At Down to Earth Yoga we practice Interdisciplinary Yoga, which emphasizes what is fundamental to all yoga styles--the core inquiry of yoga into the Self.
Director Lesley C. Kennedy was initiated into the Himalayan tradition in the lineage of Swami Rama in 1992. The Himalayan tradition encompasses all of the yogas--jnana, karma, bhakti, raja, laya, kundalini, kriya and tantra. The four traditional forms of Yoga are Jnana, Bhakti, Karma, and Raja, to which all others are related. (see Swami Rama's book, "Choosing a Path," for more information.) The complimentary practices of Yoga, Vedanta and Tantra together systematically guide the individual through the layers of being and human experience.
For information about Brahmanand, and Interdisciplinary Yoga, please click here.
For information about Swami Rama and the Himalayan Tradition, please click here.
Many books and videos provide information about Yoga; however, the true path of Yoga is based upon the direct transmission of teachings from a teacher to his or her students. Working with one's teacher keeps one correctly motivated, provides clarification and focus toward the true spiritual goals of Yoga, and offers invaluable direction. It has been my experience that this connection with one's teacher is an essential part of the path.
Additionally, the role of community (sangha) is significant in Yoga, as it is in all spiritual traditions. Studying and practicing in community with like minded, commited individuals provides support and accountability, both of which are essential components for growth and maturity.
At the studio, classes are small (maximum of 8 students per class) in order to afford the appropriate care, commitment and attention to each student's work. All classes have a mix of students with varying degrees of experience with practice, so being able to attend to individual needs is of the utmost importance. There is no "one size fits all" in Yoga (as in life), so insight and sensitivity to the strengths, limitations, intentions, skills and temperament of the practitioner is essential.
Each class begins with a teaching and group discussion on a particular aspect of the dharma, usually based on a theme that carries on for a session or even the entire year, or a specific technique or skill. Philosophical and spiritual points are explored in depth, as well as their practical application on and off the mat.
The discussion is followed by hatha yoga, which includes asana (posture), pranayama (work with vital energy and the breath), mudras (gestures), and bandhas (locks). Relaxation, meditation and chanting close the practice.
Lesley Kennedy, the director of Down to Earth Yoga, has studied and practiced yoga for 34 years. In that time, she has studied extensively in the Himalayan tradition of Swami Rama in which she is an initiate. In 1998, she also began studying with Brahmanand Don Stapleton, Kripalu's Dean of Yoga Education, and received her certification to teach Interdisciplinary Yoga.
Senior teachers Brenda Kayn and Elaine Hobart have been extensively trained by Lesley and are both also initates in the Himalayan tradition.