See the possibilities not the limitations

Hatha Yoga World aka Pankaj and Julie has now moved to Sweden. We welcome any old and new friends/students to visit us for a cup of coffee and/or Yoga. We are happy to be closer to family and friends again. 

We are on a very exciting but tough journey to be able to live in Europe. Since the borders have been closed in India our life has, of course, completely changed. Now we look towards the possibility of living a better life than in lockdown. Even though we love Rishikesh and India, it is not a place we can live and survive right now. We still have our dream to build an ashram in Rishikesh. Our land in the mountains holds that promise. We also love Europe so why not enjoy the best of both worlds? The past one and a half year has made us realize that.  

A special thanks to our friends who has continued online classes with us even after their countries has relaxed restrictions. You don’t know how much we appreciate it. It reminds me of the story in “An Autobiography of a Yogi ” Paramahansa Yogananda is going on a trip without any money but he trusts that he will find a way to reach from A to B. And sure enough he gets to his destination. We have had guardian angels in our life through this pandemic.  
Pankaj & Julie 

Topics covered in our YTTC (Yoga Teacher Training Course)

Alignment class with Yoga teacher Pankaj

Yoga is more than asanas (poses) and Hatha Yoga World covers all aspects. In meditation we let our awareness bring us clarity. Philosophy classes covers the history of Yoga and gives insight into The Patanjali Yoga Sutras, The Bhagavad Gita and what it means to live a yogic life. Pranayama teaches us to extend the breath with ancient yogic techniques and Kriyas purify our body through different cleansing methods. When performing Mudras and Bandhas we experience the seal of energy and practice body locks. Ashtanga Yoga is also covered in the 300 hour TTC and it is a Yoga style creating internal heat to detoxify the body, while synchronizing breath through dynamic postures. Read about more details and topics below.

Hatha Yoga
The focus in Hatha is to balance the flow of prana in the Ida and Pingala Nadis. The word Hatha is made up of two bija mantras ‘Ham’ representing the solar force and masculine energy and ‘Tham’ representing the lunar force and female energy. We can bring balance by purifying the body through Yoga practices like Hatha Yoga and that will help us to grow spiritually. The duality is present is every human body. So we are seeking balance and to unite our body, mind and spirit. Sounds cliché but it is the absolute truth and only through self practice will these benefits arise.

Mindful movements will help cultivate a strong and flexible body and mind. In this style of Yoga, we use our physical body with force to become fully conscious. Yoga means union and in Hatha Yoga we create harmony in our body by uniting breath, movements and intentions. There are many ways to practice yoga but one of the fastest ways to experience this union and purification is through our body. Your body is like a vessel towards experienceing all your spiritual gifts already present inside.

Performing asanas is about so much more than just exercise, but you cannot argue with the endless benefits for our physical well being. Hatha Yoga is a practice that will make you feel light, strong and healthy. Your muscles will feel stretched, joints will be painless, internal organs will get a massage and your mind will feel clear. Though the physical body we are transforming our whole being with Hatha Yoga.

Vinyasa is a flow style of yoga and the movements are practiced in coordination with the breath, which brings a sense of natural balance. ‘Vi’ means in a special way and ‘Nyasa’ means to place. The word special in this context explains the intention and choice behind a movement, the logic of placement and how the placement is arranged. Vinyasa is a fast-paced practice in which students experience a smooth transition from one posture to next using the breath and a steady gaze for right alignment.

At Hatha Yoga World we will take you though the steps of how to create a powerful practice for yourself and for your students. There will be examples of how to build a sequence. Experience the beauty of listening to your body and flow from one asana to another safely with your knowledge on adjustments and alignment. When you know the benefits of each asana then you can build a session for yourself and students according to different body types and the energy you want to create

Yin Yoga
In this style of Yoga, asanas are held for longer periods of time. The style is based on the ancient Taoist concepts of Yin and Yang, the dual principles in nature. It works with the principles of Traditional Chinese medicine to shift ‘Chi’ through the meridians in the body and works deep into the connective tissues to stimulate and create a healthy change in the tissue. In Hatha Yoga the Sanskrit word for ‘Chi’ is ‘Prana’. If you are being consious and aware in the asanas, meditation will happen naturally and this will help detox the mind. The poses are held from 2 to 10 minutes. According to different bodies props can be used or not.

