Tantra is translated from Sanskrit in different ways but the general translation is “book” or “body of knowledge”. Tantra’s deeper more profound meanings consist of techniques that help awaken truth and accelerate personal growth/evolution towards beauty and bliss. Tantra is described as being more than just a philosophy. It is a type of world-view that is a science to understanding the nature of life. At the core of tantric philosophy is non-dualism and that even though there are many varying expressions, there is only one underlying reality that pervades everything. This reality’s nature is free from fear; it is inherently beautiful and inherently blissful.
Similarly to the Hawaiian “huna” teachings, Tantra was kept secret for thousands of years. It was kept secret because only a few people could really understand and embody it. Tantra required and still requires an individual to see beyond “normative”, material sight. Just like our ancestors, we too are caught up in our own personal fears, fears that suppress and cloud Tantra’s notion that the nature of life is inherently beautiful and inherently blissful. As a brief summation, tantra is an evolutionary process of the self. It is the process of the realization that the body is a small fraction of who we really are. It is the process of moving one’s experiences and views away from the material plane and instead experiencing and tasting the subtle unification of the joyful nature of life. Lastly, it is about saying “yes” to all personal experiences even when they are difficult and fearful.
Tantra means to weave. Like weaving fabric or tapestry, in Tantra Yoga we are weaving all aspects of yoga and spirituality into our practice and into our life. From the study of Tantra Yoga one begins to see that everything in life is sacred, every aspect becomes part of our yoga practice. “The world inside of us is the same as the world outside of us.” In Tantra we create the world that we desire from the inside out. The practice awakens the spirit that lies dormant within us, and brings that creative, exciting energy alive.
”There are two main goals. One is to experience a place where all your questions and wants have been answered. The first is to have no goals. The height of meditation leads us to a place of wholeness where there is nothing to seek. The second goal is that from that experience you are fully capable of expressing that kind of experience and fullness in your life. The goal of meditation is truly to achieve both.” – Rod Stryker
Pranayama is commonly referred to as breath control. Prana loosely means energy of vitality and ayama means to stretch or expand. Therefore, Pranayama is a way of increasing our vitality. The specific breathing techniques traditionally designated as Pranayama practices are designed to bring more vitality to the body and to calm & focus the mind. Pranayama also allows you to get more out of each posture by simply being more aware of your breath.
Kundalini Yoga is an ancient form of yoga. Kundalini is one of the more spiritual types of yoga. It goes beyond the physical aspect of poses with more emphasis on breathing, meditation, and chanting. The Kundalini is untapped energy (prana) at the base of the spine that can be drawn up through the spine awakening each of the seven chakras. Enlightenment occurs when this energy reaches the Crown Chakra. Kundalini energy is often represented as a snake coiled at the base of the spine 3 times. Each Kundalini Yoga sequence is done with a specific breath that increases the effects of the poses with the intension of freeing energy in the lower body and allowing it to move upwards. Kundalini sequences (called kriyas)consist of rapid, repetitive movements done with breath or by holding a pose combined with specific breathing techniques.
Ashtanga means “eight limbs” in Sanskrit, which refers to the eight limbs of yoga laid out in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The Ashtanga method of asana practice was interpreted by Krishnamacharya and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois from an ancient text called the Yoga Korunta, which described a unique system of hatha yoga developed by Vamana Rishi.
Vinyasa is derived from the Sanskirt term nyasa, which means “to place,” and the prefix vi, “in a special way”. Sri Krishnamacharya, the father of modern day yoga, defined vinyasa as any cycle with a beginning, middle or end. It is also described as progressive sequences that unfold with an inherent harmony and intelligence. Vinyasa is about consciously linking one action to the next. In Krishnamacharya’s teachings, the vinyasa method included assessing the needs of the individual student or group and then building a complementary, step-by-step practice to meet those needs. In the yoga room, the teacher will assess the needs of the students and then build a class with intelligence towards a specific peak pose offering variations for different levels. The peak pose is followed by countering, neutralizing and restorative postures. The breath initiates the movement into the postures. This conscious movement with breath teaches the student to stay present and move in a mindful way avoiding injury. The sequences offer bio-mechanic safety, logic and rationale not just for the physical body but also for the mental, energetic and intuitive bodies.
The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. “Nama” means bow, “as” means I, and “te” means you. Therefore, Namaste literally means “bow me you” or “I bow to you.”
