Title image: Brandi Baldwin who teaches Sattva Yoga at Dharma Yoga Studio. Her classes are on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30. The address of the yoga studio is 3170 Commodore Plaza, Coconut Grove, Miami.
I lucked out when I discovered Dharma Yoga Studio. They have an unlimited monthly fee of $165. Thus, I don’t hesitate to try something new. If it doesn’t click with me, I can always go back the next day to one of my tried and true yoga classes. I regularly do Hatha and Ashtanga.
Check out their entire schedule.
Last fall I wandered into one of Brandi’s classes. It was described to me as combining asanas (yoga poses) with the breathing techniques practiced in Kundalini Yoga. I went and experienced it as ‘weird yoga.’ The upshot? Click! Now I’m a regular.
Sattva Yoga: What Is It?
Sattva is one of the three modes of existence in Hindu philosophy. Rajas is the domain of passion and activity. Tamas deals with destruction and chaos. Sattva is the realm of goodness, positivity, truth, serenity, balance, peacefulness and virtuousness.
The current lead guru of this yogic practice is Anand Mehrotra. He is the founder of the Sattva Yoga Academy in Rishikesh, India. Brandi has trained there, and in fact, has gone four times. Rishikesh is in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, at the foothills to the Himalayas. It is the world’s capital of yoga. You are looking at an image of the Ganges River.
The practice centers on kriyas, which are breathing techniques. One well-known one is Breath of Fire. Here’s a youtube explanation of it. The idea is to get energy flowing up your spine from your pelvic floor to your third eye.
That’s what kriyas do: they move energy through your body. They both release negative energy and strengthen your system.
Sattva Yoga: Brandi’s Class
This morning Brandi started class with Breath of Fire. We did it for two minutes at least, maybe three. We kept our arms raised at a 60 degree angle, as show in the video. Then we moved into a series of asanas, interspersed with at least three other kriyas. In my favorite one – which probably has a name but I don’t know it – you draw energy from the earth up one side of your body then you release it on the other side.
Along the way Brandi also gives us guided meditations.
Two things I can say about my experience with sattva yoga.
First, doing the kriyas seems to make time slow down. But then I’m always surprised when the 75 minutes are over, and it’s time for savasana, ‘corpse pose.’ This marks the end of every yoga practice when you lie down to absorb the benefits of what you have just done and to leave behind what you no longer need. It’s before you roll to your side in a fetal position and then sit up to begin life anew off your mat.
Second, the savanasa I experience at the end of every sattva yoga class is particularly relaxing. Once I mentioned to Brandi that I had been kind of out it in during savasana. She laughed and said that everyone in the room had been that day. It had taken her three times to call us back into our bodies so that we could finish the class by sitting up, chanting “Om” and saying “Namaste.”
I recommend this practice and this teacher with an open heart.
Tomorrow I’m trying Sankalpa Yoga. Never heard of it. Want to try it!
See also: Your Body, Your Writing: Three Tips
This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen