What is the meaning of Antaratma ? : Antaratma is composed of two sanskrit words. Antara, which translates as within, inside, .. and Atma which stands for soul or spirit.
The Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary, which is the standard dictionary for sanskrit, gives the following :
antara : mf(a)n. being in the interior, interior; near, proximate, related, intimate; lying adjacent to; distant; different from; exterior; (am), n. the interior; a hole; opening; the interior part of a thing; the contents; soul, heart, supreme soul; interval, intermediate space or time; period; .....(page 43/44)
Atman : aa, m.(variously derived fr. an, to breathe; at, to move; vaa to blow; cf. tman) the breath, RV.; the soul, principle of life and sensation, ..(...); the individual soul, self, abstract individual ..... (page 135)
That is, its not necessary to 'upgrade yourself', become better,... but the best possible you is the natural you.
and what is OM ? : Om is the 'triple sound of the universe'. It consists of three audible components A,U & M and then fades into inaudible vibration. Symbolically one can see creation, preservation and renewal (often called death :-) in the first three.
The fourth component can then be seen as the driving force behind the whole. That which unites the three. Om is used in different cultures and the religions that are connected to them (Amen). The Symbol on the left is used by the Hindus. It's better known than the yoga-om, i.e. the sanskrit writing on the right.
So what might yoga be ? : The word translates as 'connect, unite, put together, harness, ...' , and was very simply defined by the sage Patanjali (as a state : Yogah cittavrtti nirodhah, Pantanjali Yoga Sutra 1.2. The one sentence, that has spawned many many books.-)) But that doesn't make it easy to experience or understand. Yoga is a lifelong apprenticeship, it has many paths with the above goal and many rewards on the way. That is why there exist countless apprentices and their books. Various other details can be found spread over this page and in the recommended books section.
How to Join : Simply come to one of the General classes. If you prefer the class in English, come to one of Kiras.
What to bring : We don't have a dress code, so you may dress in your favourite colours and whatever you like. Although it has its advantages in a yoga-class (and daily life) to wear simple, light and unrestricting clothing that lets you breathe and move freely. Changerooms we have in the shala, as well as yoga mats and blankets. If you prefer your own mat, bring it, or you can buy mats & bags in the shala.
Holidays ? : The Shala is closed on all public holidays. During/ Over Christmas we will close for a few days (23nd to 1st closed). Any other time the Shala is closed will be announced in the news.
Private classes ? : Some of our teachers offer private classes as Yogatherapy for example. Please contact us direct for more information !
How about a breathing course ? :
No problem. Before learning any further breathing techniques, an easy, deep and flowing breath through the nose while doing yogasana should be established !! This and the most simple breathing exercises which we practice in all classes are the most important stepping stones to any pranayama techniques. We constantly emphasize the breath in connection with the asana and vinyasa (flow in between poses, movements to get into poses) and the sunsalutations. From there you can take off into higher spheres of breathing, but first it is more rewarding to dive into the depths. To find out about planned courses subscribe to the newsletter.
For more about breathing concerning our classes see Antaratma Yoga
Why was the door closed ? :
In case you show up late for class, the door outside will likely be already closed and locked. This is necessary because the reception is not occupied, and the class will anyway already have started.
Opening times are only around the classes, but not during class.
Which exercise can i do (at home) to .... ? : stretch here, strengthen there. Yogasana work your whole body, and your strengths and weaknesses will show themselves. The best exercises to do, to overcome weaknesses, are the very ones that you find so hard in our classes, or the ones we show you there as replacements for the ones you cannot do. Do these and the counterposes at home, i.e. just simply do what we teach in class, or simply come more often ;-)
How often should i come to ... ? :
It might not be known yet in Austria, but yogasana are a form of exercise, that will make you much fitter and healthier than any machine-training. Even though it can be seen as a side effect, your bodily fitness is a good reason to start yoga. The benefit goes approx. as follows :
If you come once a week ......... you'll be relaxed after.
if you come twice a week ..... you'll feel what you need to work on.
if you come 3 times a week ... you'll sleep better and your posture will improve slowly.
if you come 4 times a week ... your body and mind will get stronger and more flexible & enduring.
if you come 5 times a week ... you'll be a loving friend to yourself.
if you come 6 times a week ... make a wish.
if you come more often, you change your whole life.
Do i have to be flexible ? : Normally comes as the statement :'I'm not flexible enough to ...', where 80% of those saying it are male. If you come to yoga to look cool & bendy in class, then yes.
But that's beside the point. There is no 'i can do yoga', there is only doing it !!
Yogasana combine flexibility, suppleness, endurance and strength, and every body will have some weakness somewhere. Yoga is not a competition, in which you can pass or fail, or be better or worse than anyone else.
Pain ? :
Yogasana are done in a non-aggressive way. Pain might show up nevertheless. This is your body telling you that there is something wrong. Even when you might be doing a pose outwardly correct, your body might literally not be in the position to do it. The thing to do is to listen to the body, learn what it can do, learn why and what it can not do, accept where you are in that very moment and figure out what it is that rings that alarm bell called pain. It will certainly not help to close your ears to it (ignore it), run away and only practice what comes easy to you, or not practicing at all. The trick is to keep breathing and working softly & painfree or ask us how to vary a pose or exchange it. The alarm bell sounds for your attention. You can choose to do something about it now, or rather wait until the alarm keeps ringing.