Prana can be described as the life force. In China it is called “chi” and here in Hawaii it is called “mana”. It is the energy in which all of life is based from. It is described as our inner power and strength, breath, respiration, our spiritual essence. It is a complex phenomenon with its nature being highly changeable and constantly moving. It is often related to a current of electricity, constantly flowing, constantly pulsating. It is believed that prana flows and pulsates through our bodies through “nadis” or “meridians”. These highways of energy can often become blocked, stagnated, over-stimulated, or simply imbalanced. When this occurs, toxins are produced and disease settles into the body. It is important to become consciously aware of prana so we can manipulate, harness and channel it for greater health, strength, vitality and greater degrees of awareness.
- Brings balance and harmony to the body, mind and spirit.
- Helps with strength, flexibility range of motion and balance.
- Calms the mind, Reduces stress and anxiety.
- Revitalizes the body and mind.
- Slows heart rate.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Increases circulation.
- Strengthens and tones muscles.
- Helps to detoxify system.
- Improves function of internal organs.
- Balances muscular system.
- Increases metabolism and energy.
- Can help reduce depression, stress and insomnia.
“You can judge your success in yoga by how stable you are, not by how flexible you are.” -Rod Stryker
Flexibility is not the goal of yoga it is simply a by-product. If you can breathe…you can do yoga. One of the most meaningful attributes to develop through a yoga class is not yoga tricks or flexibility feats but stability. The value of asana/postures is to remain stable and centered in the body, mind and breath. Asana is a tool for self-reflection; it helps awaken dormant areas of the body and helps remove blockages on both the physical and energetic levels. And of course as one regularly integrates yoga into their life they will without a doubt become more flexible.
Yoga is a great way to support you body and the newly forming body of your child. There are some precautions however, so you will want to let your doctor and your teacher know that you are pregnant. (especially if you are in your first trimester).
Hatha yoga which is a physical based yoga rooted in asana, pranayama, & meditation. There are many styles, Vinyasa Flow, Yoga Basics, Kundalini, Ashtanga, Restorative & Prenatal. Some styles are fast paced and vigorous while others are very gentle and slow-moving. All styles of yoga have benefits, so evaluating your individual needs and personality type will help point you in the right direction. At first, it may seem overwhelming with the various types of yoga styles; however, if you stay open-minded you will find one that suits your needs. Please always feel free to ask questions.
It is always recommended to consult your health care provider if you are unsure. In general yoga has been shown to be an excellent way to support the body in its healing process. Please always inform your teacher if you have any concerns so they can address your specific needs.
Absolutely! Yoga Basics classes are meant for beginner students. These classes will focus on alignment, basic principles of poses, and becoming aware of your breathing rhythms. Depending on the teacher, you may be holding poses for quite some time so that you become familiar with the way your body should feel in a pose. Yoga Basics classes tend to move a bit slower; the focus is to prepare you for moving forward in a safe way so that you avoid injury as your practice progresses. Open Space also has regularly scheduled “intro workshops”, which are a great way to start. Please check on our on-line intro schedule and you may call or visit one of our studios to find out how to sign up.
- Please wear comfortable workout attire. Be prepared to work in bare feet.
- Please refrain from wearing any colognes or perfumes.
- Bring a towel to wipe down mat after use if you sweat during class.
- We provide mats for $1 rental, but we encourage you to purchase your own. Your mat is an important tool and a symbol of commitment to your practice.
- Avoid practicing with a full stomach, and drink plenty of water before class to remain hydrated through your practice.
- Yoga is a process. Be consistent in your practice. Be patient and compassionate with yourself.
All you need is an open mind, no expectations, no judgments and the ability to breathe!
The sanskirt word yoga, is derived from the root yuj which means to yoke. In other terms yoga means “union” or “harmony,” it is both a philosophical system and a science whose goal is promoting personal transformation through the attainment of self-awareness. With its beginnings enshrouded in the prehistory of India, evidence of yoga practices have been found in the Indus Valley civilization of 2,000-4,000 B.C.E. Although ancient, yoga is not outdated. Over time it has split into dozens of disparate systems, but all share roots in the philosophy laid down in the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, a text authored in South Asia sometime between 200 B.C. and 500 B.C.E. Today, yoga is the fastest growing form of “group exercise”. Although many westerners have classified yoga as a form of exercise, its exercise goes beyond that of the physical. Students often report coming to yoga for the reasons of physical health but after a few months of practicing they report experiencing greater clarity, peace of mind and an overall sense of well being. It has tremendous value for the modern day world, a world that is continually stressed out trying to adapt to this ever-changing technologically fast-paced lifestyle. Open Space yoga offers the opportunity to take a “time-out” and enter into the peace that can only come when we settle the mind into stillness. Through physical movement, breathing and meditation we can deepen our understanding of the self and learn to “yoke” with something greater.