Every March, at Breathe N Flow Yoga studio, in Freeport, the focus is on dedicating oneself to mindfulness. Recently, Leah Hartofelis, yoga instructor and owner of the studio, has been focused on the niyamas, or observances, of her yoga practice, which are the second of the eight limbs of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. According to Patanjali, there are five niyamas: saucha, or cleanliness; santosha, or contentment; tapas, or austerity; svadhyaya, or self-study; and isvara pranidhana, or surrender.
Hartofelis shares how she utilizes the five niyamas in her yoga practice.
Rolling out her mat, Hartofelis first acknowledges this is her sacred space to breathe ‘n’ flow. This is her time to purify her body and mind—saucha. She then mindfully enters each posture, accepting and observing her alignment. The calm that Hartofelis finds within the pose once she is still, is a feeling of peace, or santosha. From there, Hartofelis says, “It is here I tap into the inner flame, welcoming friction and challenge, which is referred to as tapas.” Within this layer, she allows herself to go deeper and into a space for self-study—svadhyaya. Exhaling as she comes out of the pose, she is able to dissolve, surrendering to a higher state of being—ishvara pranidhana. Finally, she takes savasana, which is the point where she lies still on her mat, and seals her practice by letting go—“not anticipating or expecting anything but willing to receive everything!” she exclaims.
Leah Hartofelis is the owner of Breathe N Flow Yoga. Her classes are designed to offer her students a mindful practice that incorporates all eight limbs of yoga outlined in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. For information about her schedule of classes, workshops, teacher trainings, and private instruction availability, visit bnfYoga.com.