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Manduka Medium Vertical #2 - EU


Still Life: Sophie Boller Yoga Iyengar

Last night, a brand new studio devoted to Iyengar Yoga was inaugurated in the 18ème arrondissement. The creator of this beautiful space, Sophie Boller, invested a lot of time and heart into building a friendly community of practitioners in this corner of Clignancourt, and we all celebrated with a Puja.

Led by Faeq Biria, a close disciple of B.K.S. Iyengar’s as well as founder of the Centre de Yoga Iyengar de Paris, the puja evolved from a round of resonant rolling Om’s as candles were lit through musical invocations to Patanjali, Hanuman, Ganesh and Vishnu. We were invited to place a dot of kumkum on our foreheads and say a prayer of blessing and gratitude. There was burning camphor (a ritual known as Aarti) whose cleansing smoke we each pulled over our heads, a coconut smashed at the threshold of the studio, sweet cakes melting on our tongues (like Ganesh’s laddu!), and heady jasmine garlands that we braided into our hair… the ceremony embraced all of the senses, reminding us that yoga is not simply the rituals of asana, pranayama and meditation, but that it is alive in absolutely everything we see, hear, taste, touch and smell.


Transformation Without Trying: Yoga Nidra

A few months ago, a friend asked me if there was a yoga that would help her insomnia and stress. Without hesitation, I suggested she try Yoga Nidra, a meditative practice also known as Yogic Sleep, in which you remain in Savasana while a teacher guides you through a series of awareness exercises. Given how knotted up my friend felt, I thought a passive practice would be a good first step toward bringing her some release.

In Yoga Nidra, you do two things: first, you choose a Sankalpa, a present-tense affirmation of desire or intention; and second, you allow yourself be led on an introspective dig. The Sankalpa is repeated (quietly, to yourself) at the beginning of the session as a way to invite this desire into your awareness. Throughout Yoga Nidra, this Sankalpa travels through the successive, subtle layers of your being (Koshas,) impregnating each layer with this wish. Your Sankalpa is repeated again toward the end of the session, a time during which you are optimally relaxed, and the gates of your perception are wide open.

“Your body knows what to do to attain, and maintain, perfect health and equilibrium. All you need to do is [turn] on the healing switch.”

Are you freaking out about the Sankalpa part? Don’t freak out! A Sankalpa doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be a declaration as simple as “I am healthy” or “I am peaceful.” The one thing your Sankalpa does need to be, though, is true, so spend some time contemplating your most heartfelt wish. You’ll see that it will surface quite naturally.

Anyway, during Yoga Nidra, your body remains prone and your eyes closed, while your mind keeps busy with little assignments given by the teacher: one minute you might bring your attention to your physical body, the next you might imagine a galloping horse; you might count your inhales and exhales, then visualize what you would look like from alternative vantage points… Through body scans, visualizations, pranayama, sense-memory cues, and tuning your hearing to the sounds around you, you delve deeper and deeper into your own topology.

As you lie there in a twilight state between awake and sleep, Yoga Nidra acts like a geological survey, delving into your nervous system, recharging Ojas (remember that?), loosening and smoothing stress, and bringing you a deep sense of relaxation. You emerge from the session refreshed and lucid, like you’ve had the best, most rejuvenating nap of your life. As Yoga Nidra teacher Jennifer Reis says, “Your body knows what to do to attain, and maintain, perfect health and equilibrium. All you need to do is [turn] on the healing switch.”

Yoga Nidra is the button that can activate the body’s own ability to repair and regenerate, from crust (Annamaya kosha) to core (Anandamaya kosha.) How cool is it that you hold the key? And that it can take as little as 20 minutes?

Many yoga teachers close their classes with a bit of Yoga Nidra during savasana, to help students deepen their relaxation after a dynamic practice. If you would like the full Yoga Nidra experience, check out the recommendations below:

Where to practice Yoga Nidra in Paris:
Espace Nataraja 
Satyanandashram Centre Culturel de Yoga (I sent my friend to Nivedita’s Wednesday evening class which is excellent!)
Yoga & Co 
Yoga & Meditation Paris (Yoga Nidra is included as part of each 2.5 hour class)  

Practice Yoga Nidra at home with CDs + MP3s:
• Pratiques de Yoga Nidra avec Micheline Flak  
Yoga Nidra : A l’approche du sommeil avec Kiran Vyas 
Relax Into Greatness with Rod Stryker 
Deep Relaxation: Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra with Jennifer Reis  

Practice Yoga Nidra FOR FREE:
Yoga Nidra avec Christian Möllenhoff 
Yoga Nidra: Healing Chakra Chorus with Jennifer Reis 
A search on YouTube for Yoga Nidra will return a ton of results, so don’t worry if the first one you click doesn’t work for you. There are many options!


Do Yoga in Paris!

This week, remember to check studio schedules before heading to class! Many of them will be modified due to the Easter holidays.

