Beneficios dos Asanas

Āsana in Yoga Therapy: Learn about Yoga Benefits

Āsana means “seat,” and in its earliest usage refers to seated postures for meditation. The importance of appropriate posture for meditation is emphasized in all the major traditions of Indian spirituality beginning with Buddhist and Jain scriptures from 500 BCE. One of the first uses of the word āsana as correct posture for meditation is from the Bhagavad Gita from approx.300 BCE

To practice Yoga, one should make an āsana (seat) in a sanctified place…The āsana should be neither too high nor too low. Seated firmly on it, the yogi should strive to purify the mind by focusing it in meditation with one pointed concentration, controlling all thoughts and activities. He must hold the body, neck, and head firmly in a straight line, and gaze at the tip of the nose, without allowing the eyes to wander. BG 6; 11-13.

The usage of the word āsana within the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is clearly related to the seated poses for meditation, but, as we will see, a philosophy of āsana is presented which encompasses the entire tradition of āsana practice.

While āsana as a seat for meditation is the most common usage, there is an earlier tradition of posture as a vehicle for spiritual transformation in the austerities of the ancient ascetics collectively known as Śramaṇas going back to the time of the early Upanishads from 3000 years ago. In the fourth century BCE, members of the entourage of Alexander the Great came across ascetics maintaining different bodily positions for long periods of time. The use of such positions is common in description of early ascetics and many of the positions are similar to Hatha Yoga poses including standing on one leg as in tree pose or hanging upside down which is called the “Bat” pose. The chair position, called Utkatkasana is similar in name to the chair pose which appears in Hatha Yoga texts 2000 years later. Though these ascetics normally maintained a single pose rather than a variety of poses that evolved later, the intention of burning away karma and developing strength in order to attain spiritual freedom are clearly related to the intention of Hatha Yoga.

It is important to note that the group of āsanas that are considered to be modern and origin are the standing poses including the Triangle and many of the Hero variations which may have influences from Western gymnastics as well as Indian martial arts. It is also clear that postures have been evolving throughout the history of āsana and there was never an absolute consensus of what constituted an authentic āsana. Perhaps the best guide to authentic āsana is not the form of the pose but the way it is practiced, embodied in the three sutras on the subject provided by Patanjali.

While referring to seated poses for meditation, the three sutras on āsana within the Yoga Sutras embody a complete philosophy for the practice of all Yoga postures.

    • sthira sukham āsanaṁ

Āsana is steady and comfortable posture.

These words sthira, steady and stable, and sukham, comfortable, easeful and pleasant are related to abhyasa, practice and vairaygya, non-attachment from Sutra 1.12. They can also symbolize relative Yoga Therapy in the form of technique and absolute Yoga Therapy as the journey of recognition of our true being, inherently whole and complete.

    • prayatna śaithilyā ‘nanta samāpattibhyāṁ

(Attained by) releasing effort and tension to merge with the infinite.

The second sutra presents the methodology for achieving this posture; all effort and tension is released, allowing us to merge with the infinite, Ananta, which is our limitless inner Being and merging with the infinite.

    • tato dvandvā ‘nabhighātaḥ

Thereby, invincibility, immunity to the pairs of opposites (is attained).

The third sutra presents the benefit attained from steady and comfortable posture, which is invincibility in relation to the pairs of opposites, all the polarities that characterize the realm of prakr̥ iti.

Benefits of Asana

1 – Creates a balance of strength, stability and flexibility

Āsana practice optimizes the functioning of the bones, joints, muscles, and fascia as an integrated system, allowing for healthy movement for all age groups. This is especially key in relation to the spinal column where Āsana, practiced adequately, maintains the integrity of the vertebrae while nourishing the spinal discs.


  • Practice warm-ups from table position (Sandharasana 11) including Cat/Cow (Marjariasana – 11)  and then the Tiger Stretches, holding Tiger (Chakoravakasana -12b) with the leg raised, followed by Sun Bird (Chakoravakonasana – 12) to experience a balance of strength, stability and flexibility.

2 – Strengthens the skeletal system by placing pressure on the bones from all directions

Bones develop and maintain density partly through the stresses placed upon them from various angles. Āsana is unique in placing forces upon the bones both horizontally and vertically. Yoga postures also strengthen the ligaments and connective tissue as well as improving circulation to the bones.


  • A for the arms. Practice the Plank Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana – 13), followed by Sphinx (Purushamrigasana -37), Infinity Pose (Anantasana – 49) and Eagle arms (Dhyana Virasana) to sense the pressure placed upon the bones from various angles.
  • B. for the legs and pelvis. Practice Seated Hero (Virasana-27), Camel (Ustrasana-44), Reclining Hero (Supta Virasana-45), Reclining Eagle (Garudasana-63).

3 – Optimizes the functioning of the heart and circulatory system

Āsana produces a squeeze and soak effect on all arteries and veins by constricting them fully and then relaxing them completely. Yoga postures also exercise the heart by raising blood pressure, followed by complete relaxation which supports heart rate variability, the ability of the heart to respond to changes in the inner and outer environment quickly and smoothly in order to meet perceived needs. Inversion poses help to regulate blood pressure by exercising the baroreceptors in the carotid arteries and enhancing circulation to the head, face and brain.


  • Practice Cow’s Head (Gomukhasana – 23) with the arms in Eagle position (Dhyana Virasana). Press the arms and legs together tightly, then release and lie back with the body in an ”X” position, sensing the enhanced circulation to the extremities.
  • Practice Locust or Half Locust (Shalabhasana – 39) allowing heart rate and blood pressure to rise to the maximum comfortable level. Rest in Child Pose (Garbhasana – 52) and sense how quickly, heart rate and blood pressure adjust.
  • Enter Half Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana – 71) and sense the slight activation of the cardiovascular system to pump blood to the legs and feet. Also sense the enhanced circulation to the head, face and brain.

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4. Optimizes the functioning of the respiratory system

Āsana strengthens and stretches the muscles of respiration while maintaining elasticity in the lung tissue.


