Chanting and mantra recitation have accompanied yoga practice for thousands of years. Chanting is of course both the in-toning of the rich vibratory sounds and the simultaneous listening to them. The concentrated in-toning of sound vibrates all along the axis of the body from the perineum up through the head, giving access to subtle and deep sensation and feeling. The deep listening naturally suspends the normal movement of the discursive mind and allows contemplation of the patterns of sensation, emotion and imagination. Chants have meanings, which are to be contemplated. Some express a truth directly, others use images, metaphors and myths, while others are deliberately free of meaning or reference to anything, except the whole of reality. The meanings are designed to return the chanter to the direct experience of the sound vibration, making the experience of that sound and eventually all sound and all forms and patterns of vibration sacred
This chant is traditionally done at beginning of the Ashtanga Vinyasa practice. The first part is from the Yoga Taravali. The second is from an old homage to Patanjali (said to be the composer of the Yoga Sutra), and is of unknown origin.
This chant is the invocation for the Yajur Veda, one of the ancient text of the Vedic tradition. It is chanted at the opening and closing of a teaching.
This chant is from the Kurma Purana, and is chanted as a gesture of sanctifying a practice space. This was a favorite of Krishnamacharya.
This chant from the Bhagavad Gita (4:24) is traditionally done before eating as a means of reflecting on the interrelated nature of all things.
This chant is traditionally done at the end of asana practice or at the end of a teaching. It dedicates the practice to the benefit of all beings.
Here is a collection of “Studio Talks” given at various times by Richard at the Yoga Workshop. These talks are designed to stimulate reflection on the nature and experience of yoga.
Whether it’s a personal difficulty, or a political travesty or even a war, life seems often to toss adversity our way. This talk was recorded on October 20, 2013.
Non-dualism is not merely a philosophy, but a way of seeing. This talk was recorded on December 7, 2014
Richard talks about asana as a dialectic between sthira and sukha, and the continual refinement of your actions to navigate skillfully down the path without causing suffering to yourself or others. This talk was recorded on 19 Oct 2014.
Richard talks about verse 33 of the Samādhi Pāda, the first chapter, of Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra. This talk was recorded Sept 28, 2014.
How do turtles, fire-spitting snakes and demons apply to your yoga practice? Find out as Richard talks about the Opening Chant and the nature of practice. This talk was recorded on Oct 21, 2012.
We are always practicing asana, whether we realize it or not. In this recording Richard talks about how the movement of breath corresponds with our thoughts as well as our physical form. Various verses of the Yoga Sutra Sadhanapadah are discussed.
A look at the methodology of internal breath (Prana) within Hatha Yoga. Breathing patterns are revealed as a foundation for communication, understanding and imagination—a means of freeing the intelligence. The talk includes detailed explanations of the five forms of Prana, as well as an exploration of the Ashtanga Invocation and the Shanti Path Saha Navavatu.