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (14th or 15th centuries C.E. by Swami Swatmarama) is the oldest text describing Hatha Yoga and in the asana section, fifteen asanas are descibed and most are done while sitting or lying on the floor. These described asanas are a good example of how yin yoga is practiced. The asanas works with the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and fascia. Passive postures challenges you to find stillness in an asana could be an uncomfortable position to hold. You learn how a small movement can change the experience in the asana and how to observe difficult or painful emotions. Yin Yoga is also a way to increase or maintain flexibility without having to do a strong yang practice and it is also a great way to possitively affect your yang practice.

Art of Alignment and Adjustments
Alignment is an art to master both physically and through guiding with words. Knowledge of alignment is important when you demonstrate and instruct asanas. In this class you will learn techniques on how to assist and modify asanas for every body type for better alignment and benefit. From the Anatomy classes you will learn the basic human body structure and how asanas influence our respiratory, circulatory, digestive and musculoskeletal systems. Since asanas affect our whole being it is important to learn proper alignment and adjustments.

Before enlightment we already have so many spiritual powers and the power of the mind is one of them. Thoughts becomes words and actions. Have patienence and answers will come to you. Meditaion is not just sitting in one certain posture thinking about one certain thing or nothing. Meditation is a way of living wisely. The mind is often in the future or in the past. If you learn how to be present you can do anything. If your mind is pure, your action will be pure and everything is done better and proper. Purify your inner vision. Cultivate yourself, your qualties and skills. Take the time to manifest the life you want to live and how you want to react to people and the world. Meditation can be a difficult practice, but with the right tools it will change your life and you will feel benefits like better concentration and you feel more relaxed. Always remember meditation. It is your loyal partner on a spiritual journey.

Prana is an energy flowing in the body and in everything around us. The word Prana means ‘life force’. With the breath the mind can be controlled and relaxed. When performing pranyama reguarly the breath will become long and subtle over time. In daily life most people do not use thier full lung capacity and with pranayama practices you will learn how to be aware of this and breathe deeply to get the full benefit of the oxygen in your lungs. Take a big breath of that beautiful fresh air and feel grateful that your body is breathing automatically around 20.000 times per day. It is an amazing thing and a powerful energy when you understand how to breathe and how to use the breath in your asana practice.

Yoga is subject you can study for a lifetime. All the interesting topics are endless. There is so much meaning behind the word yoga. Yoga is a journey and you can choose to travel this journey in many different ways. There is different types of yoga like yoga of devotion, karma yoga which is selfless service, yoga of knowledge, yoga of the body and also yoga of meditation. What is the history behind yoga and how did we come to know about it 5,000 years after its origin? In philosophy we cover all these topics as well as the ancient texts descibing yoga such as the Bhagavad Gita and The Patanjali Yoga Sutras which describes the complex yoga divided in 8 limbs.

Cleansing techniques to remove toxins, muscus and fat in the body. When you purify the body the mind is clear, the breath is flowing freely and the energy is your body will be in balance. There are different shatkarmas or cleansing methods. At Hatha Yoga World you will be introduced to Neti, Kapalbhati, Kunjal and trataka.

When studying the structure of body parts, location, physical and biological functions we will also understand the benefits of yoga on a different level. With Yoga asanas you can remove imbalance in the body that can lead to disease. It is important to understand the body as a yoga teacher. The teachers job is to guide and decrease tightness in the body and increase mobility. With the knowledge on physiology we can prevent unwanted discomfort and know what factors are likely to cause injury and which asanas are frecuently asscocaited with injury. We can also concentrate on the possibilities of the human body.

At Hatha Yoga World Ashtanga Vinyasa is taught in the 300 hour Yoga teacher traning course. Ashtanga Vinyasa is a dynamic yoga practice coordinating the movement and breath. This style of yoga is a practice that includes the same amount of Surya Namaskar A and B followed by a set sequence. There is different series which are called the primary, intermediate and advanced series. The word Ashtanga means eight limbs. Asanas are one of these limbs, but the Astanga style encourge you to practice all eight limbs which are mentioned in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This includes breathing techniques, asanas, meditation and lifestyle choices. All these practicines combined will calm the mind and bring peace and harmony. The asana sequences in the series work to stregthen, align and purify the body to prepare for meditation. First you have to practice the primary series and at Hatha yoga world we focus on this series.