  • Practice Rotated Head to Knee (Parivritta Janushirshasana-55) (f) to sense the opening of the lungs on each side. Accentuate the effects by practicing Anuloma Krama pranayama on the upper side. Also, actively contract the muscles of the rib cage on the lower side of the body.
  • Practice Restorative Cobra Pose(Bhujangasana-38)with a cushion supporting the chest. Open the front of the chest cavity fully, while contracting all the muscles at the back of the rib cage.
  • Practice Rabbit Pose (Shashangasana – 53), fully opening the back body and the space between the shoulder blades, while fully contracting the rib cage at the front of the body.

5. Supports the functioning of the digestive, eliminatory, urinary, and reproductive systems

Āsana provides a direct massage of the abdominal and pelvic areas, promoting circulation and releasing muscular and psycho-emotional constrictions in the abdomens and pelvis.


  • Practice Bhunaman Vajrasana to feel the effects on all organs in the pelvic region. Relax in savasana and allow the pelvic area to receive a fresh supply of blood.
  • Practice Knee Down Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana–34) to sense the massage of the abdominal and pelvic areas.
  • Practice Supported Bridge Pose (Setubandhasana-42) with a block to sense release of tension and enhanced circulation to the pelvis and abdomen, followed by Knee to Chest pose (Apanasana-19).

6. Supports the functioning of the lymphatic and immune systems

Lymph transports a range of antibodies and specialized white blood cells designed to fight disease, flowing through lymph nodes that filter out bacteria, foreign matter, and dead tissue. Its optimal functioning is therefore essential for a healthy immune system. The lymphatic system depends on gravity as well as on adjacent muscles contracting to squeeze fluid through its vessels. Many āsanas squeeze and stretch the tissues surrounding lymph node clusters in the neck, armpits, and groins to support a healthy lymphatic system and boost immunity.

The contraction and release of the musculature of the legs supports the movement of lymph and the contraction and internal massage of the abdominal area is also important. Additionally, Inversions assist in this    process of returning lymph to the kidneys where toxins are filtered out through the urine. The functioning of the immune system is also supported by the enhanced balance in the autonomic nervous system cultivated by Yoga as a whole.


  • Practice Cow’s Head (Gomukhasana – 23), followed by Cow’s Head variation with the arms crossed in front of the body, Cow’s Head Lateral Bend, Cow’s Head Twist, Cow’s Head Forward Bend.
  • Practice Z Sit (Shaitilyasana-25a) with Dolphin movements. Then, hold Z Sit with Kapalabhati.
  • Half Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana-71) with legs in Eagle Pose
  • Pose of Devotion Twist
  • Reclining Hero (Supta Virsana – 45)

7 – Optimizes the functioning of the endocrine system

The āsanas directly massage the sites of the endocrine organs, releasing muscular tension from these areas and optimizing circulation. The functioning of the endocrine system is also optimized by balance in the autonomic nervous system which is supported by āsana practice.


  • Practice Rabbit Pose (Shashangasana – 53) to sense the effects on the pineal, pituitary, thyroid, adrenal, and pancreatic glands.
  • Practice Fish Pose (Matsyasana – 46) to stimulate the glands with the torso in the reverse direction.
  • Practice Rotated Half Circle (Ardha Mandalasana – 50b) or Rotated Triangle (Parivritta Trikonasana – 9) to sense the massage of the entire endocrine system.

8- Optimizes the health of the brain and central nervous system 

Through enhanced body awareness, optimal circulation, and reduction of muscular and psycho-emotional tension, the āsanas support the health of the brain and nervous system. The inversions support optimal circulation to the brain as well as the functioning of the baroreceptors, the mechanisms that control the flow of blood and nutrients to the brain. The alternating movements of the spine support the movement of cerebral spial fluid within the spinal cord.

The proprioception required in all the poses maintains the functioning of the peripheral nervous system which sends and receives messages from the entire body, especially the extremities.


  • Practice Wide Legged Standing Forward Fold (Yoga mudra – 54c) and sense the enhanced circulation to the face and brain and the regulating effect of the baroreceptors.
  • Practice Balancing Half Moon (Tulatta Ardha Chandrasana – 64)  and sense the optimal flow of messages to and from the brain and spinal cord to every area of the body, especially the extremities.
  • Practice Cat/Cow (Marjariasana – 11), Lateral Cat and Table Twist (Sandharasana 11) in synchrony with your breathing as you visualize cerebral spinal fluid lubricating your entire spinal cord and brain.

9- Optimizes the functioning of the senses 

Asanas release muscular tension from the shoulders, face, neck, and jaw, supporting optimal functioning of the senses.


  • Practice Yogamudra (54) with the top of the head on the floor to feel the Enhanced circulation to the senses.
  •  Practice Lion Pose to release tension from the face and jaw.
  • Practice neck warmups to release tension from the neck.
  • Practice eye exercises to release tension and enhance circulation.

10- Improves and maintains balance

Aāsanas, especially the balancing poses, support healthy balance through activating the balance receptors in the feet with a variety of weight bearing poses in varying planes of movement. This is especially important for seniors who may sustain serious, and even life-threatening injuries from falls.


  • Practice the Stork posture (Uttanasana)  with its variations of internal and external rotation.
  • Practice modified Hero III pose ( Virabhadrasana III – 65) with the hands in prayer position.
  • Practice modified Balancing Half Moon Pose  (Tulatta Ardha Chandrasana – 64) with the arm resting alongside the body as needed.

11- Supports the functioning of the Autonomic Nervous System, enhancing the ability to deal with stress effectively

The ANS has two branches. The parasympathetic branch is responsible for relaxation and regeneration of all major organs and systems of the body. The sympathetic branch is responsible for liberating the energy needed for all activities. Balance of these two is essential for the health of every system of the body.

The stress response is mediated by the autonomic nervous system together with the endocrine system. Together they produce   the energy needed for daily living with extra energy provided in case of emergencies. This balance allows us to relax and restore completely when energy is not needed. A main component of the ANS is the vagus    nerve, the longest nerve in the body, whose principal connections to the spinal cord are at the neck and digestive tract. The vagus nerve elicits the relaxation response in all the main systems of the body including, circulatory, respiratory and digestive. It is the main channel of communication between the enteric nervous system in the abdomen and the brain. It inhibits the effects of the stress response activated by the sympathetic branch of the ANS and supports the health of the immune system.

