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Dharma Yoga
Be receptive... All is within.
Be receptive... All is within.

Dharma Yoga's posts

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Have you heard of Yoganonymous?

In this AWESOME article (featured on yoganonymous), you can read about Sri Dharma Mittra's own daily personal practice and his views on Bhakti Yoga.... And also learn how you yourself can become "stuffed with bliss"!

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It seems to us that the niyama most people tend to forget is that of “saucha”, or purity. We’ve been particularly interested in this niyama lately… Summer feels like a great time to purify, shedding things that no longer serve us – a sort of halfway point between our New Year’s Resolutions of last year and next year.
According to the Dharma Yoga Life of a Yogi Teacher Training Manual, “Through the niyama of saucha, the mind becomes fit for Self-knowledge… everything else falls into place.”
So what do we mean by “purity”, exactly? Saucha implies a certain cleanliness, both internally and externally. Keeping your clothes, your body, and your place of residence clean will help you feel more at peace. Sri Dharma sometimes asks us, “Why are you thinking about laundry when you are supposed to be meditating? Because you have too much dirty laundry!” Eliminating these distractions will allow you to focus on the present moment.
For internal cleanliness, we can use pranayama and asana to remove toxins. Pranayama practices help to purify the nadis (psychic channels), removing grantis, or psychic knots; this increases the potential for Divine Union, the main goal of yoga. Pranayama and asana practices also help us to gain knowledge and awareness of the physical body, which can help us access that feeling of always being the “observer” and never the “doer” in our daily lives.
The kriyas are ancient practices that aim to heal and restore the subtle systems of the body; check out our recent blog article for more information and instructions!
Bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion, purifies intellect and removes impure thoughts. Try listening to an album of Kirtan, and sing along if you feel moved – this is one of the most popular elements of Bhakti yoga. By offering all of our actions up in service of a higher force than ourselves, we can cultivate our devotion.
Saucha is frequently listed as the first niyama, because it implies three others: tapas (austerity/self-discipline), svadhyaya (Self-study), and isvara pranidhana (surrender to the Almighty One). All of these practices cleanse the intellect and the heart in order to settle the mind.
You may notice a theme developing here. A clean body and mind results in a settled body and mind; once we are truly purified, we are able to reflect on higher truths and Self-knowledge which may have been unavailable to us in our impure state. The lack of this knowledge is the source of all pain & suffering, as Sri Dharma always reminds us.
Of particular interest – The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Book II-40.
“When saucha, or purity, is observed, it makes you feel that even your own body is impure… When we realize this, we develop an indifference towards the body; not that we neglect it, but we no longer adore it.”
“‘When the disciple is ready, the guru comes,’ is a well-known Hindu saying. When the receiver is well-tuned, the music comes. We need not send out invitations. All that is necessary is for us to tune ourselves. Then, without even a second’s delay, the guru will come in some form. If we are not ready though, even with a hundred gurus around, we won’t be benefited. For a guru can’t force anything into us. We must be ready to receive… That is why preparation – developing virtues like yama and niyama – is very important.”
To me, it seems that all the yama and niyama are really there to bring us closer to the pure and simple truth of our being… Each ethical rule and observance is sort of a different facet, but overall we’re just trying to get rid of all that extra junk that doesn’t serve us – to bring us closer to the simplest form of being human. By reducing our existence to its simplest terms, we are free and unclouded to understand everything – to see everything as it truly is.

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Upcoming events at Dharma Yoga:

***TOMORROW, July 7th, 6 to 8pm - Arm Balance Clinic with DY Senior Teacher, Kim Jeblick.***

Asana clinics are excellent opportunities for students of ALL skill levels to really refine their practices and dig into subtle details of the poses in a supportive environment. The workshops are highly interactive, giving you a chance to ask questions that you don't normally get to vocalize in a typical practice setting. These clinics can give beginning students a great starting point to really begin to understand the postures, and the clinics will allow advanced students to gain an even more thorough understanding of the spiritual intention of the postures. Clinics are also a great chance for established teachers to observe a Dharma Yoga senior teacher in action, receiving a plethora of information to share with their OWN students!

This particular workshop will focus on developing the strength and confidence needed to balance on the arms and invert - leading to greater ease in many postures, such as headstand (the king of the poses). You may find yourself making rapid progress by focusing on a small group of postures for an extended timeframe! Visit our website to pre-register and save a little money:

Next month's posture clinic (Augst 4th) will focus on BACKBENDS.

***Saturday, July 21st, 6 to 9pm - Maha Sadhana with Sri Dharma Mittra***

"The Great Divine Whole and Complete Eternal Practices of Sri Dharma Mittra, recommended for intermediate through advanced practitioners. This amazing session begins with spiritual purification discourses from the Master explaining how the ancient teachings can find expression in our modern lives. You will be shown how to establish proper placement, alignment and the deep spiritual intention behind each pose. It continues with in-depth, long and challenging Dharma Yoga III-IV Shiva Namaskara Vinyasa practice, including healing Deep Relaxation and a reflective meditation practice. Also included is a joyous Devotional Dharma Asana Satsang Jam. Personal attention and helpful hints are given throughout the session as well as direction toward the real true goal of Yoga. Pre-registration is required for this once a month special workshop."

[Editor's Note: If you have never experienced the Asana Jam, it is worth attending the Maha Sadhana just to witness this incredible offering! But the Maha Sadhana is truly not to be missed - the energy of the room is miraculous, and you will take your practice to the next level no matter where you are now.]

