1. What is unique about the style of yoga you teach?
It’s important to first understand that yoga exercises or asanas are just a small part of yoga. The ancient teachings of yoga offer us very deep, philosophical, and spiritual guidance on how to live our lives to achieve real and lasting happiness.
While yoga asanas and pranayama can certainly help us achieve stress relief and inner calm, the highest yoga practice is the cultivation of spiritual love and wisdom, which leads to true self-realization, or enlightenment. In that condition of yoga, or loving union of the individual atma (spirit soul) with the Supreme Soul, one is able to live a happy, purposeful life and experience a fearless death. A big part of this is the practice of meditation. So you’ll see in my TV series and classes that I incorporate Yoga Sound Meditation along with yoga asana practice. I’ve found this form of yoga meditation to be the most pleasant, effective, and easiest to practice, so I’m always making a big effort to share it with others.
But as far as teaching yoga asanas, I really focus on providing clear and careful instruction and offering a well-balanced workout. It’s important that each asana session is complete with twists, bends, stretches, press and resistance, along with counter poses in between the various asanas.
I also try to give my students time to listen to their body and adjust the poses accordingly, and I suggest modifications for easier alternatives. It’s important to me that people are safe and understand that practicing asanas should not be a performance or competition. Yoga should be practiced for our own well-being, not for impressing others.
2. You mentioned Yoga Sound Meditation is easy, can you explain more about that?
Some people think they don’t have enough time to meditate, or that it will be too difficult. But Yoga Sound Meditation can be practiced by anyone, almost anywhere—even while stuck in traffic or waiting in line at the grocery store. We have to give up any preconceived notion that meditation means you have to clear your mind of all thoughts. Because the mind is always active, that approach to meditation is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Yoga Sound Meditation, however, is the process of redirecting your mind to focus on transcendental yoga sound. This resting of our hearts and minds in spiritual sound has a wonderful effect on our overall consciousness, and it’s so easy that even a child or elderly person can do it.
Here’s an easy meditation technique you can practice with Wai Lana now
3. Can you give us an example of how ancient yoga wisdom applies to our modern lives?
The wisdom of yoga applies to every aspect of our lives and each of us can directly experience the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits that yoga offers. A perfect example is the teaching of Aham Brahmasmi – that I am an eternal spiritual being, I am not my body or any of it’s temporary designations. We see so much anger and hatred in the world today between people of different races, colors, or religions. But if people would simply accept the yoga teaching that we are not these bodies, then we could much more easily learn to peacefully coexist. When we know who we are, we will see others as they are, and the artificial divisions of race, religion, age, gender, and all other bodily designations all become irrelevant.
Yoga Sound Meditation: Introduction and Benefits
4. What is a typical day like for you?
I usually spend about 45 minutes doing yoga asanas, yoga breathing, sometimes a few bandhas and mudras. Central to my daily routine is practice of Yoga Sound Meditation. I like to rise early in the morning and practice japa meditation and get together with family and friends to practice Yoga Singing & Dancing whenever possible. I also spend a lot time in the recording studio working on new songs.
5. You’ve released many instructional DVDs, music videos, a meditation kit, and other yoga lifestyle products, what else do we have to look forward to?
I have so many different projects that I want to carry out to spread yoga, but time is very limited. So it’s a big challenge to do all the things that I want to do with the amount of time that I have. But in addition to several new songs I’m working on for my upcoming Alive Forever album, I’m working on an app to help people learn and practice the various methods of Yoga Sound Meditation and I am in the process of producing a comprehensive book on yoga wisdom, co-authored with my spiritual master, Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda.
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