Also, stretching out tight muscles might feel painful at first, but with acceptance of your own limits, it will soon become a pleasure instead.
Injuries ? :
From doing yoga : When the ego takes over in any exercise injuries are about to happen. To believe it is of any importance whatsoever, how far you can bend or flex, is a serious mistake. The more one fights the body and forces oneself into poses the more the body will fight back, tighten up and be out of alignment. Or did you really think that being able to touch the head to the feet in a forwardbend will immediately induce enlightenment ?
The correct asana come along with the necessary selfacceptance. (see also Patanjalis Yoga Sutra II.46 : sthirasukhamasanam)
Treating them : see Yoga Therapy below.
Stretching ? :
Yoga should not be confused with simple stretching, even though you will get more felxible doing it. Fitness stretching could learn from yoga, just like professionell dance already has. When practicing yogasana you strengthen and artfully stretch at the same time. The whole body, and especially the breath is involved in this subtle interplay. Especially about the stretching part : Yoga is not selfagressive, and there is no stress on the muscles. Stressed muscles would only tighten up. Stretching in a yoga pose means dissolving and letting go of tensions; you only stretch inside your limits, hold there and release through the breath. The harmony evolves out of integrating stretching, strengthening and breathing.
No pain no gain ? or Yoga for softies only ? :
Its seems that the non german speaking world understands the concept of a non-egodriven but still energetic yogapractice anyway. The problem of confusing softness with lazyness is purely mid-european. Read the german version if you want to learn more about a historically developped misinterpretation.
Yoga Therapy :
Yoga is always therapeutic and done correctly prevents injuries. Special health problems can be either cured or other therapies (Standard western medicine as well as Osteopathy, Shiatsu, Rolfing, Acupuncture, ...) can be supported. This might be possible in private classes only, or even in the open classes.
Keep in mind, that yoga can never be a quick fix. It has to be an ongoing practice in order to have benefits.
Yoga is certainly a good foundation for healthy living. To also eat healthy in Innsbruck check out Ayurveda (Email only) and TCM (traditional chinese medicine).
Yoga is for women only ? : This is a quote !! I put in the question mark. To all the men out there : Your ambition and ego can be your worst enemy. It takes a lot of courage to start something that does not come easy, and where one will certainly 'loose face' (-acknowledge imperfection:-). The girls are not perfect or very flexible either but come anyway. If you believe yoga to be too 'soft' and consequently 'unmanly' - please refer to the cover of the book 'real men do yoga'.
100 years ago women had practically no acess to the teachings of yoga. Only Krishnamacharya started to spread yoga without the culturally induced sexual separatism.
Is Yoga a religion, or connected to one (like hinduism) ? :
Short answer : We are past the year 2015 ... grow up !
Longer version : Yoga might historically and culturally be tied to hinduism and other religions (buddhism for example), but the answer still remains a definite : NO. Yoga is a system for the realisation of the self through experience, and not unreflected following of induced morals, codes or rules. It is a system that works regardless of religion, gods and preaching. You start with the body, yourself, doing exercises that challenge you, make you sweat and even pant at the start. Healthy poses for the body to challenge the mind, with awareness on the connections between posture, breathing and your mind & emotional 'posture'.
This forms the basis for further steps, which are to be experienced, not followed in belief. Believing is not a precept, even though some teachers/schools might want to contradict that, out of a misunderstanding of the last niyama.
Concerning yogic philosophy and Religion (especially Hinduism, Vedanta) : Think for a few minutes and you'll find that 'religious philosophy' is a contradiction in terms. Or in other words, a philosophy that is permeated with religious beliefs is a religion, nothing more.
Karma Yoga :
Closely related to the above is the natural question what effect Yoga has on what we do, on our life.
Karma Yoga is action with the awareness of the effects of each of those actions.
Karma is not some 'godly punishment for the wicked' or 'rewarding of the righteous'. Karma simply is the inherent energy & effect of actions.
There is nothing mysterious about karma, but it can be directly experienced, felt and understood.
Every action we take reflects who we are, i.e. projects our inner world onto our outer world.
In the same way, every action reflects back into us, and strengthens our self-perception, defines our fundamental idea of who we are.
This mark that we put on ourselves with our actions, can let us perceive this relationship as 'the law of karma', as a judgement from a supreme being. The energy our actions create is carried with us and influences our behaviour and interactions continuously.
Our life's interactions will at many points in our life cummulate in what may appear as random and sudden momentous events. In fact, though, they are only the sum of all our interactions, the integral path of all the little impulses our actions give to the direction our life takes. Even more so because our interactions form a feedbackcyle. This also explains why the many small, daily actions we take, have a much greater influence on our life than those that may appear to be the 'big ones'.
Every Yoga practice will (or maybe should) lead to the direct perception of the above.