What Shanthi Teaches

Sri Shanthi Bhavana combines the Yoga tradition of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, through the teachings of Sri T. Krishnamacharya, with Buddhist Dhamma philosophy.

Sri Shanthi Bhavana is an excellent, kind and dedicated teacher.            All of those who study with him are fortunate.                            Highly recommended... Great teacher!

Larry Payne, Ph.D., C-IAYT, Founding Director, "Yoga Therapy" & "Prime of Life Yoga Programs”, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles;  Founder, "Yoga Program” - UCLA Medical School; Co-Founder, the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT);        Director, “Yoga” & Yoga Therapy”, Samata International Yoga, Los Angeges; Co-Author, "Yoga for Dummies:, "Yoga Rx", and "Yoga Therapy and Integrative Medicine”

YOGA as Applied Therapy:  Health and Wellness through Therapeutic Yoga, Meditation & Massage

Sri Shanthi Bhavana is a holistic therapist specialising in Prescriptive Yoga – HathaVinyasa, ViniYoga and Restorative Yoga – including Meditation, Chanting and Sound Therapy Meditation (Nada Yoga), delivered as Therapeutic Healing Yoga.

These practices are based in the tradition of legendary Yoga masters          Sri T. Krishnamacharya, Sri T.K.V. Desikachar, and Sri B.K.S. Iyengar, as taught by Shanthi’s teachers and mentors, world-renown Yoga Teachers and Yoga Therapists, Larry Payne, Ph.D, and Amy Wheeler, Ph.D, in California, USA.

He specialises in teaching Hatha Therapeutic and Restorative Yoga, and adapted Yoga techniques such as Chair Flow Yoga (suitable for people with disabilities or flexibility/mobility challenges), as well as relaxation techniques and meditation and sound healing.

Private and small group classes available... where the accent is on individual attention and nurturing of the body, mind and spirit.

These classes are about healing and health... they are not simply aerobic workouts. They involve serious, devoted attention to mindful presence and execution of time-honoured Asana, Pranayama and Meditation practice.

The practice is Prescriptive... where the focus is on the individual, the basis of ViniYoga - giving Yoga that is approprate to the student.

  • Prescriptive Therapeutic Yoga
  • Restorative Yoga Therapy
  • Meditative Hatha Yoga
  • Vinyasa Yoga
  • Chair Flow Yoga Therapy
  • Meditation - Mindfulness & Vipassana
  • Chanting & Sound Healing Nada Yoga
  • Corporate Yoga


Prescriptive Yoga 

What is Prescriptive Therapeutic Yoga?

Prescriptive Therapeutic Yoga is a personal Yoga program designed for each individual and given as prescribed therapy; to assist a person with medical conditions or injuries; to bring healing and relief from pain, discomfort and misalignment; to help manage stress; and to deliver wellness and vitality!

It is designed to awaken energy reserves in the body, by unlocking blockages and move vital energy to every vital organ and all tissue, and bring about health and wellness through movement, breath techniques and relaxation of body and mind. This combination of correct movement (stretching and releasing), breath/energy control (Pranayama) and Relaxation (focussed Meditative Awareness) is called Yoga, and when applied as a prescriptive therapy it continues the ancient tradition of Yoga and Ayurveda that has been used by hundreds of millions of people for more than 5,000 years.

The definition of Yoga Therapy from the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) is:

“Yoga Therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the application of the philosophy and practice of Yoga”.

It can be practiced on a yoga mat, or sitting in a chair, standing, or lying on a bed!

How does it Work?

Therapy begins with a private consultation to assess a person’s health and level of fitness, including the layers of energy levels:

Physical – Skeletal system (bones, tendons, ligaments, connective tissue, muscles)

Physiological – Vital Organ system (Heart, Lungs, Liver, Kidneys, Adrenals, Endocrine, Intestines)

Psychological – Mental and Emotional

Spiritual – our connection to the universe and higher consciousness

During this session, Shanthi Bhavana evaluates your case history and current signs and symptoms, and then designs a yoga practice that delivers an individualised, prescriptive set of yoga postures and breathing exercises, delivered as yoga therapy, and taught in a series of regular one-on-one personal sessions.

The Benefits?