Āsanas regulate the ANS and subsequently the stress response in many important ways including:

  • Āsanas massage the vagus nerve directly, especially in the area of the neck and sacrum, increasing vagal tone.
  • Āsanas massage and increase circulation to the organs that mediate the stress response including the endocrine glands, especially the thyroid and the adrenals.
  • Āsanas release tension from the musculature in all areas of the body, especially from the neck, shoulders and arms, areas that are especially activated in the fight or flight response thereby deactivating this response.
  • Āsanas cultivate stress hardiness, the ability to hold the pose in daily life, through moving beyond psycho-emotional resistance in holding the Yoga poses.
  • Āsanas teach the ability to move from tension to relaxation quickly and voluntarily.
  • Āsanas release tension from the face and jaw, especially the temporomandibular Joint (TMJ), which supports reduction of the stress response.
  • Āsanas release psycho-emotional tension from the chest and pelvis, where psycho- emotional tension that sustains the stress response is held.


  • Practice Mountain pose (Tadasana – 1)for an extended period, gently moving beyond your limits to develop stress hardiness.
  • Practice Down Dog Vinyasa (Adho Mukha Svanasana – 14) of with a leg in the air to Pigeon (Kapotasana -25) then rest in Child Pose (Garbhasana 52), sensing the increase in HRV and Vagal tone.
  • Practice supported Bridge pose (Setubandhasana – 42) with a block under the pelvis, focusing on releasing psycho-emotional tension from the chest and pelvic area.
  • Practice Butterfly pose (Baddha Konasana – 22), using each exhaling breath to move deeper into the posture, relaxing physical and psycho-emotional tension from the hips and pelvis.
  • Practice Lion pose to release tension from the jaw.
  • Practice Cow’s Head (Gomukhasana – 23) w/variations to release tension from shoulders, arms, hips, legs.
  • Practice a seated twist from side to side, allowing the eyes to move in the opposite direction of the head with a focus on the cranial vagus nerve.
  • Perform Somatic trapezius release movements with a focus on the cranial vagus nerve. I: Perform Happy Baby Pose with Asvini mudra with a focus on the pelvic vagus nerve.
  • Perform Agni Sara Kriya to release the diaphragm with a focus on the pelvic vagus nerve.
  • Perform Fish pose (Matsyasana – 46) followed by Rabbit pose (Shashangasana – 53), concluding with Child pose (Garbhasana 52) with a hug to release tension from the adrenals and thyroid.
  • Practice the Reclining Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana-30), entering more deeply into the twist with each inhaling breath, sensing the release of tension, especially from the hips and shoulders.

By Joseph Le Page
Professor and cofounder of Integrative Yoga 


The History of Yoga - Part III

The History of Yoga – Part III

III. Epoch of Vedanta – 2000 to 3000 years ago – Paths of Yoga: Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga

Yoga is union with God in the form of a personal experience symbolized in OM
• Vedanta means the culmination or end of the Vedas.
• In Vedic culture connection with God was mainly through priests

• In Vedanta one establishes such an intimate connection with God that one discovers that there is no separation between me and God.

Reflection, meditation, mantra
• This union is encoded in the great paradigm of Vedanta: Atmam equals Brahmam, which means that the individual soul is identical with Brahmam, the soul of all creation OM

The importance of guru and sacred texts / the importance of deep studies

• The teachings of Vedanta are called Upanishads which means to sit close to the Guru who transmits the knowledge of Brahmam, that is, it is to sit as close as possible to your real Self, which is Brahmam.
• The Upanishads are written as dialogues between Guru and disciple, father and son or wife and husband.
• Guru means leader or authority, because his message could be felt directly and powerfully. Guru also means darkness and light, because the Guru is the one who guides from darkness to light.
• Vedanta knowledge is encoded in great sayings called Mahavakyas, which include:
Tat Tvam Asi – You are that; Aham Brahmasmi – I am Brahmam; Sarvam Khalvidam Brahman – all creation is Brahmam.
• This knowledge of the union of the individual soul with all creation with a focus on the study of sacred texts is called Jnana Yoga, the Yoga of knowledge.

The importance of self-study – living fully in the world without attachment and expectation of the result of actions to purify the personality.

• Vedanta culture emphasizes renunciation and departure from the world to live in retreat in the forest with other disciples in an ashram with inspiration and direct communication from a Guru.
• The concept of renunciation becomes the Bhagavad Gita for an understanding that living in the world is necessary to bring out the likes and dislikes that are obstacles to freedom.
• Krishna teaches Arjuna how to live in the world, working to purify the mind, without attachment to fruits or results to finally recognize our real Self.
• Using everyday experiences to purify the personality is called Karma Yoga.

By Joseph LePage

The Art and Science of Yoga Therapy and the Five Koshas

On February 26th, Joseph Le Page will be presenting the twelve-week course, the Art and Science of Yoga Therapy, for Inner Peace Yoga Therapy.

“Within this course, we use the model of the Five Koshas, the five dimensions of our being as a framework for the theory and practice of Yoga Therapy. The objective of the model of the Five Koshas is essentially spiritual; to provide a clear path to union with our true Being.

Along this journey however, as we traverse each of the koshas, we gain an in-depth awareness of each of the dimensions of our being, allowing us to cultivate integration and harmony which supports our overall health and the process of healing. Along this journey of awareness, we also cultivate health and healing which both support our journey and reflect our growing approximation to the source and essence of health.

Through an in depth understanding of the model of the Five Koshas, we create a foundation for the Art and Science of Yoga Therapy, serving three main functions:

  • The Koshas form a framework for healing at each level of our being; each facet of our lives requires consciousness, care, and evolution cultivated through Yoga practices specifically designed for each person’s individual needs.
  • Secondly, the koshas function as a framework for developing competencies at each level of being, allowing the Yoga Therapist to master an understanding of health at physical, energetic, psycho-emotional, intuitive, and spiritual levels.
  • The third function of the koshas is to remind that that the purpose of all of Yoga, including Yoga Therapy is the recognition of our true Being, whose very nature is wholeness and peace, and that health and healing are ultimately reflections of our union with the one source energy.