What are the Chakras?

The word chakra means ‘wheel’ or ‘circle’. Chakras are whirlpools of pranic energy and here the pranic circulation is being controlled. Activation of chakras open areas of the brain. It is an expansion of energy.

The chakras are symbolically shown as lotus flowers. This represents the stages from ignorance to illumination.

A bija mantra also helps to manifest the psychic energy connected to the chakras. The bija mantra is a sound from the sanskrit alphabet. The term comes from the Sanskrit, bija, meaning “seed,” man, meaning “to think” and tra meaning “tool”.

A yantra is a picture that represents aspects of our consiousness. The translation of Yantra from Sanskrit is ‘device for holding’. It’s a diagram, or any object used as help to meditate.

Mool means ‘root’ and Adhara means ‘place’

Imagine a red lotus flower with four petals. In the center there is a yellow square, this is the yantra of the earth element. In the middle of the square see the bija mantra LAM. In the yellow square there is a red triangle pointed downward. This is the symbol of shakti or the creative energy. In the triangle a smokey colored linga symbolizing the astral body. The triangle is supported by an elephant with seven trunks symbolizing the stability of earth.

This chakra is located at the base of the spine. Here lies the force that binds engery into matter. That creates the firmness that we experience as the pshyical world. For our long journey upward the chakras we need deep roots. The roots are our support and here we come to honor our pshyical body. It is the centre of physical energy, grounding and basic suvival instinct. This Chakra is associated with the feet, legs, hips and back.

It is believed that the energy of the Godess Shakti is coiled as a snake around the base chakra holding matters together. When aroused this energy also called kundalini, moves up and awakens each chakra. Shakti is seeking her divine partner Shiva. He resides in pure awareness at the crown chakra.

When balanced you feel grounded, secure, present and you don’t distrust people without reasons. You feel connected to your physical body. When this chakra is under active you will feel fearful, nervous and unwelcome.
When over active, a person would be materialistic, greedy, resisting change to hold on the the feeling of secruity.

Swa means ‘self’ and Sthan means ‘dwelling place’.

Imagine a six petal orange lotus and in the center a white crescent moon symbolizing the water element. See the bija mantra VAM. The moon and the mantra are riding on a crocodile symbolizing the movement of karmas.

Two fingers width above Mooladhara. The energy of this chakra is located around the sacrum, hips and pelvic. The chakra is associated with the reproductive organs, creativity, movement, sensation, pleasure, desire, sexuality and emotion. It is the place of the most primitive human instincts.

When balanced you are open to intimacy and you can be passionate. You overcome fear and enjoy sensations. If under active you are stiff, unemotional and reserved towards people. When over active you are over emotional, quickly feeling attached to people. Activation of this chakra may manifest as overwhelming physical desires and cravings.

Mani means ‘gem’ and Pura meaning ‘city’

Imagine a yellow lotus with ten petals. Within the lotus a red triangle, the yantra of the fire element. In the middle the bija mantra RAM is shown. A male goat is pictured to symbolize confidence and energy.

When balanced you feel confident and in control. If under active you feel passive, indecisiveness, laziness, depression and constipation. When over active you are likely to become too dominat, aggressive and use other people to gain personal power and satisfy your own needs.

Behind the navel you find the center of fire radiating with energy. It is the chakra of dominance, willpower and ambition. This chakra is associated with the stomach, upper intestines, upper back, the gastric glands, pancreas, gall bladder and many other organs associated with the process of digestion and absorbtion of nutrients. Here you feel the drive to nurture yourself. Manipura also governs the adrenal glands which produce adrenalin which makes the mind fast, the heart beat faster and the body is prepared for an intense level of activity. Here the divine consiousness ignites the fire of our will to burn through difficulties and digest our life.

Means ‘unstruck’

When awakened the heart sends out love to all our relations to ourself, others, cultures, the planet and the universe. This chakra is associated with giving and recieving. Listen to yourself and do things that fulfill you. Sometimes we forget that we are love. Love can get overshadowed by the drama of everyday life, the material, the daily routine and we miss observing the magic that exsists in everything like experiences and people.

