In the western world we are more familiar with Hatha Yoga, which aims to balance the two hemispheres of the brain, thus balancing the two facets of existence, body and mind.
Hatha Yoga techniques are primarily designed to detox the body. Soon as the body is as cleansed as possible, all of its systems function at their best capacity.
Breath connects body and mind, and therefore a lot of emphasis is placed upon raising the awareness of one’s own breath and expanding it. When the breath works well, it can provide the body with the necessary vital energy (prana shakti) and balance its mental energy (manas shakti).
However, there are many other aspects of yoga that you will come across through these lessons.
Raja Yoga explores the mind, and is called “the royal path” or “the way of meditation”. Through the techniques of meditation and the use of tools such as yamas and niyamas, the mind is cleansed and the patterns with which we perceive the world are gradually revealed. Two very important qualities cultivated while practicing are the abilities of detachment and distinction, both of them belonging to the buddhi, the awakened side of the mind.
Karma Yoga is the path of action, an action for which, unlike western lifestyle and thinking, we expect nothing in return. It is also called dynamic meditation and can be integrated into everyday activity.
The fact that we do not encounter such qualities in our culture does not mean that they are not essential and useful to Western people. On the contrary, we would all benefit greatly, if we devoted even a small part of our day in exploring what it means to act for the joy of action itself.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati has stated that in order to reap the benefits of any yoga technique, it is necessary to practice in this spirit.
Nada Yoga uses sound as a tool. Sound is nothing but the effect of vibration. The matter vibrates and produces energy. Consciousness understands energy; it can direct and channel it. It is very important to know that the mantra is a sound with a strong vibration because of the way it is expressed; it is therefore important to articulate it in the most correct way.
Other branches of yoga are:
It is amazing that all these aspects of yoga are complementary. They seem different, but in reality they are parts of one single thing. This one thing is Consciousness, and it can have infinite manifestations. All paths have one common goal – to increase Awareness. Yoga is vast. It can be explained in words to a certain degree, but it can only be revealed through practice.
Antaratma Thodoris Chiotis was born and raised in Athens. He began his yoga practice in 1995 in the Satyananda yoga system under the guidance of Swami Sivamurti Saraswati. In 2000 he completed the graduate program “Yoga Studies 1” and “Yoga Teacher Training” in Satyanandashram Greece. Since 2001 he has been teaching and guiding courses and seminars for all levels of experience.
Yoga classes with Antaratma Theodore Chiotis are based on the Hatha Yoga discipline and include body and mind practices. They consist of asanas, pranayama, meditation techniques, mantra chanting as well as yoga nidra techniques, inspired by the tradition of Satyananda Yoga.
Alexandra Sotiropoulou was born and raised in Athens. She began practicing yoga in 1996 in the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga system and in 1999 she started familiarizing herself in the Satyananda yoga system. In 2002 she completed the graduate program “Studies in Yoga 1” and in 2007 the “Teacher Training Program” in Satyanandashram Greece. Since 2008 she has been working with Diane Long, a student of Vanda Scaravelli. She has been teaching since 2003.
Yoga lessons with Alexandra are inspired by Vanda Scaravelli’s teachings. These classes, through exercising in asana and pranayama, aim at establishing a communication and a deep intimacy with the body and mind. All practices are based on the triplet: gravity, breathing and spinal cord.