For 2016 our intention is to honor a yogi from our community every month. This February we invited Sameer Khosla to demonstrate our pose, Urdhva Danurasana (Upward-Facing Bow Pose), and share his yoga journey. Namaste, Sameer! We’re so glad you believe in the importance of alignment as much as we do.
“Focus on the breath. Focus on. The breath. Focus. On. The. Breath. I often hear or think of these four words in class, reminding me that I need to let myself breathe. Reminding myself that tensing up and magnifying the challenge of a pose that’s in front of me isn’t going to solve the problem. Realizing that letting go sometimes lets you have more control over a pose, more ease and flexibility approaching a situation that you’re in. And this is where yoga becomes a series of internal realizations. Over time, I’ve learned to take that concept of breathing outside of the exercise of yoga and apply it to real life situations. It always helps to take that deep breath, that mental one step back. Adopt the principle and use it in your life – use it at work when faced with what you hope won’t be a string of rash decisions. Use it with the people around you, especially the people close to you.
I’ve started to picture yoga as a set of building blocks underneath my feet, or perhaps under where my head rests. Each pillar represents a yogic principle, and I try to make each one a part of my being as I come across them in my practice. Another one of the concepts I’ve spent time trying to extrapolate is alignment. Take alignment outside of the studio and apply it to your life in the form of moderation. Work/life, eating habits, hobbies, vices. And what you take from yoga and apply internally can be as simple as the concept of thinking about rooting your feet down and pressing into the floor. The takeaway is to keep reminding yourself that you stand on the same ground as the person next to you, which could help you become more rooted, more grounded, more approachable.
Last spring, yoga started to become more of a venture to me as opposed to just an exercise after I decided to incorporate more of it into my life. A family friend in India who runs a yoga studio in Delhi told me that she had begun to integrate a great deal of Iyengar into her practice, and that I should look for a studio focused on alignment. She had warned me that many extreme forms of yoga put me at serious risk of injury and that I wasn’t really learning the method in the veritable sense, and thus not reaping the therapeutic or anatomical benefits it can offer.
I discovered Yoga 216 in my neighborhood, and was delighted to read about how its practice was based on authentic principles in the study of Iyengar. Over the course of the last year, yoga has become my foundation as I strive to make its principles a mainstay of my everyday life.
I truly feel like a ‘student’ when I come to class. I am so grateful to be a part of a community of conscientious and caring teachers who truly understand how I am progressing in my asana and pranayama practice day by day, week by week. The attention to detail is invaluable. We sit together and read and talk about yogic sutras, learning how to assimilate these ancient teachings into our daily lives. Yoga 216 has helped me transform my physical practice into a mental one. This has further helped me find balance in my life and my relationships, be ever present in the moment, and stay focused on optimism in the wake of all of life’s challenges.”