By Chandra/Jo Sgammato
Are you a New Yorker or even a yoga practitioner with that question? When you pass the Integral Yoga Institute, which has been at 227 West 13th Street for almost 50 years, do you ever wonder?
What exactly IS Integral Yoga?
Integral Yoga is a complete system to transform your life. Yes, there is physical practice, but it is much more. It is a holistic, integrated approach to self-mastery and inner peace that is accessible to every body and everybody.
Everyone wants to feel healthy and peaceful and connected to other people. When the muscles ache and the joints are stiff, when there is digestive distress, pain or chronic illness, the body feels uncomfortable and the mind is disturbed. When the mind feels anxious, worried, or fearful, it is difficult to feel peaceful and content. And feeling isolated and alone can literally lead to illness and depression.
The Integral Yoga system begins with the body. In the class, suitable for all ages and levels of fitness, a specific selection and sequence of Yoga poses stretch the body, tone the muscles, and loosen the joints, while breathing practices direct oxygen to the organs and systems inside. Guided deep relaxation connects you to the peace inside you (and that of everyone else). Meditation relaxes and settles the mind. Practiced regularly, the Integral Yoga class is a natural prescription for health, well-being, and serenity. But that’s just the beginning. Integral Yoga helps you “go deeper” by giving equal importance to the more subtle and powerful aspects of the great science of Yoga.
Yoga philosophy explains how the mind and the human experience work so that you can know yourself, practice ethical principles toward yourself and others, and transform the negative into positive. Exploring Yoga philosophy, through discussion and workshops, encourages you to accept yourself and to view others as partners rather than adversaries on the path of life. A regular meditation practice reveals the turbulence and many moods generated by the mind so that you become an observer rather than a prisoner of your thoughts, leading to skills that restore balance to the mind and help you put worry and anxiety aside.
Joining together with others in Integral Yoga creates community, a feeling of connectedness to those similar to and different from yourself. You receive the gift of discovering that despite differences of background, culture, race or gender, in our deepest selves we are connected and united in seeking the peace and health that are birthrights of us all.
So that is why we say Integral Yoga is the complete system to transform your life. Why not give it a try?
Chandra/Jo Sgammato is the Executive Director of Integral Yoga Institute of New York. She has been a certified IY instructor for 21 years and is the founder of Yoga At School™, which brings Integral Yoga into New York City schools.