15 Apr I.AM.YOU. with Lauren Imparato 
15 Apr Moon Day Pranayama with Kia Naddermier 
18 Apr Chandra Krama—Série de la Lune avec Renan 
19 Apr Donation Saturdays (formerly Guerilla Yogi) with Marc (Donation) 
19 Apr Yoga Intégral avec Nadège 
19-20 Apr Rise + Shine: Welcome the Sun Within! avec Ariane 
20 Apr Les Energies Solaires avec Silvia di Rienzo 
20 Apr “Cocooning à Deux !” avec Oriane 
20 Apr Kundalini Yoga avec Cadine 
21 Apr Ashtanga Yoga Pour Débutants avec Valeria Apicella 
21 Apr Atelier Tout Niveau avec Eric 
21 Apr Les Energies Lunaires avec Silvia di Rienzo 
21-27 Apr Ashtanga Yoga Springtime Jump Start with Charley  

12-27 Apr Cours Découverte chez Espace Yoga Bastille (10€) 
16 Apr Ashtanga Yoga with Lolë Paris (FREE! GRATUIT !) 
18 Apr Yoga Vinyasa with Lolë Paris (FREE! GRATUIT !)
19 Apr Portes Ouvertes/Open House au Centre Sivananda Paris (FREE! GRATUIT !) 
19 Apr Grande Séance de Yoga du Rire 
20 Apr Outdoor Yoga with Yogis + Yoginis of Paris MEETUP (FREE however membership/registration required)
20 Apr Community Class at Centre de Yoga du Marais (10€) 
20 Apr Yoga Vinyasa at Wanderlust with Lolë Paris (FREE! GRATUIT !)  

23-27 April Caravan of Consciousness in Loiret 
25-27 April Vinyasa Weekend in Normandie  
5-10 May Jivamukti + Kundalini Yoga in Cévennes 
11-18 May Vinyasa Yoga + Hiking in Haute-Provence 
17-18 May Yog’arts Weekend in Normandie 
17-25 May Yin Yoga Training + Getaway in Gard  



Some days, the sun is invitation enough!


Practice in Paris

7-13 Apr hOMe Coaching “Détox + Vitalité” avec Anne 
9 Apr Kundalini avec Florence 
11 Apr Bains Sonores: Bols tibétains en Groupe 
12 Apr Donation Saturdays (formerly Guerilla Yogi) with Anne (Donation)
12 Apr Vinyasa Yoga avec Benoît 
12 Apr Hatha Yoga avec Sri Venudas 
12 Apr Cycle Spécial Débutants avec Oriane 
12 Apr Restorative + Yin Yoga avec Diane 
12 Apr Agencer sa Maison en Conscience avec Annabelle (Série de 5 ateliers) 
12-13 Apr Jivamukti Yoga with Cat Alip Douglas 
13 Apr Yoga Détox avec Nadège 
13 Apr Gestion du Stress avec Elayne 
13 Apr Hatha Yoga avec Misuzu 
13 Apr “Traction + Ouverture du Bassin” avec Géraldine 
13 Apr “Kundalini, le Mental Positif” avec Caroline 
13 Apr Salutation au Soleil avec Matthieu 
13 Apr Kriya Yoga: Le Souffle + la Force de Vie avec Amanda 
13 Apr Créativité + Réceptivité Dans le Yoga avec Amina  
13 Apr Ashtanga Yoga avec Suzy 
13 Apr Yin Yoga + Thaï Massage avec Carole 
13 Apr “Du Courage!” Luna Yoga avec Noriko 
13 Apr Hatha Yoga avec Sri Venudas 
13 Apr Brunch Cuisine Crue Beauty Detox avec Camila  
13 Apr Iyengar avec Meïr 
13 Apr Introduction à la Méditation avec Suzy  
13 Apr Vinyasa Yoga avec Misuzu  

7 Apr Séance Découverte: la MLC (Libération des Cuirasses) 
8 Apr Yogis + Yoginis of Paris MEETUP (FREE however membership/registration required) 
9 Apr Bhakti Flow + Régime 5/2 à la Française Event (yoga, book signing, dégustation)
11 Apr Yoga with Lolë Paris (FREE! GRATUIT !) 
12 Apr Trial Class/Cours d’Essai at Centre Sivananda Paris (FREE! GRATUIT !) 
12-27 Apr Cours Découverte chez Espace Yoga Bastille (10€) 
13 Apr Yogis + Yoginis of Paris MEETUP (FREE however membership/registration required)
13 Apr Community Class at Centre de Yoga du Marais (10€) 
13 Apr Yoga at Wanderlust with Lolë Paris (FREE! GRATUIT !)  
11-13 Apr Bliss Festival: Brides-les-Bains 

12-13 April Ashtanga Yoga in Antibes 
13-19 April Flourishing Yoga Creativity in Normandie 
23-27 April Caravan of Consciousness in Loiret 
25-27 April Weekend in Normandie  
5-10 May Jivamukti + Kundalini Yoga in Cévennes 
11-18 May Vinyasa Yoga + Hiking in Haute-Provence 
17-25 May Yin Yoga Training + Getaway in Gard