Prescriptive Yoga delivers all the major and minor benefits that regular Yoga offers – only given with focussed attention in private sessions, enabling the individual to apply and gain the therapeutic benefits quicker. These benefits include:

·       Manage Stress, Anxiety, Hypertension, Depression

·       Detox the Endocrine and Digestive systems

·       Strengthen Immune system

·       Strengthen & Align Skeletal body (Back, Neck, Hips, shoulders, Limbs)

·       Strengthen Respiratory system

·       Build Core strength

·       Unlock energy blockages in the Subtle Anatomy (Chakra system)

·       Live a long healthful life of wellness and vitality!

This Therapeutic Yoga practice is part of our Lotus Mind Wellness Retreat and may also involve Meditation, Sound Healing, Reflexology and Traditional Chinese Massage, and Herbal Tea beverages.

See “Shanthi Garden Shala Wellness Retreat” - click here


Restorative Yoga

Highly recommended!… Your Restorative practices are very good. Congratulations on all you are doing… Keep up the great work, Shanthi!                                                                                                            – Dr. Larry Payne – Director & Co-Founder, Yoga Therapy Rx Program at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles; Founder, Yoga Program – UCLA Medical School;  Co-Founder, the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT)

Restorative Yoga

Restorative Yoga allows the body to experience relaxation and    rejuvenation, as well as healing benefits that bring it back into balance.     The practice uses props, and postures are often held for long periods...  using the body’s own weight to assist in correcting alignment.                 Slight alterations of a pose can enhance or reduce effectiveness, and the spine, breathing, and body position are all fundamentally linked.                                                                - Aura Wellness Centre, Massachusetts. USA

Restorative practice, based in traditional Hatha yoga is a delicious way to relax and soothe frayed nerves. Restorative classes use bolsters, blocks, blankets, straps (belts) and chairs to prop students in passive poses so that the body can experience the benefits of a pose without having to exert any effort. A good restorative class is more rejuvenating than a nap.

Restorative Yoga focuses on relaxing the body in restful postures - with mindful breathing - which provides the body an opportunity to renew, rejuvenate and heal - bringing physical and emotional benefits.

Generally postures are held longer in Restorative than in a regular Hatha or Vinyasa class - there is not a lot of sequencing as in Vinyasa. Postures are held to allow stretching and releasing and breathing prana into every part of the body. It is about restoring energy and unblocking the Nadis, or energy channels in the subtle anatomy to allow vital pranic energy to flow through and bring nourishing, life-force to every vital organ, and to every part of the physical body. The meditative practice combined with Pranayama (Yogic breath-prana control) promotes relaxation and stimulates the whole physical body and triggers the relaxation response in the brain.

Restorative yoga, as well as other forms of yoga, helps to trigger the Parasympathetic Nervous System, also known as the PNS, which is responsible for balancing the body and bringing its response system back into equilibrium. By stimulating the PNS, we can help to lower heart rate and blood pressure, and to healthily stimulate the immune system and keep the endocrine system operating in a healthy manner. This yoga can help to bring back to balance a Sympathetic nervous system that is out of balance, or one which is over-stimulated . Forms of relaxation, such as yoga and meditation, that help to stimulate the PNS are generally beneficial for overall body health and can help prevent illness and "dis-ease" caused by the stress of hypertension, anxiety and depression.

David Spiegel, M.D., author of Living Beyond Limits, reports, "In medicine, we are learning that physical problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, can be influenced by psychological interventions, such as relaxation training. Mind and body are connected and must work together, and this should be a powerful asset in treating medical illness."

Shanthi teaches gentle Restorative Yoga - a gentle healing modality, that brings rejuvenative power back into the system and helps to restore energy.

This yoga practice includes Pranayama (breath/prana control), gentle Asana (stretching postures) and Meditation.


Meditative Hatha Yoga

Meditative Hatha Yoga

This style of yoga focuses on Rhythmic Movement and Breath and is based on the teachings of Sri T. Krishnamacharya and Sri Bhagavan Patanjali in the ancient tradition of Classical Indian Yoga and is a breath-centred, or breath-awareness practice – where the mind is concentrated on deep breath cycles, and the awareness is focused on the dynamic movement and static holding of each asana (posture).

It is a mindful, meditative movement yoga practice, which honours and gives space to the natural, healing, restorative and rejuvenative process. It is a gentle, yet powerfully dynamic breath-centred practice that helps to trigger energy release in the body.

Yoga is both a preparation for meditation, and a meditation in itself. As such the mind is directed internally on the practice – excluding any external influences. 

This yoga practice includes Pranayama (breath/prana control), gentle Asana (stretching postures) and Meditation.