On the video, we review each of the koshas briefly and meditate on them!

Get to know more about the Art and Science of Yogatherapy!


A Yoga New Year’s Resolution

Patanjali Yoga Sutras 1.1 is “atha yoga anuśāsanam”

Therefore, (when the student is prepared), instruction in Yoga (begins).

The decision to begin the Yoga journey is a crossroads where we choose consciously between ways of doing and being that cause limitation and suffering and the journey of Yoga that leads to greater joy, equanimity and clarity.

Along this journey, we also open to receive enhanced levels of health and vitality that are an essential support for our journey.

This crossroads is even more important as we enter the New Year which is traditionally a time for affirmations, resolutions and new beginnings.

In order to create positive affirmations for the new year, you will explore four different facets of daily living.

Within each one, you will reflect on your attitudes and tendencies before you begin practicing Yoga, and how they have evolved since Yoga practice began.

With this clarity, you will then create an intention for further growth and transformation in the new year.

Watch the video and let’s meditate together! 

Happy 2023!

Joseph Le Page and Integrative Yoga Therapy Team

Let’s Meditate!


Buddha Park

History of Yoga – Part I

Follow below, the chronology of the History of Yoga:


1. Vedic Epoch: five thousand years ago. Mantra yoga

2. Samkhya:  a philosophy that originated approximately three thousand years ago and still influences other yoga traditions that came later. The Origin of Jnana Yoga

3. Epoch of Vedanta: Three thousand years ago. Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga.

Main texts: The Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita

4. Time of Buddha: Two and a half thousand years ago. Roots of Raja Yoga.

It marks the beginning of yoga traditions that did not accept the authority of the Vedas and which are essentially psychologies and not religions.

5. Codification of Yoga until then by Patanjali: two thousand years ago. Raja Yoga

Development of Meditation as a science.

Importance of spiritual powers in the practice of Yoga.

Embryonic origin of the Chakras and Tantra Yoga.

6. Epoch of Tantra: Fifteen hundred years ago. Chakra Yoga.

The body as a vehicle replaced an obstacle to spirituality.

The use of the senses, color, shape, sound, as paths for the spirit.

7. Epoch of Hatha Yoga: A thousand years ago.

Strong influences from Patanjali and Tantra.

Focus on the health and integration of body and mind and the integration of polarities as vehicles for reaching the spirit.

8. Age of Modern Yoga: From a hundred years to today.

Revival of India’s traditional culture through a disillusionment with colonialism and modernism. The influence of Yoga in the West and the reinvention of Yoga as a psychophysical discipline. The Yoga teacher as an agent of transformation of society in terms of physical health, psycho-emotional integration and recognition of spiritual growth as the purpose of life.

The Yoga Paths in the Context of the Eras of Yoga History

1. Vedic Epoch: 3 to 5 thousand years ago – Yoga path associated with this era: Mantra Yoga.

The use of sound to unite with the sacred

Ancient India represents a mixture of indigenous and Central Asian influences;
The Sanskrit language originates in Central Asia and forms the basis of Greek, Latin, English and other European languages;
The Sanskrit language is much more than a form of communication. He is the source of the creation of the universe and the divine in manifestation, but at this time only through the priests;
The sound of OM and the use of sacred mantras is the legacy of this tradition;
The word mantra means: “One who carries the mind”. It fills the mind with positive intentions that replace patterns of negativity;

Control of attention and breathing

The religion of this civilization is encoded in the Vedas which are collections of prayers dedicated to over one hundred deities. Veda means knowledge;
The most important of all the Vedas is called Rig Veda, and is composed of more than one hundred and ten thousand mantras in honor of more than one hundred deities. The most famous mantra in the Rig Veda is the Gayatri Mantra;
This civilization was organized into castes: 1st the brahmins – priests; 2nd the kshatrias – politicians and warriors; 3rd the vaishyas – merchants; 4th the shudras – workers;
Represents a segment of society specializing in spiritual practices;
The Brahmans were a very powerful group, because communication with the deities and obtaining the favors and blessings of these deities was acquired only through them;
Memorizing the vedas and chanting them required attention and breath control which is a foundation of Yoga.

Deities as embodiments of positive qualities – reflections of the positive nature of the universe

Initially, the practice of Mantras was used as a vehicle for supplicating goods and blessings to the deities.
These deities are archetypes of universal qualities that exist in the cosmos and in our own consciousness. Ex: Ganesha = protection; Saraswati = Creativity; Lakshmi = material and subtle wealth: Shiva = purification, Savitri = sun as a symbol of spiritual enlightenment.
Mantra serves to purify the mind because it offers a fixed, positive, repetitive point of concentration.


By Joseph Le Page

Samkhya Philosophy for Children of all Ages

Once upon a time, there was a planet called Purusha. You could say that Purusha was a perfect place to live; everyone was happy and there was a sense of timelessness and limitlessness. In fact, the people of Purusha were complete in every way. The only problem was that in all that vast kingdom there wasn’t a mirror to be found. Without a mirror, the Purushans couldn’t see themselves, so although they were perfect, they had no way to recognize or become aware of their inherent perfection. This absence of a mirror in which to see their own reflection, is the source of a desire or longing to go in search of a way of Self-knowing.

One day, the Purushans heard about a far-away planet called Prakṛti where it was possible to know oneself in a world of duality, with the world out there and a separate “me” to experience it. This world of duality could be experienced through sound, touch, sight, taste and smell, so it was indeed a mirror for all five senses. By traveling to Prakṛti, the Purushans would be able to have all the limitless peace and joy of planet Purusha and also to be conscious of it; a journey of exploration and learning, to return to Purusha both whole and aware of their wholeness.

To make the journey to planet Prakṛti, the Purushans needed spacecraft that could withstand the atmosphere when they arrived, so they built their ships from the same five elements that comprise planet Prakṛti – earth, water, fire, air, and space. Each ship was hand-crafted and had individual characteristics, but overall, they fit into three basic models: the kapha ships were dense and solid, the pitta ships were fast and fiery, with powerful engines, and the vata models were light and quick.


