- Books, Literature, and Writing
Inspirational Yoga Themes and Quotes
The Heart Of Yoga
This page is designed for yoga instructors and yoga enthusiasts looking for inspirational quotes, themes or intentions to design a yoga class around or to set a yoga practice by.
These quotes and sayings are at the heart of yoga. One line or even just one word can awaken insights in oneself and deepen a yoga practice, transforming it into a living, flowing consciousness
Enjoy this page by savoring one phrase at a time, over a period of days, years or even a lifetime. Go deeply, making each thought or idea your very own and over time you will see a transformation of your yoga practice and the yoga classes you teach.
Don't forget to breathe
Prana or breath, is truly one of yogas greatest gifts, as focus on the breath brings a focus to the present moment and leads to a state of inner peace. Ancient yogis, with a deep understanding of the essence of prana, studied it and devised many methods and practices to master it. According to Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, pranayama enables the mind to acquire the capacity to concentrate on any given object of attention.
Yoga teachers know that the practices of pranayama helps to manipulate our energies and re-educate the mind and body in the breathing process. When done correctly, pranayama can help release tensions and develop a relaxed state of mind. It also increases the amount of oxygen to the brain improving mental clarity, alertness and physical well being. In addition, it brings balance to the nervous system and encourages creative thinking.
There are numerous specific pranayama techniques and methods that can be used in a yoga class. In addition, there are many simple quotes, sutras, thoughts and inspirations that focus on the breath that can be used either in conjunction with a specific pranayama technique or simply as a stand alone intention or inspriation for a yoga class or personal practice. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
In any quiet moment when you are breathing,
The breath may flow out and pause of itself,
Or flow in and pause of itself.
Here experience opens into exquisite vastness
With no beginning and no end.
Embrace this infinity without reservation.
Dive into it,drink deeply, and emerge renewed.
Pour one breath into the other,
Out-breath into the in-breath
Into the out-breath
Be there, in the harmony of that fusion
Where one rhythm turns into the other,
Awaken into equilibrium.
Tending to breath in this way,
Of experiencing oneness with the Self.
Breath flows in filling, filling,
Then surrenders to flow out again.
Breath flows out, emptying, emptying
Offering itself to infinity.
Mind dissolves into heart
Heart dissolves into space
Body becomes a shimmering field
Pulsating between fullness and emptiness.
The above inspirations are sutras from The Radiance Sutras, Tantra Yoga Teachings For Opening To The Divine In Everyday Life.
Let the breath be a bridge between body and spirit, a doorway to the present.
As you inhale, visualize receiving the elements of your life - experiences, people who have touched you, things you are capable of - with gratitude.
Pause after each reflection and take a moment to integrate and fully appreciate feeling fulfilled by these gifts.
As you exhale, imagine sharing that sense of fulfillment with others.
Pause again and imagine those others receiving your offering with a similar sense of gratitude.
Turn down the volume of the chatter in your mind
Turn up the voice of your own song
In yoga it's not about getting somewhere or something or stacking up. It's more about releasing and emptying. As you practice, make space and sit with whatever is. Advancing in yoga is understanding the various layers of yourself and each pose. It's not about pushing through.
Yoga embodies the dual qualities of effort and awareness (ease) no matter how difficult a pose may be. if there isn't even a little bit of a cultivation of ease, back off and become aware, don't let ego get in the way. Trace a sense of emotional relaxation into each pose, no matter how hard, practice releasing tension rather than pushing and treat each class, each pose, with constant curiosity.
Svasana, or corpse pose, is often the final pose in a typical yoga class, no matter what style of yoga you practice. Often it is called the most difficult asana or pose as it involves finding a stillness and quiet to the mind and body.
In Svasana, the interconnectedness of all the body systems can be felt as a deepening stillness arises within. The thoughts, emotions and body sensations megre into the experience of oneness with all that supports and surrounds.
As I complete a yoga class and bring my students in to Svasana, I will often say a few words to guide my students prior to allowing for complete silence and stillness. Here are three of my favorite inspirations, all from spiritual master Eckhart Tolle:
Be quietly alert,very present right now
Step back with your awareness and feel yourself in your body
Now feel the space in your joints
in your knees, in your hips, your low back, your shoulder joints, elbows, hands
Open yourself up to everything you sense and feel within and around you.
Feel yourself as energy and consciousness, feel the energy that is your true nature.
Listen now to the silence around you
That means just notice it
Pay attention to it
Listening to silence awakens the dinension of stillness within yourself, because it is only through stillness that you can be aware of silence.
See that in the moment of noticing the silence around you, you are not thinking.
You are aware, but not thinking.
Feel the energy of your inner body.
Immediately mental noise slows down or ceases.
Feel it in your hands,your feet, your abdomen, your chest.
Feel the life that you are, the life that animates the body.
Allow the body to become a doorway so to speak, into a deeper sense of aliveness underneath the fluctuating emotions and underneath your thinking.
Eckhart Tolle is a modern spiritual master who has written many inspirational and thought provoking books. This book, A New Earth, (one of my favorite books of all time) points the way to a greater understanding of our lives, our time on Earth, and what we can do on a day by day basis to create peace, balance and understanding. His thoughts and inspirations can certainly be used as themes and intentions in a yoga class.
Embrace each of your senses in turn;
Seeing as being touched by light.
Hearing as immersion in an ocean of sound.
Tasting as enlightening.Smelling as knowing.
Touching as electrifying.
Then leave all these behind,
Enter the spaciousness of the heart,
Intimate with the unknowable.
The above inspiration is a sutra from The Radiance Sutras, Tantra Yoga Teachings For Opening To The Divine In Everyday Life.
Waves rise from water
Flames arise from fire
Rays emanate from the sun
So it is that you and I shine forth
Gaze out at space,
Aware of multicolored luminosity
The blue sky, filled with rays from the Sun.
The night sky, dark, and yet crisscrossed by
The light of a billion suns.
How can that be?
Al space is the same,
Inside you and far away.
Lose yourself in it,
And find your SelfThe above inspiration is a sutra from The Radiance Sutras, Tantra Yoga Teachings For Opening To The Divine In Everyday Life.
Yoga practice is like life
Each circumstance in which we find ourselves is like a pose.
Some poses are hard to hold, others are pleasant.
It is how we hold the pose that determines whether or not we will suffer or grow
And whether or not we will listen to the drama of the ego or the wisdom of the spirit.
All action begins at the level of the mind.
It is the mind that tells the arms to strike or embrace, and it is the mind that tells the legs to run in fear or to dance with joy.
The good news is that we can change our minds at any point.
We can explore areas where we are stuck and then learn a new way of thinking that will free us to experience our divine nature more fully
The above inspiration is from Darren Main and the book Yoga and the Path of The Urban Mystic
Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic brings classical teachings alive and helps us move our rewarding experience of yoga beyond the mat and meditation cushion and into the whole of life.
For modern yogis feeling challenged in our efforts to remain deeply spiritual, contemplative, and centered amid the stresses and complications of urban life, this book serves as both inspiration and guide.
another must have for yoga practitioners and yoga instructors alike.
A book with a thought provoking daily reflection on yoga for each day of the year. The meditations are instructive and encouraging, candid and engaging and show how yoga works as a tool for transformation. This book is another must for yoga instructors and practitioners alike.
Be true to life by being true to this moment
Receive inspiration for your yoga classes from these other great texts:
Entertaining, thoughtful and inspirational, this film, based on Dan Millman's book `Way of the Peaceful Warrior' is a wonderful experience and will truly inspire you.