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The Ethics Of Yoga - Ahimsa (Non-Violence)

As you start to take your first steps on your Yoga journey, you’re bound to run into the image of a tree sooner or later. You may see people wearing jewellery or boasting tattoos similar trees too.

There are many reasons for this – but two of them stand out in front of the others.

The first is a snapshot into history and the ties of Yoga to Buddhism. When the Buddha first achieved enlightenment (Samadhi), he was sat in front of the Bodhi Tree. After countless days spent sat under the tree – days that included both starvation and a direct encounter with a demon – Buddha became enlightened. Another word for enlightenment is “Bodhi”. Hence the name – Bodhi tree. You can find Bodhi trees in most sacred spaces in India. You can even find the “Mahabodhi Tree” in Bhod Gaya, supposed to be a direct descendant of the tree Buddha became enlightened under (It’s only about 250 years younger).

However, the second reason is the one...

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The Hindu Roots of Yoga

The Hindu Roots of Yoga 

Within Hinduism there are six major schools of thought: Samkhya, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, Vendanta, and Yoga. Each one is inspired by the holy Vedas and other Hindu concepts.

Yoga, from the Sanskrit word 'yuj' means to unite. It is usually described in Hindu texts as a way to control the senses and the mind. The most famous Hindu text describing yoga is the Bhavad Ghita, which dates all the way back to the 6th - 3rd centuries BCE. In it, Krishna describes 4 types of yoga:

  • Bakti, or devotion
  • Jnana, or knowledge
  • Karma, or action,
  • Dhyana, or concentration.

Achieving Moksha 

The ultimate goal of each is to achieve Moksha, or unity with God and escape from the cycle of birth and death. No single person is born saved, though the Divine resides within all people. All people, regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, have the ability to achieve Moksha. Moksha can be attainted through a person's actions, words, and thoughts, as they...

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7 tips for hosting your own yoga retreat

 Hosting and planning your own yoga retreat can be daunting. Here at AmaSer we are happy to share our insights. Here are our 7 tips on how to begin the process. 

1. Secure that money

A boring way to begin things, yes, but securing funding is crucial. Especially during these difficult times. A lot of retreat venues require a deposit to book your retreat. This is a personal financial risk for you. In case you have to cancel for any reason, you are likely to lose your deposit. Take into account that many venues ask for minimum numbers of students to sign up in order for you to host a retreat. So try to secure this before if you can.

Other important costs to consider:

  • Advertising the retreat
  • Lost income from classes you’ll miss out on teaching when you are away
  • Your own travel expenses
  • How to budget for the retreat’s food, any excursions, and activities

2. Create your vision

Your vibe will attract your tribe. When your retreat is an authentic reflection of...

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Breath: the foundation of yoga and life!

Our life begins with an inhale and ends on an exhale. Our breath is our life force. We do it every day, unconsciously and automatically. In yoga, breathing is a crucial subject. In this blog we will tell you why.

Yoga Breath  

Everyone can do yoga, because everyone breathes. Breathing is an important aspect of yoga as it focuses on becoming aware of your body, it helps you to feel more present, and encourages you to tune inwards. By consciously focusing on your breath, you can control it, controlling the length and pace of your inhalations and exhalations.

You might have heard of the term ‘pranayama’ before. It is the Sanskrit word for breathing: prana means life energy and ayama means to extend, draw out. Pranayama is about controlling your life force, by controlling your breath. If you become consciously aware of your breathing, you feel the life force running through your body.

The way you breathe has an impact on your mood. Breathing slowly can help you to...

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5 things I learnt in my first ever yoga class at AmaSer

Hi, my name is Lucy and I have recently moved to beautiful Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. I heard all about Avani’s yoga center AmaSer, so I decided to come along to one of her Yin & Restore classes on a Tuesday afternoon. The class started just before the sun was beginning to set and the afternoon was turning to dusk.  Here are five things I learnt about yoga! 

 

  1. Yoga is accessible, even to a newbie like me

I would not exactly class myself as a Yogi. I was a little nervous before going to class. What if I obviously stuck out as a rookie, what if I could not hold a posture? Avani made me feel welcome as soon as I entered the class. She begun by explaining the purpose of the class and demonstrated every pose by including a number of variations to make sure you were comfortable and could really connect with how you held your body – without hurting yourself! It was easy to follow and made me feel like I was being cared for, rather than judged.

