Hatha Yoga Classes › Mimi Kuo-Deemer
Hatha Yoga is the name given to all physical yoga postures and breathing techniques to prepare the body for meditation. However, hatha yoga is commonly known for yoga with an emphasis on steadiness, so expect more static poses and longer yoga pose holds. The slower pace of Hatha classes makes it suitable for beginners, however it also provides a focus for more advanced practitioners and the possibility to explore the merging of breath, mind and body. Hatha Yoga provides the basis for many other forms of yoga including ashtanga yoga, vinyasa yoga, power yoga, yin yoga and restorative yoga. You may wish to follow your practice with yoga nidra, meditation or relaxation.
Buddha's Teachings: Yoga for Equanimity
This gently flowing yoga and Qi Gong class explores the fourth of the brahmavihārās, or boundless states, known as upekkha, or equanimity. This fourth abode is often the most misunderstood, as equanimity can easily be written off as indifference and not caring. The Buddha’s teachings suggest this is far from the truth. His description of upekkha is that it is a perfect, unshakable balance of heart and mind, rooted in insight. When we cultivate equanimity, we cultivate a state of being even minded and calm. In this state, we learn to trust, meet and respond to life in ways that let us care deeply and fully about what truly matters. We make room for joy, pain, sorrow and challenges. We learn to meet life in ways that neither opposes nor demands more from it, and can remain steady, trusting and open to whatever grim corners we may turn in life.
The Jewel of the Lotus Heart - Yoga,Qigong and Mindfulness
In Tibetan, there’s a mantra known as Om mani padme Om, or Hail the jewel in the lotus heart. The mantra suggests that through our practices, we can begin to polish a jewel that resides inside the lotus petals of our heart. When this polished jewel begins to reflect radiant light in all directions, we begin to awaken our innate qualities of wisdom and compassion. This mindfully paced gentle practice will integrate vinyasa yoga, qigong and mindfulness practices that can help the jewel of our lotus heart shine.
Harmonising Effort and Ease – Yoga, Qigong and Mindfulness Meditation
The Buddha emphsised using right effort in our actions and intentions in meditation and life. This practice looks at how we can approach strength building practices, especially in the legs, using right effort so that we create more space for awareness and less reactivity. We’ll also explore the idea in qigong of using intention, not force – or yong yi, buyong l – and apply it through a blend of yoga and qigong forms to explore how we can harmonise effort and ease.
Turning Toward Awareness: Yoga, Qigong & Mindfulness
Feel centred, grounded and start to fine tune your awareness with this gentle and beautiful fusion of yoga, qigong and mindfulness class with a focus on twists and forward folds. With a gentle start, working with mindful movement, this is a practice exploring how we might work with twists as a way to discover greater ease and space in our physical, mental and emotional experience of being human. With twists, we are invited to curve our awareness inward and we grant ourselves space to learn to respond to whatever experiences arise. From this, we allow ourselves time to build better resources to meet the business of our outward lives.
Vinyasa on the Soft Side of Life
This well-rounded full body stretch, gentle yoga class has a focus on luscious side bends. Side bends are a fabulous way to move the whole body. They help open space in the lungs and respiratory muscles but are also highly therapeutic for the spine, back, and core. When these areas are less tense and more free, maybe you might feel that you can slide into that precious soft side of life. Although the class is gentle, you may find the moves tough!
Morning Practice: Fluidity and Flow
This morning yoga and qigong class is focused on circular, smooth movements through the body and joints to set you up for the day. With some beautifully awakening qigong forms such as variations of swimming dragon followed by active sun salute variations and fluid movements through standing poses. Enjoy waking up all your senses in this awakening flow!
Morning Practice: Awaken with the Elements
This morning flow class focuses on a connection to the natural elements. It is an awakening yoga practice with some qigong. The ancient yogis, Buddhists and Daoist sages believed that we are made of the elements of the natural world. This practice will help us awaken to this connection within ourselves to the elemental world around us. It’s very much like a shorter version of my morning practices, integrating yoga and qigong into mindful movements that help me harmonise my inner body with the outer world. This has a bit of everything – abdominals, hip work, backbends, twists, forward folds and arm balances. Enjoy!
Take a Break: Yoga & Qigong Part2: Focus + Clarity
The second in our series to provide a constructive break during work or study. These Yoga and Qigong practices all provide you with renewed clarity, and will help clear the cobwebs, also focus on clear alignment through the spine and limbs. It’s great to bring a mental focus and concentration back into the body when we're too in our heads. With some precision in our alignment as well as intentional practices from qigong such as ‘clearing the cobwebs’ (one of my favourites!), we can move forward with our day more embodied awareness and presence.
Effort Without Struggle
In doing yoga, we can learn from the Buddha’s wisdom of working with right effort. This practice will look at how we can move through a practice and learn to identify when we’re putting in healthy effort, or when our effort feels a bit more like a struggle! There will be some strong arm balances like one-legged crow (eka pada galavasana) where we can play our edge, but also moments of surrender. Hope you enjoy it.
Cultivating Our Inner Light
A beautiful flow to open the heart, warm the back and still the mind. In the Yoga Sutra, the busy mind is described as quieting down through a number of ways: lengthening the breath, concentration on objects, or on experiences in deep sleep or dream states. It is also suggested that the mind can be quieted by concentration on the ever-present source of light that is believed to dwell inside the human heart. This light grows brighter when we do practices – like polishing a jewel that begins to shine and reflects the light all around it. We’ll look at ways to work with sunlight and moonlight in this fluid vinyasa-based sequence, and help awaken the source of light within each of us.
Metta: Care for Ourselves and Care for Others
Featuring moon rather than sun salutes, this more nourishing practice is a beautifully nurturing slow flow and a nourishing sequence for the heart and soul. Great for when your body needs a little extra support, but you'd like to keep your movement practice. The human heart circulates the most oxygen rich supply of blood to itself first before it moves it out to the rest of the body. As humans we can also learn to care for our own bodies and experience, and use this care as a springboard to cultivate greater care for others and the world. “It is not arrogant or egotistical to feel good inside. You had nothing to do with it. It's simply the honest response to clearly perceived Reality.” – Erich Schiffmann
Devotion: Practising Hanumanasana
Hanumanasana is a challenging pose – it’s the “splits” – but named after the monkey king Hanuman, who in one giant leap stretched across the continent of India to help save his Lord Rama’s wife, Sita. His act is one of devotion. When we practice Hanumanasana, it can feel really challenging, but if we consider what makes us act in the service of our highest self, or our volition in life – like Hanuman’s devotion and love inspired him to take that immortalized leap – the pose can perhaps be understood in a new light. In this practice we’ll look at Hanumanasana and consider the ways in which can embrace its difficulty with skill and insight.
New Year Refreshing Sequence
Stay Low Flow
Get Moving: Standing Flow
A qi-gong inspired gentle standing flow to move the hips, shoulders and gently build strength in legs and core. A fabulous class to cultivate steadiness, and an antidote to the business of sedentary modern life. The qi-gong inspired movements and water quality of softness in the poses are fabulous for building strength and stability. With no sun salutes, this class is great for most bodies including older bodies, those with limited mobility and pregnancy.
Winter Warmers: Yoga and Qigong for the Inner Fire" part I: kindling the fire
Yoga and QiGong for kindling the inner fire. Movement and circulation for warming the body in the cooler months. With Sun Salutations and twists for firing the spirit up. This class will do the trick for any time you feel like you need a little extra fire in your life and is perfect for morning time.
Get Set Morning Flow
Kapala Bhati Breath