The ship itself is called the Body. At the center of each ship is the principal passenger called Spirit, which carries the essence of limitless freedom and consciousness, the hallmark of planet Purusha. Each ship also has a pilot called “Mind”. Body, Mind, and Spirit must work together to make the journey, with the understanding that both the body and the mind are ultimately vehicles for the journey of the Soul toward Self-knowledge.

At the beginning of their journey, the Purushans installed a powerful transmitter in space so they would always be in touch with planet Purusha. This transmitter to and from Purusha was called Mahat, which means “the great” so that the essence of wholeness and limitless which are the hallmarks of planet Purusha would never be lost. Each spacecraft also had an ultra-intelligent on-board computer, called Buddhi, to make sure that signals coming from Purusha were received and transmitted to the pilot to guide the ship to planet Prakriti and to return to planet Purusha. Each ship has its own unique identity or sense of individuality since each is a unique combination of the five elements, so that the journey and destiny of each is unique, both in the journey to prakriti and the way of return to Purusha. This unique and individual identity for each traveler is called Ahamakara, which can be loosely translated as – I want to do it my way!

While each ship has a unique journey, overall, they fall into three basic categories. The kapha ships are heavy and slow but make steady progress. The pitta craft excel in speed and performance, but when things go wrong, time is lost looking for who to blame. The vata craft have the most exciting journey, exploring different universes and planets, but often forgetting where they left the keys to the spaceship. In the end, all the spaceships arrived at the same time.

As they near planet Prakṛti, the pilots prepare the sensing devices they need for exploration. One set of sensing devices is the jnanendriyas, or instruments of knowing, including the ability to smell, taste see, touch and hear. The others are instruments for action called karmendriyas, such as ability to speak, touch, move, grasp, eliminate waste, and even to procreate little Purushan ships as the complete journey may take more than one generation.

As the ships near planet Prakṛti, they encounter a series of unexpected storms that form part of its atmosphere. There are storms of tremendous energy and turbulence, called rajas. There are also doldrums, called tamas, in which nothing moves at all. These cycles of rajas and tamas are interspersed with moments of perfect balance, called sattva, when the journey flows smoothly and effortlessly.


All the ships manage to reach planet Prakṛti, but the journey is a difficult one. Many of the pilots arrived traumatized and suffering from chronic recurring amnesia in which they forget their original mission of exploration and Self-knowledge in order to return to planet Purusha. They come to believe that they are their ships comprised of the five elements and use their senses and organs of action to seek pleasure and avoid pain believing prakriti and its experiences to be their sole reality, while the passenger and the reason for the journey, Spirit is completely forgotten or is just a distant memory. With their original mission forgotten, their time is spent at the mall looking for items to beautify the ship or on vacation taking selfies.

This pattern of driving their ships around in circles to stay busy, while never finding life’s true purpose or meaning is called, Samsara, which literally means, going around in circles. But no matter how much they try to stay busy to avoid looking at their lives more deeply, there is a subtle inner voice coming from Spirit, telling them that there must be some deeper purpose and meaning for living.

Those who hear this message more clearly are the Rishis, or seers, and Gurus, the ones who can lead the people from the circular patterns of planet Prakṛti, back to the remembering who they really are as citizens of Purusha. These pioneers are also called Yogis which means to join, or in this case to reunite  with who we are as Spirit.

Those that decide to make the journey home to Purusha first need to repair their ships from the damage caused by the chronic stress and sensory overload that is the nature of a planet under the sway of the three gunas and the constant roller coaster of ups and downs. These repair stations use a science called Ayurveda to rebalance the five elements from which the ships are made. Sometimes all the ships’ systems must be completely cleaned out in a process called Panchakarma. Once in balance, the ships need a path for their journey home, and one of the clearest of these is by the Sage Patanjali: A manual on the return to Planet Purusha in 8 steps, called Ashtanga Yoga.

The first two steps, called yama and niyama, are guides for conduct and behavior on the journey home. The third step, asana, is a guide for keeping the ship stable and comfortable to ensure its safety along the way. The fourth step, pranayama, involves having adequate energy for the journey and using this energy wisely. The fifth step, pratyahara, is removing the attention of the pilot from all of the distractions on planet

Prakṛti so they can focus on their journey of return. The sixth step, dharana, is setting a steady one-pointed course and staying that course all the way home. The seventh step, dhyana or meditation, is the journey itself, with all the ship’s systems functioning spontaneously and effortlessly, guided by Buddhi in  contact with Mahat to maintain a continuous communication with the energy of peace and joy from planet Purusha.

Through the methodology of Asthanga Yoga, many of the ships can return home, and once there, reassume their true identity as citizens of planet Purusha and return to a state of peace, wholeness and harmony called samadhi, the final step of the eight-limb journey. These explorers, however, are not the same as when they left. Now they have a mirror of consciousness. They know planet Prakṛti and the world of duality and now, returning home to planet Purusha they are complete and whole and know it to be so.

The final and deepest learning from this journey is that planet Purusha and planet Prakṛti are actually one.  The world of matter and the world of spirit are not opposed to each other and our own version of planet Prakṛti, called Earth, is calling out for us to treat her with love and reverence so that Purusha and Prakṛti  may live together in peace and joy happily every after.


5 Elements Meditation

Within the Yoga philosophy, all creation is composed of the FIVE elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space.

Our bodies and minds are also composed of these FIVE elements.

Each element is located in a specific area of the body and is also related to one or more body systems.

Each element has a symbol, a mantra or sacred sound, and is also related to a facet of the natural world.

Through meditation on the 5 elements and their various attributes, we cultivate perfect balance of our bodies and minds as doorway to absolute health in the form of recognition of our spiritual being.

Let’s meditate in the 5 elements with the professor Joseph LePage!

