is the starting point for the beginner.
Chaya Yoddha Sanchalanam – “Churning the shadow warrior” – Here the inner fire is cultivated. Co-ordinated movement of the limbs, combined with the application of the bandhas (internal locks), awakens the energy made available by the first form.
Kartikkeya Mandalam – “Garland of light” – The twisting and turning movements of the last form circulate internal energy and refine the body’s native intelligence. This is for experienced students only and should not be attempted until the first two forms have been learned.Photos by Generations Photography