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The Trinity of Yoga: Devi Yoga Center

By Marina I. Jokic

Yoga enthusiasts flock to the Devi Yoga Center in Sebastopol, California to partake in the cutting edge TriYoga method, a new approach to the discipline. In the TriYoga flows, breath and focus are united with flowing and sustained postures in systematized sequences. The center also offers workshops and teacher trainings in TriYoga as well as other styles of yoga, Pilates, and aerial arts.

Pivoting on meditation as a way to center the yogic practice, TriYoga has established a fully systematized hatha yoga method with basic to advanced flows and breathing exercises. The lineage of this method goes back to the teachings of the swamini Kali Ray who recently was named Vishwa Bandhu, friend of the universe, by the guru Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji.

The current owner of Devi Yoga Center, Kashi Ananda, is a devotee of Ray for over 25 years and wanted to continue the important work of her mentor. For Ananda, the TriYoga practice was wholly transformational both spiritually and physically, and she intends to impart that knowledge to as many of her students as possible.

Through the wisdom and practice of TriYoga, anyone can reach greater mental clarity and live his or her life with more intent. In a way, the new method was revolutionary despite being grounded in tradition. More specifically, it introduced practitioners to Kundalini-inspired sequenced flows of yogasanas or postures synchronized with pranayama (rhythmic breaths) and mudras (hand gestures or poses). The result was a dramatic increase in physical and mental energy.

The flows are comprised of poses that are classified into seven groups: standing, forward bends, spinal twists, backward bends, balancing, inversions, and sitting. Since the method is systematic, students can progress from basic movements to more advanced mudras, continuing to subsequent levels as they enhance their flexibility, strength, endurance, and concentration. Through sustained awareness of all aspects of the practice, the flows become second nature to the students.

"TriYoga offers something for everyone, from the beginner to the advanced as well as to those who are dealing with health challenges," Ananda said. "A typical TriYoga class [includes] breathing practices to calm the nervous system, postures to build strength and flexibility approached in a way that honors each individual, relaxation to integrate the practice into the body and mind, [and] concentration practices and meditation."

TriYoga fundamentals also include relaxation-in-action, wave-like spinal movements and economy of motion. Passing through each level, students increase their knowledge of posture and flow as well as how to meditate more effectively.

An important aspect of the center's culture is their welcoming attitude toward all practitioners. Since they are not a religious but rather spiritual community, Ananda encourages people of all beliefs and backgrounds to join her practice. The diversity of cultures and faiths makes the learning experience even fuller.

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