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Monthly Inspiration: August 2016

Can we Practice Bhoga and Yoga at the same time?

By Marisa Sullivan

The Sanskrit word BHOGA is translated as enjoyment. Some further definitions say, "enjoyment of the senses," or even "sensuality." There is much debate on the word and some would say, when we practice yoga there is no place for BHOGA, that we are trying to refine the senses, and turn the senses inward, not outward. In the Eight Limb Practice of Yoga the fifth limb is Pratyahara, or refinement and trancendance of the senses. As the order of the limbs of yoga is 1. Yama, 2. Nyama, the moral codes of yoga, 3. Asana, the postures, 4. Pranayama, control of the breath, more importantly the Prana, or life force itself, 5. Pratyahara, 6. Dharana, concentration, 7. Dhyana, meditation, and 8. Samadhi, enlightenment. Many schools of yoga put much attention on the sequence of the various limbs of yoga. For example, in Iyengar practice, Pranayama is not taught until a student has practiced and attained a certain level mastery of Asana. So it is interesting to note that the limb and practice of Pratyahara comes after Asana.

Certainly, practicing the physical postures of yoga is a sensual experience. All the senses become refined, the yogi learns through the sensations and experience of the body in the various postures. The sensation of the breath, the awareness of the skin touching earth, sensations of gravity and expansion, are just a few ways the yogi engages senses and sensuality in Asana practice.. In a contemporary yoga class most teachers incorporate music and words of wisdom and inspiration, engaging the sense of the ears, and burn incense or use aromatherapy oils to enliven the sense of smell, and many teachers use additional touch of hands on their students as another form of teaching through touch or an assistance to relaxation through touch. All of this creates the Bhav or Divine Mood that supports our yoga practice.

When we enter the world of SUP yoga all the senses are heightened once again. The eyes delight on practicing postures where every direction of our gaze lands on beautiful sights of nature, the sky, the water, the plants and wildlife. The ears pick up on the tranquility of silence broken by sweet sounds of nature. The smell and even the taste of the outdoors is delicious and clean. The water itself adds a deep sensuality as we float and move with the added fluidity of water.

What is so wonderful about engaging the senses consciously as we practice yoga is that it brings us completely into the present moment. An egret landing, the cry of a redwing blackbird, each ripple of water happens only in the here and now. In this way the yogi can use the senses and the act of embracing sensuality to practice the ultimate goal of yoga, to rest in the stillness between thoughts, to be united with the present moment, fully awake and alive to it, all five senses, 360 degrees, inward and outward.

When we take this quality from our mat (or our BOGA board!!) into life we can engage life more fully, in our kitchens, in our parenting, in our attention to one another on the road, in stores, in relationship, and in the act of lovemaking.

As you practice in the coming month notice how your senses root you in the present moment. As we link postures to this topic, pay attention to the sense of touch, as we relate to earth, to the air around us, to our bodily sensations. Our hands, our feet, our mouths and our genitals have the most nerve endings. We use our hands and feet in asana, opening those nerve endings. And for example in balasana (or squat), which strengthens the arches of the feet, our hands are connected in prayer and helping to open the heart and prana is directed and encouraged to move in the pelvic floor and genitals in a way that it is the Queen and King Asana of creating a healthy pelvic floor. Pay attention to the balance of the pelvic floor as ther is a gentle downward release on the inhale and a lifting, lightening upward on the exhale. The pelvic floor needs that balance, the release, the letting go, and the lift and strengthening.

And come to my workshop (Ladies only this time around) and learn more about the pelvic floor and how our yoga practice can enhance and create sacred space around our sexuality.

"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." - Anais Nin



Thursday, August 11th, 6:00-8:00pm

Exploring our Orgasmic Potential Through our Yoga Practice

Orgasmic Potential We are happy to announce that Marisa Sullivan will be holding her Shakti Power and Magic workshop for women at KamaDeva Yoga in East Hampton, NY this Summer. In this two-hour workshop we will dialogue and learn more about our orgasm muscle, the PC muscle, our sexual and pelvic anatomy. We will practice yoga asana and breath in a way that develops a clearer understanding of the PC muscle, and how to strengthen and release it to support orgasm potential.
Click here for lots more details!

KamaDeva Yoga, 15 Lumber Lane, 2nd Fl, East Hampton, NY 11937 Tel: 917.301.6919 Monthly Inspiration Archives