The word “yoga” means “union”. Some people say it refers to the union of body, mind & spirit.
In the classical sense, we say it refers to the Individual Consciousness uniting with the Universal Consciousness.

Giri was certified as a yoga instructor in the Sivananda lineage at their ashram (yoga monastery) in the Bahamas in  2000.  I later went on to take my Advanced Teacher Training. I am Registered as an experienced Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance at the 500 hr. The Sivananda  organization follows a Classical form of yoga that is not limited to the physical postures, but instead, teaches yoga as a complete system, or way of life.

Govinda is a graduate of the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Course, and has completed his Connected Warriors training.

It is entirely up to the individual how much of the teachings they wish to incorporate into their life.  For some, it may mean attending one asana (posture) class per week, for others it may mean becoming a swami (monk) and dedicating their life to yoga.  For most of us, our commitment to this lifestyle lies somewhere in between. Living “in this world” but not “of this world” can be a challenge, the yoga practices assist us in finding that balance we often find elusive.

Swami Vishnudevananda founded the Sivananda organization (naming it after his teacher Swami Sivananda) In order to simplify the vast science of yoga, Swami Vishnu summarized the teachings into 5 principles which are easy to understand and incorporate into our daily life.

  1. Proper Exercise (asanas)
  2. Proper Breathing (pranayama)
  3. Proper Relaxation (savasana)
  4. Proper Diet (vegetarian)
  5. Positive Thinking & Meditation

If we follow these simple 5 points, we will feel a lot more peace & balance living in our bodies, and will progress spiritually on our path.

In addition, there are 4 paths of yoga that are laid out.  Choose a path or combination according to your temperament and likes.

Jnana - yoga of wisdom and developing the intellect or will
Bhakti - the yoga of devotion-opens the heart
Karma - path of action, selfless service
Raja - psychological path, involves the mind. A branch of Raja is Hatha Yoga (of which the physical postures and pranayama are a part) these prepare us for the higher states of Raja Yoga.

Swami Sivananda recognized that every person possesses and identifies with each of these elements: intellect, heart, body & mind, therefore, he advocated that we all practice techniques from each path. This came to be known as the Yoga of Synthesis.


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Trauma Sensitive/Conscious practices.

Giri has been studying the works of Dr. Gabor Mate, Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk, Peter Levine and many others over the years, in her quest to bring more trauma informed practices to people. Giri has taken the Connected Warriors training, as well as the CoCo (Connection Coalition) training. The CoCo training was especially valuable, for the component on Developmental Trauma. Paraphrasing Gabor Mate, not all people with trauma end up with addiction, but all people with addiction have trauma. This training brought me more awareness and compassion around how trauma might show up/manifest. Coco works in collaboration with youth organizations to provide access to tools that help calm the nervous system and allow better decision making like, yoga, mindfulness and meditation. They provide FREE yoga programs in schools, shelters, jails, foster homes, rehabs and more.

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