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Bikram Yoga & Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path of Yoga

Would you like a map for living in the world with ease?  

Chrystine Cooper has put together her interpretation of Patanjali’s teachings and how they integrate with and can deepen your Bikram Yoga practice. Patanjali is often credited as the author of the Yoga Sutras which can be viewed as a guidebook to greater happiness in your life.  These texts written nearly 2000 years ago still resonate to this day.  Climb as high as you want onto the Eight Fold Path, and watch it transform you.  Here are two links that will help explain how it works and start you on a deeper journey: 

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/yoga-101/beginning-journey
http://www.yogajournal.com/article/yoga-101/path-happiness

On the community board at each studio we will have this posted to help remind you of the steps and help make your practice that day a celebration of you.  


1st FoldYamas; moral imperatives.
How you treat others and your community.  The mirrors help remind us that we are all in this together, just like life.  Moving together and supporting each other creates an atmosphere of higher consciousness for us all.

2nd FoldNiyamas; how you treat yourself.
Your body is the temple for your soul.  Bikram yoga cleanses and nourishes you “inside out, bones to skin, fingertips to your toes.”  It is a total mind body workout.

3rd FoldAsanas; disciplined practice.
Patanjali wrote that “Asana is thus a posture that one can hold for a period of time, staying relaxed, steady, comfortable and motionless.”  Steady your gaze on one spot on your image in the mirror, move with the words, be diligent about your alignment and watch your practice transform as you gain a stronger mind body awareness.

4th FoldPranayama; awareness and control of breath.
Prana is often translated as ‘life-force’ and ayama  as ‘extension of’.  An awareness of your breathing has profound affects on your central nervous system as measured by the brain imaging capabilities of modern science.  The opening and closing breathing exercises in Bikram strengthen your respiratory system and improve stamina and the steady breathing through the nose throughout class will melt the stress away.

5th FoldPratyahara; withdrawal of the senses, freedom from cravings.
The more you practice you’ll discover that if you have applied the first four folds your willpower improves.  You’ll be able to resist the external ‘go to’ things when life’s waters get choppy.  You realize that the answers to your questions are inside you.  You are the one you have been waiting for.

6th FoldDharana; concentration.
Concentration is utilized throughout class, and the balancing series is where you begin to fuse your mind and body and concentrate on using your muscles to optimally support your skeletal structure.  You’ll discover this is the portal to transforming your class into a 90 minute meditation.  Still your body, still your mind.

7th FoldDhyana; mediation.
With your new concentration skills you will begin to move into a deeper moving meditation in class which will have profound impacts on your life outside the studio.  Patanjali wrote in the Sutras that ‘yogas is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind’.

8th FoldSamadhi; enlightenment.
Patanjali proposed that enlightenment could be experienced in delight within everyday occurrences, not just upon transcendence.  When you are doing something you really love to do, those are moments of samadhi to be savored.  The more you practice Bikram yoga the more blissful you’ll feel and the easier it will be to see moments of samadhi show up in your life.