Imagine a green lotus with twelve petals. In the center a hexagon, the yantra of the air element and the bija mantra YAM. A black antelope symbolizies alertness for this chakra. There’s a small flame in the middle.

The sound coming from beyond this material world is called ‘Anahad nada’ meaning the unstruck sound. The heart center is where this sound manifests. In the spine at level with the heart. This chakra is associated with the heart and lungs. Also associated with this chakra is the thymus Gland located above the heart and it produces cells vital to the body’s immune system. This explains the healing felt from this chakra.

The kundalini carries us upwards with love and ask the heart to open. Expand into the element of air with every breath. At this chakra we enter the mystery of relationships and love. As we let go of ego, a journey with other people begin. The heart is a soft place of compassion and connection.

When this chakra is balanced you feel compassionate and friendly. You work towards relationships with hamony. If under active you may feel cold and distant. When over active you are suffocating people with your love and your love might have selfish reasons. It can lead to emotions of jealousy.

Shuddhi means ‘purification’ and the word Vi in front increase this quality.

This chakra invites us to open our voices to speak the truth in life. From vibration, to sound, to language, to communication, to expression of creativity. We share music, knowledge and poetry.

Imagine a blue lotus with sixteen petals. In the center a white circle, the yantra of the space element, and the bija mantra HAM. A white elephant is pictured symbolizing knowledge.

At the back of the neck, behind the throat. This is the center of purification. This chakra is associated with the ears, throat, mouth, vocal cord and the thyroid gland. It is the centre of communication, speech and writing.

At the throat lies the place where a nectar called ‘Amrita’ falls down. It is the elixir of immortality and is produced at the top of the back of the head. It falls down to Vishuddhi to be purified and then used thoughout the body.

When this chakra is balanced you are self expressive and creative. When under active, introverted and shy. Not speaking the truth may be in the way of activating this chakra. When overactive a person would be talking too much.

Ajna means ‘command’.

Imagine a indigo colored lotus with two petals, representing the sun and moon, pingala the positive and ida the negative force. The two petals also represent duality brought to a single pointed focus at the third eye. The bija mantra is OM.

In the midbrain behind the eyebrow center. In deeper stages of meditation, guidance is recieved from a guru, from the divine or higher self. This explains the meaning of the word Ajna. Ida and pingala, these two pranic flows are responsible for the experience of duality which meets at sushumna, the central energy channel.
At this chakra wisdom and intuition develop. The ajna chakra is similar to the pineal gland. Which is slowly becoming less effective in adults due to neglect. This chakra is responsible for mental and psychic forces like telepathy. A tought is a very light form of energy. When Ajna is awakend it is possible to send and recieve thoughts. It is the place of awareness. It develops good memory, intelligence and concentration. It is associated with the pineal gland, skull, eyes, brain, nervous system, the senses and the pituitary gland (which releases hormones having influence on body chemistry). Here the kundalini uncoil from our meditation to open our third eye, the center of vision, insight and immgination. Seek your guidance to see the vision within the stillness of our inner world. Find your path.

When balanced you feel intuitive. The mind becomes strong.
If under active then you depend on others, get confused and follow beliefs easily. When over active a person is likely to live in a world of fantasy and hallucinations are possible.

Sahasrara means ‘one thousand’

Imagine a shining violet lotus with a thousand petals. In the center of the lotus is a jyotirlinga which is the symbol of light and pure consiousness. Jyoti means ‘radiance’ and lingam ‘sign’. It is the symbol of Shiva.

On top of the head. Here lies the highest consiousness. When the kundalini awakens it rises through all chakras to Sahasrara and this is where Shakti unites with Shiva. This means fusion of matter and energy with pure consiousness. The induvidual soul unites with the universal soul.
This chakra is associated with the central nervous system and pineal gland which is located in the brain and produces melatonin. Melotonin affects the other glands in the endocrine system and this mirrors this chakras relationship with the other chakras. Sahasrara is associated with the top of the spinal cord, brain stem, pain centre and nerves. This chakra is the centre of enlightenment, oneness and consiousness coming from within. You are consiousness. Conscious, aware, divine, having endless possibilities.

