“Yoga is a way of moving into stillness in order to experience the truth of who you are.”
~ Erich Schiffmann
Hatha Yoga originates from an ancient branch of Indian spiritual traditions. The root of the Sanskrit word Yoga is “yuj”, which can be translated as ‘to yoke’, or as ‘union’. The spiritual intention of the yogi or yogini is to unite their individual self with divine consciousness. The term Hatha, if dissected, is described as Ha, which is the Sun and all his masculine attributes as a giving, passionate, active and creative energy, and Tha, which is the Moon and all her watery feminine qualities, such as receptivity, creativity, coolness, fertility and intuitive insight. Hence, the term Hatha Yoga symbolizes the alliance between pairs of opposites: the Sun and the Moon, the male and the female, the Earth and the Sky, giving and receiving, rational and irrational… Therefore, by practicing Yoga, one learns to harness the different currents of energy within the body in order to activate the powerful life-force (prana) known as Kundalini Shakti.
These days, most people start doing Hatha Yoga as a form of exercise to alleviate musculo- skeletal discomfort, to reduce stress levels, and to become more fit and flexible. The practice of Hatha Yoga indeed provides those physical and emotional benefits. Yoga improves health in general by increasing the oxygen levels in the blood stream through conscious and profound breathing techniques (pranayamas). Breath awareness establishes a sense of peace and vitality that affects positively our daily life. Yoga stimulates and tones the vital organs through the holding and release of geometric postures (asanas), creating an inner massage throughout the body. Yoga asanas, by working at improving the flexibility of the spine, relaxes and tones the nervous system, which emanates from the spinal cord.
Through the practice of Hatha Yoga, the flexibility, health and wholeness of our body/mind/spirit improve. Yoga can help us unleash our true physical, mental and spiritual potentials, cultivating will power, humility, concentration, balance, flexibility, self-knowledge, equanimity, non-attachment, stillness, harmony, compassion and kindness. Through the practice of mindfulness, the yogis and yoginis start to marvel at the preciousness of the present moment. They become less obsessed with nostalgia or resentment from the past and less incline to developing illusion, fear and anxiety for the future. They start to dwell into the spirit of each breath, and each moment is received with gratitude, acceptance and respect for the perfection of life in all its complex manifestations. Such attitude helps each individual to cease their insatiable quest for goals that bring along suffering. Yoga helps to expand beyond the limitations of the ego, providing an inspiration to embrace all species, all cultures and all differences, thus contributing to making the world a more peaceful and loving place to live in.
The classes offered by Maryse are gentle and contemplative. Through postural alignment, breathing techniques, meditation and relaxation, each participant is encouraged to honor his or her own physical conditions and emotional needs.
Six years ago I began my yoga journey by attending a class taught by Maryse. With Maryses teaching of yoga through gentleness, patience and compassion she brought me to the awareness of the beauty of breath and movement....the beauty of the moment. The full essence of Maryse and her yoga style touched my heart, soul and spirit and eventually took my life in a new direction. Because of Maryses influence I have been a hatha yoga teacher for the past two years. I feel so blessed that now I am able to give back to others the beauty of yoga with compassion, non-judgement, acceptance & love that Maryse gives to me and others through her teachings.
~ Brenda Godwin