Sarah says she’s been hearing a whole lotta, “Atma-what?!” lately, and suggested that I might take a few minutes to clarify what Atma-Jayam is all about. So, here I go.
My name is Megan Hall, and the style of Yoga that I love, that I most often practice, and that I teach, is called Atma-Jayam or Self-Victory, which is a just the condensed way to say, do as much or as little as you feel able, and feel great about it. Victorious even.
Which is really pretty standard for any style of Yoga, right? Right. But it can be a little intimidating to walk into your first Yoga class, and sometimes that fear might cause you to take poses further than you should, faster than you should, even when the teacher is encouraging you to go at your own pace and listen to your body, I speak from experience. Nobody wants to look like the only beginner in class. I believe that Atma-Jayam’s main goal is the elimination of that fear.
I first discovered Atma-Jayam while attending Columbia College in early 2000 as a night student in the Education program. This groovy old dude, DH, started offering a class. I had used tapes and books to try Yoga before, but I had never been to a class. Always wanted to though! I went to the very first class he offered, and it was an hour of pure and simple bliss. When it was over I marveled at the fact that for an entire hour, I had thought of nothing more than my inhale, my exhale, my arms, my legs, my lungs, and my spine, and everything else had just floated away with my breath. After that, I was hooked, I went twice a week every week for three years, and when I couldn’t go to class and share that restorative energy with others, I practiced at home on my own.
Atma-Jayam is unique in its simplicity. In an hour together, we will slowly and gently open and stretch every part of our bodies so that we increase the circulation to every part of our bodies. We will breathe as slowly and deeply as we are able so that we increase the level of oxygen in our blood.
Atma-Jayam utilizes only the simplest and most beneficial asanas, and I can always give you either a modified pose or an alternate pose if something isn’t working for you. I can even modify any of the standing postures I use, with the exception of the balance, to be done seated on a chair or a bench.
We practice nearly the same set of poses every time we are together (I tend to vary a few of the asanas here and there, so that you have choices and can make your practice your own). By practicing the same set of postures we simplify the process for our body and mind, the things we want to happen, the benefits we wish to receive, become more efficient through repetition. The mix of postures becomes a recipe for your health and you can take it with you wherever you go.
We move slowly into and out of each pose. We hold each pose for several breaths to allow the mind and the body to do their work. And we take a teensy little break in between each pose. Comfort is always our first priority, and really the only hard and fast rule of AJ.
Now, I’m not a real talky-talk Yoga instructor. Don’t get me wrong, I will tell you all I can about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, and I totally love being in a class where the teacher is telling me all about my chakras and my third eye, but that’s not me, at least not yet. Some of the metaphysical aspects of Yoga are just branches of the tree that I have yet to explore. I’m still a baby Yogi; so to speak, I’ve only been at this for about 11 years. But I’m growing in the sun now, baby!
I’m really excited about starting my class at Yoga Sol and to be surrounded by such an awe-inspiring group of Yoginis. I feel like smearing on a little SPF 30 and soaking it all in! I hope you will give Atma-Jayam a try, I think you’ll love it.
So if you have ever attended or observed a Yoga class or tried a DVD with Rodney Yi and thought, “Nope, not for me.” If you have no intention of ever standing on your head or balancing on your arms, or if you totally intend to stand on your head and balance on your arms some day, but need a super easy place to start. Or if you don’t know where you want to go with Yoga, but need a safe place to start. If you have lost some flexibility, or never had it in the first place. If you ever hurt yourself practicing Yoga and need to learn how to slow down or get back to basics. If you are scared to death to try a Yoga class, but people keep telling you that you need it. If you think you are too old or out of shape to practice Yoga. If you have chronic pain of any kind and would like even a little relief from it. If you are stressed beyond belief and just need a place to relax and let go before you have a stroke. If you are recovering from illness or injury, suffering from arthritis, living with depression, high blood pressure, or any other thing that slows you down, you should give Atma-Jayam a try.
I’ll be down at Yoga Sol on Fridays from 2-3 pm. I hope you’ll be there with me. Namaste.
Check out Megan’s class at Yoga Sol, 210 St James Street in the North Arts District of Columbia, MO. You’ll be happy happy happy that you did! ~Sarah