***Dharma Basics Course - Three courses begin next week: Dharma I on July 9th, Meditation on July 10th, and Dharma II on July 11th***

These four-week courses meet once a week from 7 to 8:30pm. Dharma I meets Monday evenings, Meditation on Tuesdays, and Dharma II on Wednesdays. These courses give you the opportunity to develop a closer relationship with your teacher and classmates, allowing you to develop a level of comfort in the classroom.

Who can benefit from these courses? People who are either just starting out practicing yoga, students returning from a long break, sadhakas trying to get closer to their practice, or those who wish to begin to develop a personal practice at home.

Students must register for all four weeks of the course, with the exception of the Dharma II class, which can be taken on a drop-in basis. Incredibly gifted and bright senior teacher, Andrew Jones, teaches all three courses.

All additional information can be found on the Dharma Yoga website:

Santosa (The Niyama)
Patricia Hachey

 The perspiration on my brow, the thunderous applause and cheers of the audience arose from having worked until physical exhausted. As the curtain was lowered onto the stage, the feeling of bliss overcame me. As a dancer, this was the culminating moment of the efforts put into each performance. The concentration required me to match each movement and shape of the body to the music under the bright stage lights ... and while it seemed infinite and difficult, my passion contributed to its ease.   When all of these things came together successfully and were echoed by the reaction of the audience, a joy filled my heart.

 There are an abundance of activities, objects, or people in today’s culture that generate strong emotions within us. Some bring out a feeling of happiness, like in the instance of taking a bow in front of an Opera house, while other things cause pain, anger, or frustration. With so much stimulation surrounding us, and society’s emphasis on acquiring material goods leads to attain fulfillment, how does a modern yogi discriminate between temporary happiness and true contentment?

 The dependency on objects or activities that make us happy will always result in a temporary joy, leading to a perpetual search to recreate that feeling. When we let go of this limited idea of happiness, we allow for something more lasting to enter. The concept of santosa is that of contentment, to be happy with whatever one has and to enjoy living in the present moment without desiring anything more. However, it is easier to grasp in theory than it is to apply to your daily life.

 The Eight-Limbed Path of Yoga provides guidelines for living a purposeful and spiritual life, with moral and ethical rules to discipline oneself towards the Self-Realization. The first of these eight limbs is the Yamas, which are moral rules of conduct: satya (truthfulness), ahimsa (non-violence), asteya (honesty), aparigraha (non-possessiveness), and brahmacharya (celibacy). The Yamas are universal in their application; the second limb, the Niyamas, are rules of conduct that apply to the individual discipline of a yogi. Described by B.K.S. Iyengar as “self purification by discipline,” the Niyamas are: saucha (cleanliness), santosa (contentment), tapas (austerity), swadyaya (self-study), and ishwara pranidhana (cultivation of faith). Both the Yamas and Niyamas are meant to govern the yogi’s passions and emotions to keep him in harmony with the external world and with himself (Iyengar, p.21).

 Santosa is truly a concept worth exploring, and more importantly, applying to one’s daily life. In the fast-paced lifestyles of today, it can be quickly forgotten in the presence of ambitious prospects. Living in New York City, amidst the bright lights, is a perfect example of this challenge. It is an amazing city filled with opportunities, dreams, money, and fame – a tempting saturation of possibilities for happiness. However, even with the success of attaining these, the resulting joy is short-lived. The external, physical world is continually changing, and is a temporary classroom on the yogi’s journey towards the eternal Self. To gain a better understanding of santosa, the sadhaka must first become acquainted with existence beyond the physical realm: “Firmly established in the eternal present, he or she is content” (Mittra, p.19). Contentment is a state of mind, independent of external influences.

 My last few moments on stage when I took my final bow as a professional dancer will linger in my memories and arouse feelings of joy. However, the curtain has fallen and they now reside in my thoughts. My understanding of true contentment is growing, and the knowledge of it has brought me a sense of calm. The stage lights have faded, but the light within still shines.

 Iyengar, B.K.S. Light on Yoga. New York: Schocken Books, 1979.
 Lee, Cyndi. “Bringing Happiness Home.” Yoga Journal. (June 5, 2011)
 Mittra, Sri Dharma. “The Niyamas: Saucha and Santosha.” New York Yoga Magazine. Nov.-Dec. 2010: p.16-19. (June 4, 2011)
 Saraswati, Swami Niranjanananda. Yoga Darshan: Vision of the Yoga Upanishads. Munger, Bihar, India: Yoga Publications Trust, 2002

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This is just a small collection of photos from our recent 200-hour teaching training, taken by the wonderful Jeffrey Vock. Stay tuned for information about our upcoming 500-hour teacher training (Sept/Nov, 2012).
June 2012 LOAY 200-hour Teacher Training highlights (19 photos)
19 Photos - View album

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Vintage Photos of Sri Dharma Mittra... Backbends! (15 photos)
20 Photos - View album

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Best birthday wishes to co-owner of the Dharma Yoga New York Center, Ismrittee Devi Om.
Happy birthday Ismrittee Devi Om! (11 photos)
11 Photos - View album

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A small collection of vintage photos of Sri Dharma... Stay tuned for more!
Vintage Photos of Sri Dharma... Backbends! (5 photos)
5 Photos - View album

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Here are a few pictures of Cara Jepsen, author of the article just below!
2 Photos - View album
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