"Yoga is the stilling of the modifications of the mind."

-From the Yoga Sutras of Patanjani 1.2 and 1.3

Tranquility Yoga

235 Littleton Road, Unit 1
Westford, MA 01886


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One of my New Year's Resolutions this year was to blog more regularly. So far, I have written one blog this year, and then... nothing. This morning, as I was meditating, my busy mind kept telling me that I needed to blog. At the same time, I thought  "I have nothing to write about." The truth is, I have a lot to write about (we all do) but we just don't take the time to cultivate it. So, how do you cultivate that? How do you discover the things in life that you are truly passionate about?

Meditation is one way to help you connect with those things that are really important in your life. By just sitting with yourself for a while each day, you begin to uncover layers that you never knew were there. You may not feel like anything is happening in the moment while you are meditating, but over time, if you sit with your Self things will begin to unfold in ways that you cannot even imagine. When you allow space for things to show up, life can change dramatically.

As I sat in meditation this morning, I realized that if I'm going to blog, I need to find topics that I care about. Why would I want to write about something that I couldn't care less about? I actually came up with a short list, and then found that my mind wanted to censor it! My mind would say things like "Oh... you don't really care about that!" or "you can't change that, so why care?" It's so interesting to watch how the mind works! At any rate, here is my list:

What I care about
My family
My business
My dog
Yoga philosophy
The environment

I'm sure there are many other topics that I care about, but this seems like a good starting point. For the next few weeks, my intention is to take a stab at blogging about each of these topics. Given the way my mind reacted this morning, I think I will have plenty to say about each of these!


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As a business owner, I certainly appreciate the way that emails and social media allow me to communicate with a broad audience. Unfortunately, too many businesses these days are misusing these tools and causing people to respond less and less.

If you are like me, you are probably getting about 30 – 40 emails each day, many of which are spam. However, there are some that are useful and worth reading. How do you separate the good from the bad? How do you decide which emails to spend your time reading, and which to just delete without a second thought?

Generally, I send out one email/week from Tranquility Yoga, and put in highlights that I think students should know about. I want to take this opportunity to give a huge "thank you" to those of you who have remained on my email list, and promise to do my best to make each email that I send out worth reading.

If you have any suggestions on ways to improve my weekly emails, please let me know!

I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year, and hope to see many of you in the coming weeks. In the meantime - "Do more Yoga... Knot Less"


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From Supervisor to (I hope trusted) Advisor

For the past 21 years, I have been in a long-term job with the title "Mom". Although the job description has changed over the years in many ways, that job has remained constant. Now, however, that job description has been completely rewritten. I have gone from being the decision-maker to being a consultant at best, and I no longer have the day to day responsibilities that I used to have. And without those responsibilities, how do I define myself? I am still a mom, yet what does that mean? What's my role? What is my identity now? And just when I think that I have no more "Mom" responsibilities, I will get a message from one of my kids saying that they need help in one way or another. I am pulled back in briefly, only to be pushed away again as soon as they figure things out for themselves.I have been grappling with these questions for the past several months, and have felt like I am on very shaky ground.

Luckily, I have a business to run, and it is one which has provided me with another identity over the years as a Yoga teacher. This past weekend, I attended a weekend Svaroopa® Yoga workshop led by a colleague of mine, Addie Alex, in Holliston Mass. The workshop was called "Find the Unshakeable You" and as soon as I saw the title, I knew that I needed to be there. For me, the weekend clarified a lot of what I already knew as a Yoga teacher, but had been having trouble integrating into my life. What I realized was that my different jobs (being a Mom, or being a Yoga teacher), do not define me. The jobs are identities that may come and go, but underneath that is an unshakeable core that never really changes. During the weekend, I connected with that core in a very powerful way, and it has shifted how I view my life now. I am so grateful for my Yoga practice, which has enabled me to know that my true Self never changes, even though my job description has undergone a massive overhaul.

Students come to Yoga classes for a variety of reasons – usually because they have physical aches and pains, or they are feeling stressed and think Yoga will help them relax. Yoga does help with this, but what students often discover is that practicing Yoga brings them so much more. It is that connection with their true identity that keeps people coming back again and again. That is where the true power of Yoga lies.

And just when I think that I have no more "Mom" responsibilities, I will get a message from one of my kids saying that they need help in one way or another. I am pulled back in briefly, only to be pushed away again as soon as they figure things out for themselves.
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This is a great question that many of our students ask. Here is our answer from the perspective as Svaroopa® Yoga teachers.

Yoga was developed in India as a way to quiet the mind and prepare for meditation, with the ultimate goal of achieving enlightenment. On this path, yogis have experienced various other benefits, such as pain relief, becoming more flexible, coping with stress better, and improving quality of sleep. But the main goal has been to achieve enlightenment or Self-realization.

There are many styles (or "paths") of yoga, originating from various gurus, all with this same goal. The gurus taught their "disciples," who then passed the teachings down to their own students from generation to generation. Many paths of yoga, especially in the West, involve doing physical poses to condition the body into a stable, open state that quiets the mind. When the mind is quiet, the Self can then be realized (revealed). Some paths of yoga do not involve the physical poses at all. In this article, the yogic paths we address are those working with the body through physical poses. Some of these paths of yoga are gentle and meditative, while others are more athletic and push the body to its limits.

Swami Nirmalanda, formerly Rama Berch, developed Svaroopa® Yoga after living in an ashram in India for fifteen years, studying under her guru, Swami Muktananda. Though she had practiced and taught other yoga styles previously, none resonated with her. Through her experiences at the ashram, she achieved a profound understanding of the body, and consequently, with the approval of her guru, she introduced Svaroopa® Yoga to students worldwide.

The Svaroopa® Yoga approach releases tension in the deep spinal muscles systematically, from the tailbone up through the entire spine. Poses are sequenced in a specific way, practiced in precise alignments, often using props to support and meet each student's individual needs. Spinal release is the main physical goal. As far as we know, there are no other yoga styles that have so much focus on releasing spinal tension in this manner.

Most other styles will tighten the very same muscles that Svaroopa® Yoga aims to release. As various traditions have moved from India to the United States, some have become even more physically demanding. Many strive for the picture-perfect pose, even if it means forcing and, consequently, overstretching and possibly injuring ligaments and muscles.

Because of this difference in approach, when you combine other yoga styles with Svaroopa® Yoga, you are inhibiting the potential benefits of your Svaroopa® practice. You are also giving your body contradicting messages: tightening versus releasing. Basically, from the Svaroopa® Yoga perspective, you are taking two steps forward and one step back and maybe more. In sum, as Svaroopa® Yoga teachers, we hold ourselves responsible for ensuring that you are given the best opportunity to learn and enjoy all that Svaroopa® Yoga promises. By combining other styles with Svaroopa® Yoga, you are likely to miss that opportunity.

For of these reasons, we invite you to immerse yourself exclusively in the practice of Svaroopa® Yoga for several months and observe how your body and mind respond. In this way, you will know if this style speaks to you. And you may discover even more than you had ever imagined – your Self, your own inherent divinity – which is the meaning of the Sanskrit word "Svaroopa".

Jane Hallowell, Becky Bronson and Phil Milgrom
Certified Svaroopa® Yoga Instructors
October, 2013

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