Anahata Yoga offers a unique, powerful and graceful style of hatha yoga asana, known as the Dance of Shiva and Shakti.
This form of yoga asana is a meditative flowing vinyasa asana practice, designed to open the energy channels in the body and invite the energy of Shakti, residing in the base of the body in Muladhara Chakra, to rise through Sushumna and merge with Shiva, residing in Sahasrara Chakra in the crown of the head. We aim to rediscover the realm of pure potential of the inner self and its spiritual essence.
Peter Clifford has proven in his own personal practice that human ageing is reversible and scientific research shows that we can literally reverse the ageing markers, for example muscle strength, bone density, blood pressure and cholesterol levels etc.
People are an amazing network of cellular intelligence, energy, thought, emotions, electric currents, organ actions, hormones, nervous systems, tissues, blood and lymph flows. All these elements are interwoven, inter-reactive and capable of transformation through this yoga practice. We focus particularly on the internal aspects of yoga: organ cleansing, tissue pumps, nervous systems, circulation of lymph and blood, releasing psychic knots known as granthis from Sushumna Nadi and pranic blockages from the Nadis, and creating hydraulic and pneumatic pressures within the body to create change. All movements are undertaken with inner conscious awareness, promoting a state of integration of the mind and body.
As you practice this inner yoga style, you reconnect with your inner reservoir of energy, vitality and creativity. You will return to a younger functioning physical and mental state. Anahata Yoga classes are designed to enhance the qualities of rejuvenation and longevity, to correct postural imbalances and create vitality and health while promoting the natural abilities of the body to energise and heal, so that it can realise its own amazing potential.
The Dance of Shiva and Shakti
The Dance of Shiva and Shakti is a form of hatha yoga. The phrase ‘hatha yoga’ is a combination of three words: ‘ha’ meaning the sun, ‘tha’ meaning the moon, and yoga meaning yoke or union. Thus, the practice of hatha yoga refers to the union of the sun and moon. The sun is the symbol of Shiva who represents conscious awareness and resides in Sahasrara Chakra in the crown of the head. The moon is the symbol of Shakti who represents divine or Kundalini energy and resides in Muladhara Chakra. Kundalini is depicted as a snake coiled three times at the base of the spine. Hatha Yoga can be said to mean the joining together of Shiva, conscious energy, and Shakti, divine energy.
Our intention is to encourage Shakti, the moon, to rise up to the embrace of Shiva, the sun. The metaphor of a lovers’ dance invokes the idea of a creative interplay between conscious awareness and divine energy and reminds us to take a joyous, graceful, playful approach to achieving the state of union that is the ultimate goal of yoga.
Five Element Form
The Five Element Form is part of an ancient Tantric Yoga practice known as Tattwa Shuddhi Sadhana element purification practice. This practice was shared with Peter Clifford at the Kamakhya Tantric Temple in Assam in Northern India by his teacher Swami Shankara. Peter is the only known yogi still teaching who was entrusted by his teacher to impart the knowledge to teach the Five Element Form to his own students. The Form is a sequence of flowing movements resembling traditional vinyasa yoga asana and although similar to Tai Chi and Chi Kung, it is a traditional ancient Indian practice. It connects us to the five elements of earth, water, fire, air, and akasha. The Form uses breath, creative visualisation and healing colors and sounds in a powerful, transformative physical and spiritual practice that unites the five sheaths (Pancha Koshas).
The Five Elements
Traditional Ayurveda recognises that five elements provide the foundations for the entire physical world. The elements of earth, water, fire, air and akasha are the building blocks of the universe and are present in all organic and inorganic substances including the human body.
The Earth element is physically represented in the human body in the legs. It represents grounding, strength, structure, stability and support.
The Water element is represented in the body in the pelvis and it is associated with the qualities of fluidity and gracefulness, the ability to flow around obstacles, to change direction when appropriate and never feel stuck.
The Fire element is represented in the solar plexus region and is associated with creativity, free will and transformation.
The Air element is represented in the rib cage and is associated with life and vitality.
The element of Akasha in the throat is known as the element of connection. Acknowledgement and understanding of akasha means that you never feel alone because you understand that you are always connected to a greater consciousness than your own.
Connecting with the five elements personally reminds us of our relationship to the planet Earth and the entire universe and allows us to draw on the strength of all the elements of the universe in our daily lives.
Origins of the Form
The exact origins of the Five Element Form are lost in the history of Northern India. In the ancient text, the Shiva Swarodaya, Devi asks Shiva how the universe was created, how it changes, how it dissolves, and what determines the universe. Shiva says that creation takes place due to the Five Elements (Tattwas). It is sustained by them and finally dissolves into them because the five elements are the origin of the universe.
It is believed that in the mountains where Yogis would retreat into caves, sometimes for years, to meditate and seek enlightenment that they would experience many negative effects on their health and vitality from the long periods of inactivity, cold weather, winds and rain. Realising that their students also suffered from the same conditions, often falling asleep from fatigue and illness during their lessons and meditations, yogis developed a series of tantric yoga exercises created from simple village tasks, dance and the nature surrounding them to rejuvenate and energise the students. One of these exercises was the Five Element Form.
Benefits of the Form
The Five Element Form is a connecting and empowering practice. Its purpose is to enhance the qualities of health and vitality and to promote your natural abilities to heal and rejuvenate so that you can discover your amazing true potential. Practiced at the beginning of each day, the Five Element Form will:
- Change your mind’s perspective of your daily activities empowering you to actively create situations that enhance the quality of your life.
- Physically tone, stretch and strengthen the muscle body.
- Enhance personal health and vitality by creating tissue pumps that promote the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids in the organs and tissues of the body.
- Increase the volume and quality of the breath which promotes energy and vitality.
- Create a calm meditative state that promotes the release of mental stress and anxiety, creating space for reflection, contemplation and creativity.