Yoga Bhavadhara Part Two…A New Yoga for a Constantly New You

by Darren Iammarino | January 20, 2019 3:46 am

There are eight components to the Yoga Bhavadhara program out of respect for the longstanding tradition of “8 limbs, ” steps, or auxiliaries in ancient India. However, the eight categories are not in a linear order leading to an ultimate goal, like one finds in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras or the Buddhist Eightfold Path. This new yoga is comprised of the following aspects:

– Asana
– Pranayama
– Language
– Spaces
– Stages/Situations
– Objects
– Times/Events
– States

There are numerous asanas employed in Yoga Bhavadhara, such as, new poses, twisting poses, or simple inversions. All of these postures place the practitioner into transitional shapes and forms, which help to bring their awareness into the present due to the uniqueness and novelty of what is being asked of their body at that moment …a clearing also opens up in both body and mind, as well as a growing ability to fixate or focus on the task at hand. As far as physical exertion is concerned, and sticking with the transitional nature of the practice, the effort level of a class falls somewhere between a Yin Yoga class and a level 2 Hatha Vinyasa Yoga class. Poses are held anywhere from 15-30 seconds all the way up to a few minutes, so there is rarely a power yoga based flow, but also it is not static like a Yin Yoga class.

Pranayama is taken in the ancient and more literal sense of breath restriction or retentions and thus, each class incorporates “holding empty ” breathing exercises at the beginning to symbolically mark that transitions can make us seem empty. However, it is only once we have become nothing that we can rise and be all! Therefore, classes end with “holding full ” breath retentions, so as to implant or imprint the positive changes and openings to new possibilities that have occurred during the one hour class. Magic happens in the spaces between each breath, just as the way one moves between two or more poses linked together in a well curated sequence can be surprisingly liberating. The way in which one transitions from one shape to another matters as much or more than how one holds the pose itself, and so it is with the breath from one posture to the next. Yoga Dhara uses various forms of breath work depending upon what sort of pose one is moving into or out of rather than just universally applying ujjayi breathing.

The role of language marks one of the major departures of this new style of yoga from other forms. Each week a new word from another language -often a word that is difficult to simply translate into English -is taken as the theme for the class. This opens people up to new ways of being and living within the world, as well as helping people gain a deeper appreciation of other cultures. Some terms for a theme could be: metanoia, wabi-sabi, wei-wu-wei, saudade, duende, teivah, mudita, etc. These are NOT common themes in a yoga class, in fact, I’d bet you haven’t had any of them as a theme before. Other creative uses of language in a Yoga Bhavadhara class would be what I call “langayama ” or restriction of certain words from being used, much like pranayama is a restraining or retention of breath. So, for example, the word “try ” cannot be used by the instructor or students; this trains people to always DO their best. Try, maybe and perhaps are all cancerous terms in our contemporary world and they have the built-in acceptance of either failure or a general lack of will or conviction.

The last major limb or auxiliary that can fit into this post, is the role of spaces. Transitional spaces in the environment are very powerful places …just think of the beach where sea meets land, or the edge of a desert, or a forest, or the beginning of a mountain range, the entrance to a cave etc. All of these zones place us in a state of wonder and freedom, a sense of adventure and exploration into something new. Yoga Bhavadhara uses projected images on the walls to simulate these spaces. Furthermore, the theme for the week is crafted around the transitional space (typically where two of earth’s biomes meet -this is known as an ecotone -but also the themes revolve around specific biomes) along with a guided meditation that takes people imaginatively through that virtual environment.

There is much more to each of the eight categories, but due to limitations of space, I cannot discuss all of the eight categories, nor the specifics for each one. Thus, I must refer you to my link in the bio, which will take you to a website ( that has a free podcast that provides greater detail on Yoga Bhavadhara. To tie Yoga Dhara back to Krishnamacharya and his son Desikachar’s missions, I leave you with the following quotes from Krishnamacharya himself, which I feel justify the creation and spread of this new form of yoga for the 21st century. “We need to de-Indianize yoga in order to universalize it. ” “Before yoga is taught, the teacher should consider the time, surroundings, age, nature of employment, energy and strength of the person and his or her power of comprehension. ” Once again, I could not agree more and it is my hope that Yoga Bhavadhara goes at least one step in the direction of fulfilling this sage advice from the grandfather of Modern Postural Yoga.


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