Chair Flow Yoga

Chair Flow Yoga

Chair-modified Flow Yoga is a gentle form of yoga practiced while sitting on a chair, or standing with a chair for support. Sequenced movement exercise coordinated with the breath (Vinyasa) is Chair Flow Yoga. It is adaptable to everyone’s level of ability and a perfect way to achieve physical or mental fitness - especially those who may suffer from balance, mobility or flexibilty issues.

Yoga for seniors is very beneficial for so many aspects of life. It has a positive effect on the mind and body. It can benefit everybody – all age groups and fitness levels! Even younger people can suffer from problems which prevent them from being able to engage fully in a regular floor yoga practice, and people who are recovering from illness or an accident can also benefit from Chair Flow Yoga.

Chair Flow Yoga also benefits those with pre-existing health issues and/or weight problems. 

It benefits the mind, in a sense that it provides certain independence, and increases self-esteem in the life of those who practice Chair Flow Yoga.

It benefits every body part because it increases blood circulation, improves feet, toes, hand and finger movements, improves balance, stimulates the elimination of body toxins, improves posture, flexibility and mobility, muscle and bone health. A balanced yoga practice has the ability to heal, shift energy blockages and bring into harmony physical, emotional and mental states.


Meditation

Meditation is the practice by which peace, tranquility and clarity of mind is gained through focusing attention on the space between thoughts.

Meditation is a spiritual practice that is thousands of years old - initially developed and practiced in ancient India. 

It can be a powerful modality to bringing about personal growth, change and physical, mental and spiritual growth, as well as “union” with universal energy and consciousness.

Clinical research over the past two decades has now proved that meditation is not only an ancient spiritual practice, but a powerful healing tool. Meditation is a safe and simple way to balance a person’s physical, emotional and mental state. With regular practice it can significantly improve every aspect of our life.

Shanthi teaches meditation in both the yogic and Buddhist traditions, often with Nada sound techniques and Japa mantras (Classic Chanting of India) added for helping with Pranayama breathing and meditation. He practices Vipassana (“Insight”) and mindfulness meditation and is a student and devoted practitioner of the Theravadan Buddhist tradition. 

Shanthi's meditations offers Guided Visualizations and Guided Meditations on Compassion, Metta (Loving Kindness), feeling welcome in the world, and Forgiveness.


“Classical” Approach to Yoga Teaching                           in the Patanjali / Krishnamacharya Tradition

 Shanthi Bhavana’s teaching style is a breath-centred, rhythmic, gentle-movement practice based on the teachings of Sri T. Krishnamacharya that aims to restore health, or full physical and mental functioning and teaches what is appropriate to a student’s needs. It is restorative, rejuvenating, energising and therapeutic, and is a natural preparation for immersion into relaxation and calming meditation.

What makes yoga different to exercise?

Yoga is the cultivation of Awareness, Relaxation and Conscious breathing – without bringing awareness and relaxation to yoga, the exercises would be merely exercises – not yogic exercise.

Yoga is an ideal form of exercise. It’s gentle and doesn’t push you beyond your limits. It doesn’t strain the heart and when you carefully practice has very low risk of injury.

The magic of yoga is that it links the body and the mind with conscious breathing. Breathing through the nose on the INHALE and the EXHALE is the greatest tool for reducing stress, and the more you remember the breath, the more you will get out of your yoga practice. Larry Payne, Ph.D.

Yoga is believed to be the oldest and most enduring system of philosphy.

There are so many ‘types’ and ‘styles’ of yoga available today in western society.

So what is “Classical” yoga of Patanjali and Krishnamacharya? Simply put, “Classical” yoga IS yoga… it is the ancient tradition, lineage and distillation of many thousands of years of knowledge and wisdom.

YOGA = Yuj (to yoke, join… Union).

That which brings a sense of union – union of the individual consciousness with the higher consciousness. Ultimately it is Samadhi = Realization/Enlightenment.

Yoga is a Darshana – a school, or tradition, of philosophical thought. It is not a religion of itself, though it is a practice of the Hindu religion, and can be a spiritual practice.

Yoga – it’s about the evolution of human consciousness. Yoga is the path to purification.

The goal of most systems of traditional yoga is realisation of the Self.

Yoga practice consists of:

Asanas – Physical stretches and Postures

Pranayama – Breath control

Bhavana – Meditation (and visualization) on consciousness 

Sri Bhagavan Patanjali was an Indian teacher traditionally thought of as the person who gathered and systematized the teachings of meditation and yoga. He is believed to have lived between 200B.C.E. and 450 C.E., and is credited with composing the small Sanskrit volume of Yoga Sutras (or "Yoga Aphorisms") from which the modern practice of yoga is derived – 196 Sutras (wisdom designed to produce “freedom from ego-based rigidity”).  Patanjali’s system of yoga is called the "Eightfold Path" or "Eight Limbs of Yoga" (Ashtanga).

