The Seven Core Principles

YogaSense(TM) is a system for improving your health and well being using yoga teaching blended with western medical science. Developed by Theodora Barenholtz PT and Jacqueline Koay there are 7 core YogaSense principles. 

  Core Principle One: Respect your body

Yogasana when done according to the core YogaSense™ principles will nurture the body. To achieve YogaSense™’s first principle – Respect the body – requires awareness of the body types, limitations and tendencies. Acknowledgement of past injuries and an appreciation for vulnerable areas of the body will help the practitioner to “do no harm”.

Core Principle Two: Start the Fire

The fire has to be started from within. The fire cannot be started from the outside: no teacher can take you to enlightenment. The fire cannot be started from the head: you cannot ‘think’ your way through yoga (that is to say, you cannot achieve the end-goal by read about it). As Shri K. Pattabhi Jois so profoundly said, yoga is “1% inspiration, 99%

  Core Principle Three: Optimal alignment

Alignment is a fundamental component in nature, yet it is only human beings who are challenged by alignment. We are upright on two feet and we face a constant struggle to maintain our relationship with gravity. As Vanda Scaravelli memorably said, “Don’t let gravity kill a posture”. Alignment allows for grace and ease of movement. When alignment is at its optimal, energy will flow effortlessly. Thus, a practitioner must not lose sight of the alignment (or lines of his body) in yogasana: alignment should be his premier consideration, not how far he can go in a posture. It introduces mindfulness to the practice.

         Core Principle Four: Balancing opposing forces

Every muscle has an origin and an insertion, and the pull is between the two: one stabilizes while the other either lengthens or shortens. The underlying principle is that tension is being created between the two points. Balancing opposing forces is about grounding and lifting; it is the movement in two opposite directions.

  Core Principle Five: Opening like a flower

One of the most common features demonstrated by practitioners, especially new ones, is the collapsing of the chest in forward bends. Due to stiffness in the lower back and tightness in the hamstrings, there is a tendency to compensate for the lack of bending from the hips, resulting in the rounding of the thoracic spine during the effort to go down further. Breathe in consciously and deeply to open the chest and to fire the flame of life. Let go and allow for opening the way a flower opens to the sun.

  Core Principle Six: Nurturing

The body has an inbuilt ability to heal and grow, thus all physical yoga practice should lead to the nurturing of the body, mind and soul. If it is not, you have to reassess what you are doing, because this is (or should be) the ultimate aim of a physical yogasana practice. Yoga allows for self-awareness, namely understanding your strengths and weaknesses whether in your mind and body. Your practice thus should be adjusted to rebalance you.

  Core Principle Seven: Live it!

The highest purpose of yoga is samadhi. But yoga also has a more practical purpose, and that purpose is for us to learn to be happier with ourselves and to be able to share that with our family and others. It is about taking the lessons we learn on the yoga mat and extending those to our daily lives. ‘Do no damage’, awareness, mindfulness and peace are amongst the yogasana philosophies that are scalable to ‘real life’, and this is the real gem of yoga. According to the words of Yogi Bhajan, Master of Kundalini Yoga, “Happiness is your birthright”.

To Learn more check out our book 

by Jacqueline Koay and Theodora Barenholtz, published by SUNYOGA September 2009
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