When activated you feel aware of the self, have spiritual wisdom and have the feeling of being one with the world. If under active a person is not aware spiritually. If over active you do not have a flexible mind, likely to be addicted to spirituality and could be ignoring bodily needs.

Poses for the Chakras

The list below shows poses which will bring awareness to a specific chakra or energy center in your body.
You will find both the English and Sanskrit name of the asana.

Mooladhara chakra
Palm Tree Pose – Tadasana
Tip Toe Pose – Pada Angushthasana
Eagle Pose – Garudasana
Raised Hand To Big Toe Pose – Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana
Hanumanasana – Split
Swaying Palmtree Pose – Tiryaka Tadasana

Swadhisthana chakra
One foot Pose or Warrior lll – Eka Padasana
Hand To Foot Pose – Padhastasana
Half Lotus Forward Bending – Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana
Seated Forward Fold – Paschimottanasana
Cat Stretch Pose (cat&cow) – Marjariasana
Striking Cobra Pose – Shashank Bhujangasana
Tiger Pose – Vyaghrasana
Cobra – Bhujangasana
Sleeping Thunderbolt – Supta Vajrasana
Half Moon – Ardha Chandrasana
Camel – Ustrasana

Manipura chakra
One Foot Pose or Warrior lll – Eka Padasana
Triangle – Trikonasana
Bow Pose – Dhanurasana
Revolving Triangle – Parvritta Trikonasana
Vajrasana – Thunderbolt
Swaying Palmtree Pose – Tiryaka Tadasana
Wheel Pose – Chakrasana
Plough – Halasana
Fish – Matsyasana
Setu Asana – Bridge Pose (Upward Plank)
Universal spinal twist

Anahata chakra
Bow Pose – Dhanurasana
Fish – Matsyasana
Sleeping Thunderbolt – Supta Vajrasana
Cows Face Pose – Gomukhasana
Shoulder Pose – Kandharasana
Right Angle Pose – Samakonasana
Half Camel – Ardha Ushstrasana
Eka Pada Pranamasana – One legged Prayer Pose / Tree Pose
Hidden Lotus Pose – Gupta Padmasana

Vishuddhi Chakra
Bow Pose – Dhanurasana
Sleeping Thunderbolt – Supta Vajrasana
Shoulder Pose – Kandharasana
Half Locust – Ardha Shalabhasana
Locust Pose – Shalabhasana
Plough – Halasana
Half Camel – Ardha Ushstrasana
Camel – Ustrasana
Shoulder Stand – Sarvanghasana
Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana
Roaring Lion Pose – Simhagarjanasana

Ajna chakra
Lord Shiva’s Pose – Natarajasana
Cows Face Pose – Gomukhasana
Roaring Lion Pose – Simhagarjanasana
Corpse – Savasana
Palm Tree Pose – Tadasana
Eka Pada Pranamasana – One legged Prayer Pose / Tree Pose

Sahasrara chakra
Headstand – Sirshasana
Crown-based Pose – Moordhasana

The Meridian Clock

Maximize Qi (Prana, life force) with information and knowledge about the dominant 2 hour period for each meridian (energy channel). This meridian clock shows the recommended activity, the associated organ and function of this organ. Location of the meridian is also shown and the associated element according to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine).

To go deeper into Yin Yoga and Meridians, join the certified course Hatha Yoga World offers. Below you will find more details about Yin Yoga and the meridian clock.

The key element of the TCM system is the meridians which are channels that connect different parts of the body and allow Qi to flow properly, just like the concept of Nadis and Prana in Traditional Hatha Yoga. Each organ has different channels with different effects on the body. By stimulating these points, we can balance the energy and heal the body and mind.

Meridians are not visible but are important for our existence. Yin Yoga targets parts of the body through asanas, to stress and stimulate the fascia to open the energy channels. Meridians work as a way for transportation of Qi throughout the body.

Practicing Yin Yoga with focus on a specific meridian helps to balance the five elements by stretching different energy channels. This practice brings harmony and has profound physical, emotional and energetic benefits.

The Meridian Clock Each organ has a two-hour period where its energy dominates the body. Within this period, it is thought to be the best time to do certain activities that make the most sense according to the functioning of the organ. If health issues happen at the same time daily, looking at the meridian clock can help us find an answer to what might be happening on a Qi level inside the body. This guidance may be able to help a person deal with the issue.

