NEW article | Concentration or Meditation? That is the question.

FLEXING YOUR MENTAL MUSCLEWhen we introduce a topic, we often use a title or some sort of tag line. And when it comes to things and people, we like to give them labels: I am a yoga teacher, I have two kids, I like Italian movies…It was probably the same 2000 years ago when Patanjali composed the Yoga-Sutra, his famous treatise on Yoga. Therein he captures the attention of his students right from the beginning, introducing yoga in a brief … [Read more...]

Article | What do you want to be? January 2017

“You have everything you need to rise above all the noise, and to fulfill every last one of your dreams, and it is so important that you do that.”These words were spoken by Michelle Obama at a convention on women’s education in July 2015. The video was viewed more than 700,000 times on YouTube and I, too, was about to share this “power to inspire” with my teenage daughter. But, as much as I admire Michelle Obama, something stopped me from … [Read more...]

Yoga, beyond the practice – Namaskar magazine – November 2016

by Valerie Faneco -For most people yoga begins with asana, and it is usually considered that we practice yoga when we roll out the mat to engage in some form of physical exercise.More specifically, the Yoga-Sutra tells us that to practice yoga is to act consciously, mindfully, with deliberate intention. Action (karma) includes what we do but also what we think and what we say. Therefore a complete definition of yoga should encompass all … [Read more...]

SEQUENCING – how and why it works – Australian Yoga Life magazine – issue 52 sept nov 2016

By Valerie FanecoYoga practice can be described as a sequence of steps arranged in a certain order to produce certain effects, with the added benefit of preparing and compensating one another to keep the person safe. The Sanskrit word that encapsulates this idea is vinyasa-krama (a sequence of steps). The most famous sequence of steps in yoga is the sun salutation (Surya Namaskar), originally a complex Indian ritual involving not only … [Read more...]

New article – Meditation: the heart of yoga – May 2015

By Valerie Faneco -People who practice meditation are more likely to say: “I practice meditation” than: “I practice yoga”.This is because for the general public “yoga” has become a synonym of “asana” or postures, and meditation is regarded as a separate practice. Most people tend to think: “Yoga deals with the body and meditation deals with the mind”.Indeed in yoga we usually start by working with the body through posture and breath. … [Read more...]

Yoga: mythes et réalité – article en français – Juin 2014 (magazine de l’AFS) –

La pratique du yoga est devenue très en vogue, mais le yoga est souvent mal compris ou résumé à peu de choses. On dit parfois que le yoga est plus célèbre que connu. Tara Michael, grande experte en la matière, écrivait récemment : « N’importe qui, pourvu qu’il soit doué de souplesse physique, d’énergie et d’un peu de bagout, peut s’improviser en six mois professeur de yoga, et le yoga de consommation courante auquel on aboutit n’est rien d’autre … [Read more...]

Practising Yoga – by Sarah Ryan –

March 2014 -Yoga, according to Patanjali, the greatest commentator on the subject, is ultimately about kaivalyam - freedom or independence. From what? From the klesa - our fears, our identifications that cause us so much suffering, our desperate longing for things or unreasonable dislikes which make us take the wrong path, from not seeing how things really are. But these are all rooted very very deeply within us, and cannot easily be … [Read more...]

Article – To fight or not to fight, that is the question – March 2014

    By Valerie Faneco -Soon after I embarked on my yoga studies I started to ask myself the following question: how can we reconcile the non-violence advocated by Patañjali in the Yoga-Sûtra with the need to fight presented in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ? Is this a conflict and how can we untangle it?Broadly speaking yoga is a path to release us from bondage and attain freedom (kaivalyam or moksha). Freedom from … [Read more...]

Article – Food myths in yoga practice – December 2013

FOOD FOR THOUGHT - By Valerie Faneco. In the era of fad diets and the relentless pursuit of weight loss, there is perhaps a risk that we may consider the “yogic diet” as another trend. But the yoga system is several thousand years old so there must be good reasons why it has endured the test of time. In this regard it is a good idea to consult the âgamâ-s (classical texts) to reflect on the views of the original teachers. Anna is … [Read more...]

Article – Samadhi unplugged – September 2013

TO BE ENLIGHTENED IS TO BE ALONE By Valerie Faneco -  A cursory glance at the word “samadhi” in the online dictionary shows that it is defined as “a state of deep concentration on the object of meditation, a state of being totally aware of the present moment; one-pointedness of mind”.A closer look at this definition reveals that it refers to the state of yoga. Samadhi is understood to be a state of complete absorption.Since yoga … [Read more...]