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras as a Journey of Healing

Understanding the Spiritual Essence of Yoga Therapy with Joseph LePage

Meets live virtually weekly on Fridays from 8:30-11:30 AM Mountain Time

September 23 – December 9, 2022 (12 week, 36-hour course)

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a key text of Yoga tradition. In 196 short aphorisms, we find a compilation of the essential philosophy, methodology and techniques of the Yoga. This text also forms a foundation for the study and practice of Yoga Therapy. In this 36-hour course, we will explore the Yoga Sutras in detail with a special focus on their vision of health and healing at all levels of being. This course is based in Joseph Le Page’s upcoming book, The Yoga Sutras in Practice to be released in 2023.

Areas of Study:

  • Patanjali’s vision of health and healing at all levels of being
  • The nature of the mind in relation to health and healing.
  • The role of surrender and divine grace in healing.
  • The sound and symbol of OM as a vehicle for healing.
  • The impediments to healing and their symptoms, including depression and anxiety.
  • A road map for the treatment of depression and anxiety in Yoga Therapy.
  • The means to promote healing including one-pointed concentration and breath awareness.
  • The cultivation of positive qualities that support healing including loving kindness, compassion, inner joy, and the ability to not take things personally.
  • The five kleshas as the root cause of dis-ease.
  • Kriya Yoga, the Yoga of inner transformation, as a road map for the journey to healing.
  • The relationship between karma and dis-ease.
  • The three gunas and their relationship to stress and dis-ease
  • The limbs of Yoga as the foundation practices along the journey of healing.
  • The inner and outer limbs, relative and absolute Yoga Therapy.
  • The practice of samadhi as a path of healing.
  • Mastery of the five elements as a path of healing.
  • Harnessing the power of the mind and positive qualities in healing.
  • The role of the prana vayus in balancing the physical systems of the body.
  • The chakras as a map for health at all dimensions of being.
  • The role of the senses in the healing process and healing of the senses themselves.
  • The role of the mind in the perfection of the body.
  • Enlightenment, kaivalya, as absolute healing.

Learn more

Each week will include a balance of theory and experience including guided exercises, meditation, and sharing within the group.

Participants will receive weekly material from Joseph Le Page’s upcoming book, The Yoga Sutras in Practice. Participants will also receive weekly study materials and meditation scripts.

Fees, Eligibility and Continuing Education:

  • This course is open to all Inner Peace Yoga Therapy students as well as yoga teachers/yoga therapists from other schools
  • This course is an Elective for all Inner Peace Yoga Therapy students pursuing their 800-hour certification
  • For those already certified as Yoga Therapists (C-IAYT), this course offers 36 hours of continuing education via Approved Professional Development
  • Tuition fee $500 payable below.

This 36-hour course will meet virtually each Friday from September 23 – December 9, 2022. Class time is 8:30—11:30am MT each week.

Students are expected to attend sessions live, but each session will be recorded and placed on our learning platform. Students are expected to listen to the recordings from any missed session before the next week’s session takes place.

About Joseph

Joseph’s innate desire for wholeness led him to his first Yoga class in 1973, and his first meditation retreat at the Tibetan Buddhist Samye Ling Tibetan Center in Scotland, with his first trip to India in 1975. He made six subsequent journeys to India for study in Yoga, Yoga Therapy, and Ayurveda. He is a graduate of Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy training. His master’s degree in teaching has supported his development of experiential education methodologies.

He founded Integrative Yoga and Integrative Yoga Therapy in 1993, and is a pioneer in the field of Yoga therapy training programs. He began teaching yoga therapy in hospital settings in 1995 and continues up to the present as Director of The Healthy Heart Program, which conducts Yoga Therapy group programs in public health settings throughout Brazil.

Joseph has been a speaker at major conferences including Yoga Journal, the International Association of Yoga Therapists, the Kripalu Yoga Teacher’s Association, the International Association of Yoga and Ayurveda, and others. He is co-founder and director of the Enchanted Mountain Yoga Center in Garopaba, Brazil, one of the largest Yoga retreat centers in South America.

He is the co-author of the book Yoga Toolbox for Teacher and Students, one of the most widely used materials in teacher training programs in the US and in Brazil, published by Integrative Yoga. He is also co-author of the book Mudras for Healing and Transformation, also published by Integrative Yoga.

Subscribe here!

The Sixteen Qualities of Authentic Being

Our true Being, purusha, is ultimately beyond all description because it is beyond the mind and the realm of prakriti. We can, however, gain a sense of our inner Being by recognizing and cultivating its essential qualities. These qualities are said to be sixteen which represents the number of petals of the throat chakra. 16 is described as a perfect number because it represents the perfect harmony between the moon’s waxing and waning. All the numbers of the petals of the chakras culminate in 16:

First chakra = 4 petals; Second chakra, 4+2=6 petals; Third chakra, 6+4=10 petals, Fourth chakra, 10+2=12 petals, Fifth Chakra, 12=4=16 petals, Sixth chakra = 2 petals remaining. It is the throat chakra where the sixteen limiting tendencies related to the conditioned personality are seen, questioned, and released and also where the sixteen qualities of authentic Being are integrated, allowing us to speak our truth from our inner Being rather than the conditioned personality.

  1. Changelessness – avyakta

Within the realm of prakriti, everything is in a process of constant change, but the observer, our inner being, which has always been and always will be, is primordial and unchanging, avyakta.  To experience this quality, place your hands in Adhi mudra and take six breaths, allowing this quality to blossom from within and permeate your entire being as you chant,

Om Avyakta Devaya Namaha.


2. Wholeness – purnatvam

Within the realm of prakriti, the results of our activities and our perception of our own being are seldom whole or complete and are often subject to feelings of inadequcy, fefectiveness or failure. In our interactions in our surroundings, it seems there is always something that we want to have, do or change within ourselves or in our surroundings, or both in order to feel complete. In contrast, our inner Being is naturally whole and complete, purnatvam, so that we don’t sense a compulsive need to do or achieve in our surroundings. Also, when we do make plan and organize projects, we are less projects attached to the results and more attentive to the process of learning that occurs along the journey.

To experience this quality, place your hands in Hakini mudra and take 6 breaths, allowing this quality of wholeness to blossom from within and permeate your entire being as you chant Om Purnatvam Devaya Namaha.