 

  1. Even a...
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Avani on Dharma, Motherhood & Costa Rica (An Interview by Nicole Hudson of Wanderfreely)

community interview yoga | Posted Nov 09, 2020

How do you define Dharma?

Dharma for me means “sacred duty”.  What’s confusing sometimes is that our sacred duty is not always rainbows and butterflies.  Oftentimes we have to get into the nitty gritty and really be reminded of our direction through tough lessons.  I love how Stephen Cope sums up the lessons from the Bhagavad Gita on Dharma. He asks the question “How do we discern our dharma?  How do we discover the magnificent inner blueprint?” In his writings The Great Work of Your Life the message is to find out who you are and then “do it on purpose.”  I love that. This is reflective of the constant cycle of adventure, discovery and then application.  We are perpetually students of the Self and (hopefully) learning time and time again how to listen more deeply in order to realign in new ways with our unique sacred duty.  In those moments when everything just “clicks” then...

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Finding Your Purpose

I spent most of my childhood inside my room, while my siblings were outside playing. I was asking myself how electrical components work. I grew up listening to my family saying to me that I will be an amazing engineer or scientific. I remember thinking to pursue a stable good job, have a family and a nice car was the purpose of my life.  

So  I decided to take the safe route and enter Engineer School, it wasn’t until the end of my second year that I gave up Uni. On the process I started reconnecting with myself and explored different areas, I ended up enrolling in a communication career, I travelled and discovered different cultures, different visions, and read, read a lot. And let me tell you; my perspective and aspirations completely changed! For good!  I don’t even remember how many times and now in my latest twenties, I can start to feel what can be the purpose of my life.

I reconnect with myself and explored other areas, I studied...

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Yoga for Challenging Times

challenges health lifestyle yoga yoga tips | Posted Nov 09, 2020

We are experiencing one of the most challenging times in the actual human history. The COVID19 pandemic came to us like a wake-up-call and now more than ever we need to go deep into ourselves, practice sacred disciplines and connect with our inner being.

Yoga is one of the magic tools that could help us understand how to walk through life with love and wisdom. Today we can use this ancestral practice to tune in our body energy and switch our emotions, and being aware of and consciously choosing the energy we send out and take in is a step to raising the vibration of the world.

The best way to appreciate that we are healthy is by coming back to our body. Spending more time inside help us to set up routines and develop new habits. That is why Yoga is perfect for us right now.

Now in quarantine, you can take a bit of time to stretch and do some yoga to unwind your day. Set your intentions and choose the practice that better fits you, perhaps you haven´t slept very well and your...

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The Multi-Tasking Yoga Teacher

lifestyle tips yoga yoga teacher training | Posted Nov 09, 2020

Original Piece by Avani | 2016

There is a lot of pressure on yoga teachers to be juggling many skills: all star communicators, anatomy and physiology pros, committed practitioners, always kind, compassionate and available, skilled at hands on touch, present with ever breath…you get the picture.  It may seem overwhelming  to consider how you can focus on clear, concise cueing, observe you students, move through the space AND add hands-on touch.  The important skill in all of this is to approach each element with singular focus.  As you begin to feel more and more comfortable getting off your mat, see how it goes to add in just one assist (say, downward facing dog).  See how that goes.  Once that becomes very fluid, add the next piece.  How would you feel to move off your mat, offer a down dog assist AND add in a breath cue?  

What’s most important is that nothing is forced.  Forcing...

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AmaSer - The Magical Experience

Imagine you are overlooking the clear blue Caribbean ocean, the sun is setting behind the mountains that encircle the coastline. You have an amazing view because luckily you are on a jungle hillside. As you watch the coast turn from that light shimmering yellow to a deep cerebral purple, all around you is a cacophony of birds, chirping insects and howler monkeys calling in the now dimly lit treetops. Perhaps, you are at an evening yoga class at AmaSer. 

I’ve just started working here and in my opinion, the location of AmaSer is one of its most unique qualities. It is just a few minutes walk to town and the ocean, yet the elevated hillside microclimate provides a sense of seclusion and fresh, boisterous air. You’ll notice that AmaSer is not just in the jungle, it is intentionally amongst the jungle. Every corner of AmaSer is padded with foliage. Draped over the walkways you’ll see ferns, and palm leaves, tall or short coconut, banana and moringa...

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