Surya Namaskar – Step By Step

Learn how to do a Surya Namaskar.

This A and B version of Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations, is what you will practice, learn how to instruct and demonstrate in the Hatha Vinyasa classes at Hatha Yoga World while doing you Yoga Teacher Training Course in Rishikesh.

Opening Ceremony

This ritual is performed on the first day of the yoga teacher training course. A puja (ceremony) mark this event of beginning something new. It is a way to celebrate and ask for support on the journey to become our highest self. In Indian culture this ritual is performed whenever we are beginning something new, to get a blessing from the universe. With the fire ceremony we burn away any past karma to restart and embark on a journey with fresh mind and soul to complete the course with no obstacles. After the welcoming ceremony you will be provided with a yoga kit which includes the book “Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha” Satyananda Saraswati, a manual and a T-shirt with the school logo.

Prana, Pranayama & Practicing Yoga (& sticking to it)

What is prana? It is not exactly the breath. It’s the breath, but it’s also everything else in the universe. This energy which is everywhere is called prana. Prana is life force.  

So, what is pranayama? In the Patanjali Yoga Sutra Chapter 1, sutra 34 it says: 

prachchhardanavidharanabhyan va prannasya
By throwing out and restraining the breath 

To control the breath through techniques is called pranayama. Inhaling, exhaling and holding the breath with awareness can make your mind calmer. Through breathing techniques, you can control motions in the mind and energy currents in the body. At Hatha Yoga World you’ll learn and practice different pranayama techniques every morning.   

It takes time to gain control and calmness. Pranayama is a practice which will change the body over time because of new channels being made in your brain. But is takes time because humans like to use the old channels already in the brain since it’s easy. The word channel, in this case, is just an example to explain what happens in your mind and body.  

Whenever you think about something it makes a channel. This channel will close if you don’t use it. Memories will keep the channel open because the channel in your brain is being used when you have a similar thought. Like doing a familiar pranayam practice again and again.  

Whenever a new topic comes and a different thought, a new channel has to be made to understand. This is difficult and therefore the brain resists these new thoughts and ideas. So, prana is trying to make new channels but the brain won’t allow it.  

The less channels a brain has, the more difficult it is to accept new thoughts. But the more channels, the easier it will be to accept new ideas and new thoughts.  

In the beginning the yoga practice is new and this creates resistance in your mind at first and therefore also in your body. When you deal with philosophy and psychology it’s difficult to understand because it’s not familiar. When it’s new to you and you begin to think about it, it produces new channels in the brain which disturbs your whole system and makes the practice difficult at first. That is why you should choose the yogic path and yoga practice which is most suitable for you.  
In our 100, 200 and 300 hour yoga teacher training course you will be introduced to the different yogic paths and aspects of yoga. This will help you find your yogic path and find a practice which can be with you daily and lifelong.  

Nadis & the Breath, Brain, Body connection

There are 72.000 Nadis in our body. The most often mentioned are the Ida, Pingala and Sushumna Nadi. You will learn about these Nadis and chakras during a 100, 200 or 300 hour Teacher Training at Hatha Yoga World.

Nadis are channels where energy flows. The meaning of the word Nadi is literally flow. Vital energy flows in our Nadis to every part of our body.  

Sushumna is the central energy channel flowing though the center of the spine. Here seven chakras are located from base to crown.  

Ida is representing the moon, and Pingala the sun. These two pranic flows are responsible for the experience of duality which meets at Sushumna Nadi, the central energy channel. The current of energy in Ida and Pingala Nadi flows from below and upwards in a criss-cross, making the chakras spin.   

Ida and Pingala controls the body alternately. If you notice the air passing through your nostrils, you will find that in one side the air is flowing more freely.  

When the left nostril is open, it’s the lunar energy, Ida Nadi and the right-side brain which is in function. When the right nostril is more open, the solar energy, Pingala Nadi and the left part of the brain is activated. This affects our whole body and daily life.  

When the Ida and Pingala energy flow are balanced, then the energy flows through the Sushumna Nadi. This leads to a feeling of peace and bliss. This higher level of consciousness is what can be experienced through yogic practices like meditation, asana and pranayama which is all a part of our offered yoga teacher training courses in India, Rishikesh.