  1. Naturalness – sahaja.

Within the realm of prakriti, it is common to sense that we are not completely comfortabel or that we cannot truly be ourselves or even that we are living a life planned for us that is not truly our own. As we align with our inner being, we experience a naturalness, sahaja, in living as if we are always in the right place, at the right time and can be completely relaxed and natural just as we are.

To experience this quality, place your hands in Ushas mudra and take 6 breaths, allowing this quality of naturalness to blossom from within and permeate your entire being as you chant, Om Anuthana Devaya Namaha.


  1. intrinsic joy – mudita


Within the realm of prakriti, satisfaction and happiness are largely dependent on our surroundings. As we unite more completely with our inner Being, we discover an inner spring of joy and peace that wells up from within us and overflows into our surroundings. This inner spring provides joy and satisfaction ongoingly and is especially important when we face obstacles and challenges, allowing us in meeting them more objectively and with a knowing that our inner peace prevails no matter what is happening in our surroundings. This inner joy is also important inradiating the energy of cheerfulness and good humor that are reflections of inner Being into our surroundings to support others on the journey of awakening.


To experience this quality, place your hands in Hansi mudra and take 6 breaths, allowing this quality of intrinsic joy to blossom from within and permeate your entire being as you chant, Om Mudita Devaya Namaha


  1. Lightness – laghiman

 At the level of the conditioned personality, tension and resistance are often the result of the constant tug of war between our perceived needs and our perceived capabilities and possibilities. This often results in stress and an inner and outer atmosphere of density and heaviness. Under the effects of stress, there is a tendency to identify with the limited personality and take things, even little things, seriously and personally, resulting in even more heaviness, stress, and subsequent suffering. This heaviness and stress are an important factor in the development of body-mind disease. As we align with our inner Being, we a take wider view of interactions and situations in our surroundings, recognizing that they exist to guide us along our journey by showing us the core beliefs that are the cause of suffering. Within this wider perspective, we release the stress and heaviness that are the cause of dis-ease allowing us to live with lightness and ease and a sense of playfulness even when situations are challenging.

To experience this quality, place your hands in Hastaphula mudra and take 6 breaths, allowing this quality of lightness and ease to blossom from within and permeate your entire being as you chant, Om Laghiman Devaya Namaha


  1. Equanimity – samatva

At the level of the conditioned personality, life can often seem like a roller coaster where we are either going up or coming down with only brief moments of balance in between. As we align with our inner Being, we discover a place of deep inner peace and equanimity like being in the depths of the sea where the storms that rage on the surface are barely felt and no linger have the power to throw us off our center. With greater centering and equanimity, any unforeseen challenge that arises is seen as an opportunity to recognize and dissolve any limiting core beliefs that keep us bound to the limited personality. And, even when we lose our balance, we recover more quickly.

To experience this quality, place your hands in Dhyana mudra and take 6 breaths, allowing this quality of equanimity to blossom from within and permeate your entire being as you chant, Om Samatva Devaya Namaha.


  1. Life purpose – Svadharma

At the level of the conditioned personality, confusion as to our life purpose and meaning is much more common than certainty. As we unite with our inner Being, we gain a knowing of who we are beyond all theory and questioning, and also recognize this knowing as our life purpose and meaning. With this sense of meaning, we are guided to unfold our unique talents and possibilities which, in one form or another, serve the entire journey of huamnity toward its destiny in the form of Self-knowledge and spiritual awakening.

To experience this quality, place your hands in Kubera mudra and take 6 breaths, allowing this quality of knowing your life purpose and meaning to blossom from within and permeate your entire being as you chant, Om Svadharma Devaya Namaha.


  1. Compassion – Karuna

Within the realm of prakriti, we tend to frame all experiences and interactions within the lens of our own limited conditioning. As we align with our inner Being, we cultivate compassion which is the ability to see situations through the eyes of others; to see life as other see it. With this vision we see others suffering and understand intuitively the conditioning that brought this suffering into being. We also see that the core intention of others, even when their level of consciousness is limited, is not to create harm or negativity but only to find happiness and avoid suffering within the limits of their understanding. We also understand that when others act negatively, it is not directed toward us personally, but only reflections of their own limitations and misperceived needs and priorities that get projected onto anyone that happens to be in their way. We can also recognize that these people’s suffering is real and that we too have suffered in this way in the past and acted unconsciously. We also see that other people’s beliefs, just like our own, are not fixed, for each individual always has the capacity to transform themselves and live more consciously. Finally, we recognize that the best way to support other in changing their attitudes and tendencies is not through criticism or advice, but through our own example of living in peace and equanimity.

To experience this quality, place your hands in Karuna mudra and take 6 breaths, allowing this quality of compassion to blossom from within and permeate your entire being as you chant Om Karuna Devaya Namaha.


9.Discernment – Viveka

At the level of the limited personality, there is a tendency to identify with our conditioned ways of seeing and being, even when we know that they don’t offer the possibilty of freedom, happiness and peace, but instead tend to perpetuate patterns of limitation and suffering. As our recognition of our inner Being as our true identity becomes more complete, we are able to discern clearly between the klishta vrittis, the thoughts, feelings and beliefs that cause suffering, and the aklishta vrittis, the movements within consciousness that lead to fredom and awakening. Limiting vriitis that lead to suffering will not dissolve quickly because of the depth of our conditioning, but, through discernment, we develop the ability to witness them without reacting unconsciously. Witnessing gradualy reduces the power of these pain producing vrittis, allowing us to live with greater freedom and autonomy.

To experience this quality, place your hands in Citta mudra and take 6 breaths, allowing this quality of compassion to blossom from within and permeate your entire being as you chant Om Viveka Devaya Namaha.


  1. Surrender to the Lord – Ishvara Pranidhana

Within the realm of prakriti, we tend to rely on our skills and abilities at the level of the personality to find, happiness, success and meaning. Since prakriti is goverend by the three gunas and therfore in a characterized by mutability and uncertainty, the reults are always mixed and often lead to suffering when our plans and expectaions do not materialize as expected. As we align with our inner Being, we recognize it as a reflection of the intelligence at the heart of all things, Ishvara, the Source Energy. By aligning with the Source, we transcend the the ups and downs within the realm of the gunas and recognize that the happines, success and peace we seek are the very nature of our own Being as reflections of the infinite nature of the Source Energy. Through this alignment with Source, we enter into a state of Divine grace, which both guides and protects us along our journey. Within the light of grace, we find a synchrony with universal rhythms and become co-creators within our surrounding to support the greater destiny of humanity as spiritual awakening into being. We also use our challenges and difficulties as ways of seeing where we are still clingin onto the limited personality so that we can surrender ever more deeply.