Sri T. Krishnamacharya, a devotee of Sri Bhagavan Patanjali and “Classic” Yoga is regarded as the “Father of modern yoga”.

Tirumalai Krishnamacharya - yogi, healer, linguist, Vedic scholar, expert in the Indian Schools of thought and researcher. Born in 1888 in a remote Indian village, Krishnamacharya, who lived to be over hundred years old, was one of the greatest yogis of the modern era. If today, yoga is an inherent part of the everyday lives of millions of people across the world, it is due in large measure to the pioneering efforts of T. Krishnamacharya who revived yoga in the early twentieth century. While preserving ancient wisdom and reviving lost teachings, Krishnamacharya was also a revolutionary innovator who developed and adapted yoga practices that would offer health, mental clarity and spiritual growth to any individual in the modern-day world. The proper teaching and practice of “Classical” yoga today is as powerful as it was thousands of years ago, when it was practiced by sages in India.

Krishnamacharya's knowledge of yoga was so vast that he taught each student differently. In refusing to standardize the practice and teaching methodology, Krishnamacharya created an understanding of yoga relevant for a broad spectrum of students. [His style of yoga is the first known to have incorporated movement through a series of poses that are coordinated with breathing, a style that is known as Vinyasa yoga. It denotes a flowing, dynamic form of yoga, connected to breath or pranayama in which yoga and mudra  transitions are embodied as linkages within and between asana. Sequential movement that interlinks postures to form a continuous flow. It creates a movement meditation that reveals all forms as being impermanent and for this reason are not held on to]. 

By integrating the ancient teachings of Yoga and Indian philosophy with modern-day requirements, Krishnamacharya created yoga practices that are as accurate and powerful as they are practical and relevant. Using Vini Yoga as a concept (Vi = special + ni = appropriate), he taught that:

Vini yoga is teaching what is appropriate to a student’s needs. This is a fundamental principle of yoga teaching – and is the basis of the teaching style of “Classical” yoga.

Vini yoga works with “sequential process” or Viniyasa Krama – the emphasis is on practicing a posture according to one’s individual needs and capability – with regulated breath carefully coordinated with the postural movements.

Sri T. Krishnamacharya’s students included; B.K.S. Iyengar, Shri K. Pattabhi Jois, Indra Devi, T.K.V. Desikachar, and A.G. Mohan – all modern leaders in teaching yoga.

With its origins based in the Vedas, Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, “Traditional Classic Yoga of India”, as taught by Sri Bhagavan Patanjali and Sri T. Krishnamacharya, is a breath-centred, mindfulness practice.

Pranayama (breath-control) – Breath/mind awareness, is the most important element in yoga. By harnessing the Prana (energy) in the body through breath control and meditation, one can overcome problems – physical and mental. Yoga brings us back to our natural state. Its purpose is to expand the breath and to slow down the heart rate, and slow down mental activity; lengthening the breath – conscious breathing – is considered one of the best techniques for clearing the mind.

Asanas (stretching postures) – Through Dynamic and static postures we stretch mindfully, bringing balance to the body. Asanas are designed to work in synchronism with breath control, as well as stimulating the physiology of the body and thus helping to bring health, wellbeing and balance, are simply to prepare the person to meditate… so one can sit without distraction.

Bhavana (meditation & visualization) is what naturally flows from Asana and Pranayama practice. Constant, mindful immersion in meditative consciousness (meditation) – watching our thoughts and perception – is key to enhancing our mental and physical wellbeing.

The central theme of the yoga sutras is Samadhi: a state of tranquility in which the mind becomes balanced, and that state of tranquility leads to a fourth dimension, the “super-conscious” state. As Sri Bhagavan Patanjali put it:

Yoga is the suppression of the modifications of the mind.

Yoga is a lifestyle: It is a systematic way to bring positive change to our lives. It is a fitness and health and wellbeing regime; it can also be a spiritual discipline (relating to ultimate Nature) – a path to Enlightenment.

Sri Shanthi Bhavana teaches yoga as therapy in the “Classical” Patanjali / Krishnamacharya yoga tradition, where the main focus is teaching what is appropriate to a student’s needs.


© Shanthi Bhavana 2016