Yoshin asked that our Sangha talk about the tanden and hara in zazen. Tanden, the area around the diaphragm, is seen as the seat of the “energy,” or life force in Zazen, and as such, was taken from the practice of yoga in the time of Shakyamuni Buddha around 500 BCE.
Now, it just so happens, I know a yoga teacher who I asked to talk with us about why she took-up yoga and provide her thoughts on breath and its relationship to meditation. I am pleased she agreed to talk with us this Tuesday, November 30, 2021:
Alix Joslyn, M.S., RYT-500
I am a grants consultant, musician, poet, yoga teacher and yoga therapist-in-training living and working in Berkeley, California. In 2006, after years of formal dance training, I took my first yoga class in my hometown of Atlanta in the tradition of B.K.S. Iyengar. I was mesmerized by the teachings from day one, and started practicing regularly, floating between Bikram, Iyengar, Ashtanga, and Vinyasa Flow yoga classes. In 2013, I moved to Portland, Maine and completed a 200-hour Vinyasa yoga teacher training under the guidance of Leslee Clark, and in 2016, became 500-hour certified after an additional 300-hour Vinyasa yoga training with my teacher and mentor Johanna Bell.
The years directly following my 300-hour training were rich and important for my teaching and practice. I honed my style and shared yoga with hundreds of students across southern Maine in weekly classes and workshops. My classes built on physical kramas (levels) while awakening the subtle body energies through sound currents, poetry, deity invocations, pranayama including kriyas, mudras and moving metaphors. This type of teaching opened my eyes to the power of sequencing yoga techniques for full-spectrum classes that are accessible, safe and transformative for all who participate.
Today, I am on the path to becoming a yoga therapist (C-IAYT). The 3.5-year program, designed for yoga teachers who want to deepen their work and practice, is led by world-renowned yoga philosopher and yoga therapist Chase Bossart of the Yoga Well Institute in Berkeley. He teaches in the Viniyoga tradition of T. Krishnamacharya and his son T.K.V. Desikachar, whom Chase studied with for decades. This tradition adapts yoga practice to the unique conditions, needs, and interests of each individual. I know firsthand the power of yoga for my own health and wellbeing, and I am excited to apply the applications of yoga to support my clients in the recovery of their physical, mental and emotional health.