To experience this quality, place your hands in Pushpanjali mudra and take 6 breaths, allowing this quality of surrender to blossom from within and permeate your entire being as you chant Om Ishvara Pranidhana Devaya Namaha.


  1. Inner Silence – Antar Mauna

At the level of the conditioned personality, the level of contentment and peace we encounter is usually dependent on circumstances in our surroundings. In terms of inner silence, most struggle in meditation for a considerable length of time to find moments of silence. Through ever deepening surrender and grace, we naturally begin to experience inner silence and inner peace through aligning with our inner being which is simultaneously union with the Source Energy. This silence and peace is beyond the mind and the realm of prakriti and therefore more immune to the ups and downs in our surroundings.

To experience this quality, place your hands in Kurma mudra and take 6 breaths, allowing this quality of Inner Silence to blossom from within and permeate your entire being as you chant Om Antar Mauna Devaya Namaha.


  1. Omniscience – Sarvavidya

Within the realm of prakriti, we tend to learn compartamentally, mastering pieces of information on specific themes.  Even when we become Phd.s, our knowledge in any area is is limited. In terms of the larger picture of existence, the more science discovers, the more question arise and the scope of our understanding is dwarfed by the infinity of creation. For example, the more physicas adavances, the more the definition of material creation resembles that which Yoga has ascertained intuitively, and endless field of energy whose manifestaion as materiality is almost nothing! As we align with our inner Being as a reflection and extension of the Source energy, we cultivate a differeny type of knowlegd in the form of an intuitive knowing of the essence of all things, of the laws that govern creation itself and of the Source that underlies these. This knowing provides alsolut sertaint about whowe are, the nature of created things and our life purpose and destiny in the form of spiritual awakening.

To experience this quality, place your hands in Bhairava mudra and take 6 breaths, allowing this quality of omniscience to blossom from within and permeate your entire being as you chant Om Sarvavidya Devaya Namaha.


  1. Limitlessness – Ananta

At the level of the conditioned personality, limitation is an ever-present reality. We almost never achieve our wants and needs completely. And, by our very human nature, as soon as we do attain something, there is a tendency to want more or better or different. Moreover, even when we have all we need at a practical level, there are inner patterns of defectiveness and deficiency that continue to create a sense of limitation and subsequent suffering. As we align with our inner Being, we recognize that the true nature of both the creator and the creation is limitlessness. This even applies to our understanding of the universe where science often seeks to find frontiers and boundaries but where the reality just keeps expanding. As we become one with the limitless creative, we experience it as the nature of our own Being in samadhi. We also gradually integrate it into daily living where we come to understand that our capacity for living fully and joyfully is also limitless. Simultaneously, even at the level of material manifestation, we come to see that our ability to unfold our unique talents and possibilities for the good of all beings is also limitless.

To experience this quality, place your hands in Ananta mudra and take 6 breaths, allowing this quality of limitlessness to blossom from within and permeate your entire being as you chant Om Ananta Devaya Namaha.


  1. Self-mastery – Vashitvam

At the level of the conditioned personality, there is a strong tendency to identify with and be subject to a wide range of emotions, drives and instincts related to likes, dislikes, and perceived needs. Emotional patterns such as a sense of loss, shame, neediness, or grief can encompass and characterize our entire personality. As we align with our inner Being, we recognize that these tendencies exist only in our mind and in patterns of conditioned beliefs that have no basis in reality. We therefore cultivate the ability to witness these patterns of negativity, no matter how powerful they may seem, without identifying with them as “me.” Through this commitment to no identify with patterns that ultimately cause suffering, we gradually develop autonomy, the freedom to choose our thoughts, emotions and beliefs beyond the realm of our conditioning which is the essence of self-mastery.

To experience this quality, place your hands in Kaleshvara mudra and take 6 breaths, allowing this quality of limitlessness to blossom from within and permeate your entire being as you chant Om Vashitvam Devaya Namaha.


  1. Unconditional Love – Prema

At the level of the conditioned personality, love is usually dependent on our surroundings and in reciprocity. When we receive affection, nurturance and caring, it is easy to respond in ways that are loving. When this caring is not present, we rend to react, and the source of love can quickly transform into a source of hurt and pain. As we align with our inner Being, we recognize it as our very nature in the form of caring and positivity. Love is the very essence of creation when we release all the conditioning that keeps us searching for satisfaction and happiness in our surroundings. At a practical level, this wider experience of love permeates our relationships so that we are able to see everyone wants the love and happiness that is a reflection of their true Being, who they are in reality. In the end, love is simply a home coming. Through this recognition, we can avoid the neediness and codependency that keeps us from loving unconditionally.

To experience this quality, place your hands in Padma mudra and take 6 breaths, allowing this quality of unconditional love to blossom from within and permeate your entire being as you chant Om Prema Devaya Namaha.

  1. Spiritual Freedom – Moksha

Through the cultivation and unfolding of all the other qualities, we naturally experience freedom as our very nature; a sense that we are no longer bound either to our own conditioning or to situations in our surroundings. We are also free from fear of deathj as we recognize that our inner being, as one with the total, has always been and will always be. In complete freedom and imortality, we also recognize ourselves as one with the intelligence at the heart of all things, Ishvara, the Source Energy. Challenges may continue to arise, but we deal with them objectively without the need to take anything personally. Within this lived experience of freedom, which we recognize as our life purpose and meaning, our energy is freed from patterns of resistance and anxiety, allowing us to support all beings on the journey of awakening.

To experience this quality, place your hands in Jnana mudra and take 6 breaths, allowing this quality of spiritual freedom to blossom from within and permeate your entire being as you chant Om Moksha Devaya Namaha.

Por Joseh Le Page

Foto capa: Laion Cantarelli