I met my guru, Andrey Lappa in 2011. My first class with him was phenomenal. I realized that day I had found my teacher…I had found what I had been searching for since starting my yoga practice in 1995. What Andrey teaches is not a “style” of yoga. It is a complete “system” of authentic yoga. Read on for a description of this amazing system.
WHAT IS UNIVERSAL YOGA?
Universal Yoga is a multi-faceted system of methods that represent all the essential rules and laws of authentic yoga. Is it not about the creator of the system (Andrey Lappa), nor is it about a particular, specialized direction in yoga. It is about unifying all the methods and disciplines in authentic yoga that can be used for any and all individuals, and for any broad or specific goal.
Universal Yoga is a system based on the idea of the mayakoshas (sheaths of the self) that the physical, energetic, emotional, psychological, intellectual, bliss and karmic layers. The Universal Yoga System teaches the yogic methods that enable any practitioner to create control and balance on each sheath, between the sheaths themselves and between the sheaths of the practitioner and surrounding space (world, environment, other people). There are distinct practices related to each sheath/shell that can be specialized and individuated for any level or practice or any purpose of development.
A typical UY asana class will be oriented around the idea of creating balance on all the layers of self (physical, energetic, emotional and mental) using the three main threads of yoga practice: body, breath, and mind. The asanas, vinyasas, breathing techniques and turns on the mat, are creatively integrated while using all major ranges of mobility for arms, legs and spine. The primary goal of practice is not to target the body, but to target one’s concentration, focus and attention; to turn it all inward, creating a serenely stable inner-atmosphere conducive for awareness & personal development.
WHAT ARE THE FEATURES OF UNIVERSAL YOGA?
There are four main features:
1) FIRST FEATURE:
There are four aspects of practice in Universal Yoga that never change:
• To be karmically free (7th chakra)
• To be conscious and responsible for all aspects of practice and life (6th chakra)
• To be creative in practice (5th chakra)
• To be compassionate, always (4th chakra)
Each of these aspects relate to the higher centers of the astral body (chakras), endowed to each human being.
2) SECOND FEATURE
Practitioners of Universal Yoga must use the ideas of unification, balance & control to create balance on each sheath (mayakosha), between the sheaths, and between themselves and surrounding space (others). In Universal Yoga there are practices for each sheath that can be individualized according to the needs of each practitioner.
3) THIRD FEATURE
Universal Yoga practitioners must remember to BE TRUE TO THE ULTIMATE GOAL of YOGA. If the ultimate goal is preserved then yogic knowledge will not be contaminated by personal interpretations, ego-oriented goals or yoga as a business. Each practice on any layer should bring the practitioner to an experience of the next layer.
4) FOURTH FEATURE
Practitioners of Universal Yoga must follow the traditional concept of the mayakoshas in their teaching and practice. This will prevent any individual approaches from becoming too narrow or too specialized. It will keep the practitioner on the path of TRUE balance in yoga. Once we get to the deepest layers of practice, all individual practices will be different because the karma of each person is different.
How many times during a day do you have free (and quite) time to lay on the floor and stretch? If “not often or never” is the answer I have an easy 4 minute leg stretch series you can try with your kids, pets, or spouse “bothering” you. All you need is a little space on the floor and something to hold your foot in the air with (strap, belt, scarf, tie, you get the idea.) This is a great series because your back is supported on the floor. So even if you have very tight muscles, you can do this series without compromising your lower back. Have fun and remember… “Blessed are those who are flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape!”
Answer: Tabata Squat Challenge YouTube Video (of course!)
So when you are home avoiding frostbite, dead car batteries, and closed schools … roll your yoga mat out or put some shoes on for traction and do this Tabata Squat Challenge video with me! Check it out! Tabata Squat 4 Minute Challenge
If you still like me after doing the video, please send me a testimonial about the benefits you’ve had with group classes or private sessions at the studio or the online videos!
You do have time to exercise! Check out this video and join me for just 4 minutes! This challenge will take you through eight 20 second planks with the option of variations. You can rest in-between each set for 10 seconds or go into a side plank for an extra challenge. Do as much as you can. Each time you try, you will probably be stronger and can last longer. The timer used is called Tabata Pro and is available at the app store.
How many of us have extra time to workout? Do you feel like you are squeezing in your workouts or worse skipping your workouts to get your to-do list done first? I can relate and I teach yoga and pilates! Clients often ask me how often I workout. I usually laugh and say something like, “Not as often as I did before I had kids.” I used to practice yoga for 2+ hours at a time, uninterrupted! Now my yoga or pilates sessions are often done with my kids joining in the fun saying “Look at me mom…MOM!!!! Look at me!” So whether you are a parent at home with your kids or at the office, you can still exercise.
My New Year’s challenge to you is to make time to exercise. It can even be for 4 minutes at a time. Really, that’s not a typo – just 4 minutes can make a difference. The key is to keep it consistent. My New Year’s challenge to myself is to post some videos for you to use as a guide, so stay tuned!