By Molly Barari
Most people probably already know that the practice of yoga includes physical movement. They may have heard the terms “sun salutation”—which is a sequence of flowing poses – or “savasana” (sha-vas-ah-na), where yogis lay for several minutes to rest after practice. What many don’t know is that asanas—the poses which comprise a typical yoga practice—are only one of the eight limbs of yoga. Most yoga classes include a mixture of movement and pranayama, breathing exercises that stimulate and control the flow of prana (energy) in the body. The other six limbs of yoga address concepts like morality; personal observances; controlling the senses; cultivating inner perceptual awareness; single-pointed focus; meditation; and ultimate bliss and enlightenment.
As complex as the practice of yoga is, it boils down to this simple truth: Yoga is a practice which integrates the whole being –mind, body and spirit. With every posture and every breath, yoga helps connect practitioners to their true essence. Yogis learn to be in the moment and to take the practice’s lessons far beyond the mat.
A common misconception about yoga is that only lithe dancers, conditioned athletes, and people who can bend like pretzels can enjoy the practice. “That couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Jillian Anawaty, devoted student of yoga and owner of Vibrant Life Yoga & Pilates, located at 1002 Jackson Boulevard in Rapid City. “Anyone who can breathe can do yoga. It’s available to people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. Yoga is about finding deep joy and feeling at home in our bodies. It’s about embracing life’s many facets.”
Vibrant Life’s yoga classes are designed so that both beginners and experienced students can practice, as modifications are always offered. Ultimately, students can choose how and what poses and practices they wish to engage. “Our instructors encourage students to explore their true expression and breath in any given pose,” said Anawaty.
Embracing the holistic and community aspects of yoga is important to Anawaty. She strives to make Vibrant Life a yoga studio that is open, welcoming, and nurturing—an environment where there is room for experimentation and play while engaging the depth of being. In addition to its regular schedule of yoga and Pilates classes, Vibrant Life holds many special events and workshops. Among other regular delights, you will find unique offerings like candlelight yoga, prana dance parties, singing bowl meditation, kirtan, hula-hoop fitness, couples yoga, and special beginner series which flow through the monthly schedules at Vibrant Life. The studio also hosts essential oil and Emotional Release therapy, nutrition programs and its yoga book club.
“Vibrant Life’s classes are a lot of fun,” said yoga practitioner Scott Semerad. “Jillian’s positive attitude and sense of humor are contagious. I enjoy the special classes and events the most. Jillian goes above and beyond to host unique opportunities for yogis in the Black Hills.”
One such unique aspect of Vibrant Life is that the studio sets seasonal focus themes. “Our autumn themes are inspired by this season of change, transition and letting go. Fall is a time which calls for nurturing. To honor our connectedness to natural rhythms, we’re focusing on grounding, oneness and contentment,” said Anawaty. Other themes are centered on chakras, shifting energy, opening the heart, and strengthening the core. A constant theme at Vibrant Life is to maximize the positive energy at the studio by fostering individual growth.
“The aim of yoga as I understand it is to personally connect with our highest and greatest good (always within and without) and then also to honor each individual’s path. As yoga teachers, we encourage fellow journeyers to connect with the spark that is most vital and true within them. Tapping into this current of love, bringing it into embodied experience and inevitably radiating it right back into the community. It’s a ripple effect,” she said.
Vibrant Life has six to eight regular teachers with various backgrounds and trainings, and guest teachers often drop in for special programs. The studio also offers private one-on-one sessions ranging from gentle therapeutic yoga to customized workouts. “There are so many beautiful offerings at Vibrant Life, and in the local yoga community as a whole. We invite people to try it on and see what fits,” said Anawaty.
Yoga enthusiast Kelly McCormick said, “I love how yoga alleviates my stress and produces relaxation. With the variety of practices and teachers at Vibrant Life, I have everything I need here in Rapid City.”
People who are interested in trying yoga can contact Vibrant Life at (605) 939-0299 or find out more information online at www.vibrantlifesd.com. Vibrant Life offers a variety of payment options, too, including monthly unlimited and a punchcard. For newbies, there is also a two-week trial of unlimited classes for $22. Or you may choose to drop in to a single class for $11. Namaste.
Common Yoga Terms—Defined:
OM – Om is the symbol for the sound of creation which never ceases. In its vibrations everything is contained. Om is a wonderful tool for concentration which leads to meditation. Many people of different beliefs practice the chanting of om to experience peace, tranquility, and to connect with the higher wisdom of creation.
NAMASTE – I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells. I honor the place in you where love, truth, light and peace dwell. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are one.
CHAKRA – Powerful energetic centers in the human body concentrated with the life force, prana, and keen spiritual essence.