VIDEO: AT-HOME flow with amanda harding
Teacher and Prema Yoga Brooklyn co-owner Amanda Harding shares a beautiful, 20-minute at-home practice that aims to create a sense of spacious awareness. It's a lovely way to start the day or finish an evening, especially when followed up with this issue's guided meditation on balancing the chakras. We asked Amanda a few questions on how she stays true to her priorities and sense of self, too--see them below.
JF: Between your family, teaching yoga, and owning/running Prema, how do you create a sense of personal space, of balance?
AH: It’s a moving, ever-changing process, that’s for sure. I’m constantly re-assessing if I’m serving all parts at any given time, and I’ve gotten to the point where I’m clear about my capabilities. I have a wonderful support system at the studio and I work my teaching around my family life. My husband and I are really good about making devoted time for each other each day and I allow myself to not always get it right. I stay pretty fluid so that I can keep checking in.
JF: What do you do when you notice yourself losing that sense of personal balance in your day-to-day?
AH: I make whatever shifts I need to. Most of the time it's unplugging. Having my own daily practice of meditation, mantra and, most days, asana keep me pretty connected to what’s real in my life and I kind of just pull the plug right away on what I think is not serving my family. I press the pause button multiple times during my day just to get quiet, find my breath. We also have little pockets of sacred space in our house where I--and even my kids--can go to clear our heads, and it’s a place that instantly evokes serenity and spaciousness. I'm a bit of a workaholic, so if I am doing right by my kids and husband, then I’m in a pretty good place of balance.
JF: In this sequence, we move seamlessly from one pose to another, where the transitions are poses, themselves. How would you relate that to how we live, off the mat?
Everything is a sequence. How we speak to someone, from our choice of words to our tone, contributes to a state of relationship we have with that person, how we start our day informs the path of the day: are we frazzled or disconnected, and how does that influence our interactions and how we feel about ourselves in that day? How we prepare for sleep? Do we give ourselves the time to wind down, turn off the electronics-- and what is the by-product if we do or don’t? What are we putting in our bodies? And so on and so on. It's the same thing with the movement from pose to pose. If we are clear and precise yet fluid with our movement and intention in and out of a pose, we see it in the alignment of the shape, the support of the shape, the freedom of the shape.
JF: In this video, I was struck by the words "yoga is the state when you are missing nothing". What does that mean, to you?
AH: This is a teaching from Sri Brahmananda Sarasvati. To me, it is about the ‘if only’s. If only I had that job or relationship or was thinner, smarter, funnier….fill in the blank, then I would be happier, better. It’s about understanding that we have all we will ever need to be content and moving to connect to what is all of our birthright - this state of bliss. It's not easy, because we have to work with the material world, our minds, our bodies, very difficult experiences, perhaps--but being committed to this practice in its entirety, with all it has to offer, certainly reminds me on a daily basis what is possible. It doesn’t mean that we just accept everything and that transformation can’t and won’t happen. It’s just that it comes from moving away from the things that bind us while moving towards our true nature.
ABOUT AMANDA HARDING
Amanda Harding is the co-owner of Prema Yoga Brooklyn, where she teaches weekly Vinyasa flow classes as well as private and corporate clients across NYC & Los Angeles through her company, Karuna NYC. She is the creator of a program called 'Yoga on Set', which provides weekly yoga sessions to the cast and crews of NY-based film and television shoots. Heavily influenced by Tibetan Buddhist philosophy as well as the Bhakti yoga tradition, Amanda teaches an Ashtanga-influenced vigorous, yet mindful and creative class incorporating the fluidity of dance and music/chanting with heavy emphasis on alignment, breath, patience and fun. She has witnessed in her own life how creating spaciousness in her body, mind and heart and truly 'walking the walk' with humility has immensely affected her relationship with herself and others. Her wish is to impart to her students the many gifts she has received through her ongoing practice and studies – a greater sense of authenticity, inner peace, strength, compassion and, most of all, service to others.