Minimalist Yoga A 50 Minute Hatha Yoga Class, Cultural Conditioning Series, Yoga with Melissa 177

by Melissa West on May 10, 2013

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Cultural Conditioning: Less is More

Free-Yoga-VideoA Free Intermediate Yoga Class

Cultural Conditioning is the social process in which authority figures such as parents, professors, politicians, religious leaders, peers, and the media define our cultural values, beliefs, ethical systems, and ultimately the way we perceive ourselves in the world. Today’s theme comes from Viola Vazio from Italy and she suggested another concept that might be interesting to analyze further is “quality over quantity”. She says, I feel like our society is pushing us more and more towards quantity and leaving behind quality. You can see from the simple day to day life all the way to the work people do. Quantity, producing more doing more even though there is no quality behind it. I feel that my priority is the QUALITY of my life, I prefer to earn a little less but be happy of the life I am living. I feel I have to give out “quality” (at work, with family and friends) but would also like to receive it back and unfortunately it doesn’t happen that often. With food you can only buy organic if you want quality because otherwise you can find millions of fruits and vegetables at the supermarket that taste of nothing and that have pesticides and other harmful things. And the list can go on and on… The good news is that people are starting to realize it and appreciate quality when they find it.

I would have to agree wholeheartedly with Viola. We are suffering a cultural epidemic of obesity and debt in our Westernized world because of our value of more is better. More food, bigger portions has led to a plates filled with nutritionally deficient food. Bigger houses with more stuff in them mean that we build bigger closets to keep our stuff or have to rent storage units to control the overflow. Big gas guzzling SUVs dominate our roads and cost a fortune to run. In the long run we have to work longer hours and our possessions end up owning us. In yoga there is a concept called apparigraha – non hoarding or take only what you need. How much space and things do we really need? Many people as Viola said, are now working less hours or willing to work for less money if it means they will have to put in less time at work so they can have more of their life back.

When I first looked for a style of yoga that I would study I landed at Esther Myers Yoga Studio. The simplicity of their philosophy: breathing, grounding, and spinal elongation allowed me to just be in my body and experience my yoga. Less was more and I could let everything else drop away.

Esther rightly reminds us that our breath brings us back to center and the present moment. Your exhalation in particular releases tension and drops you into weightedness (grounding). Esther says at first you are simply releasing the stresses and tensions of your day and yet over time you let go of more deeply held patterns of fear and resistance and powerful transformation occurs through your breath. (Focus on exhale, allow inhale to come passively)

Gravity is with us all the time. Be conscious of the ground underneath you. Notice how it doesn’t take any effort to lie here on the ground. Gravity’s natural force is acting upon you and pulling you towards the center of the earth. Grounding in Esther Myers words simply means “stopping, relaxing, not trying doing nothing, letting go, undoing” Feel your body completely supported and feel the ground underneath you.

Bring your attention to your spine – the structural, nervous and energetic core of your body. It is the center that will support and orient you. Allow your spine to support you and all muscular tension will let go.

What is your intention for today’s class. “Don’t use a lot where a little will do.” -Proverb How could you bring the theme of less is more with you into your practice?

Props Needed: Yoga Block

Yoga Asanas: Knees to Chest/Apanasana, Cat Pose/Marjaryasana, Thread the Needle, Lunge Pose/Anjaneyasana, Parsvottanasana/Standing Forward Folding Triangle , Warrior I/virabhadrasana I, Warrior II/Virabhadrasana II, Bridge Pose/Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, Sages Twist/Marichyasana I, Sages Forward Fold, Marichyasana I Forward Fold


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