Welcome to Yoganjali

Yoga is much more than making shapes on a mat. It is about seeking, exploring, and finding a connection within and out.

Yoga is a multi-dimensional practice with the potential to enrich our lives in every way and should be made accessible to everyone. It can be profoundly transformative, helping lead lives of balance, self-awareness, clarity, and joy. The practice on the mat can help us reveal who we are off the mat.

I discovered yoga after undergoing surgery for early-stage breast cancer. By the end of my first class, I was in love! The experience gave me an intimate connection with my body, which needed healing from within. 

I knew that this practice would be in my life forever and truly started my journey. After completing the 200-hours Yoga Teacher Training at Mind Body Zone, my goal of helping others overcome health challenges brought me to an apprenticeship with my teacher and mentor: Lorien Neargarder, who taught "Yoga for Cancer Survivors and Patients" at the Stanford Cancer Care Program. After completing the 500-hours Yoga Teacher Training at Breathe Together with Jennifer Prugh who has influenced my life deeply, both on and off the mat, I now am on the faculty of teacher training programs, focussing on Yoga Philosophy

My teaching incorporates all that I learn in human anatomy, yoga philosophy, mindfulness practices, and abiding love of Indian classical dance. I teach Yoga Basics for Stanford Cancer Care, Wellness Yoga at Washington Hospital, and Vinyasa Yoga for corporate and private clients in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I believe in “seva” (service): giving back to the community. Volunteering with grass-root level organizations especially for women and participating as a citizen are integral parts of my life. I am a Board Member at HERS Breast Cancer Foundation, a non-profit that serves patients and survivors from all walks of life. 

My intention is to continue sharing what I know, empowering you and me on our paths and learning as long as I live. 

Thank you for reading. Namaste. 

Anjali Rao

 
 
  • Anjali Rao

Mindfully Yours!

I haven’t written a blog post for a long, long time and there are many, many reasons for this. But that’s not why I wanted to write this post. I have been mulling over the connection between yoga and the mind, these past few weeks. On the threshold of going out in the world as a teacher, I have been reflecting on what is my Yoga voice? Do I have a philosophy of yoga that I am drawn towards? What do I believe in as a practitioner and as a budding teacher? To state that yoga is more than asana practice is like saying Picasso knows his colors or Rushdie knows his grammar. There are many research studies that focuses on the stress reducing function of yoga and the immunity increasing function of yoga. No, that’s not what I want to focus on for this post, even though studies like these lend credibility to an ancient art and science and makes the practice of yoga a truly integrated mind, body and spirit experience.

The concepts that most resonate with me about the connection between Yoga and the mind, and I am only talking about breath and asana, and not dhyana ( meditation) yet are:

In the Zone: Yoga can get one out of constantly living in one’s mind, or one’s emotions, or one’s thoughts: one is in the moment, bringing awareness to muscular tension and it’s subsequent, careful release. So during the practice, one is in the “zone”. One leaves behind the stress of everyday living, a tough relationship, a hard day at work. All one is focussed on is how does this stretch feel? How can I use my breath to release this tension? I believe that this focus on the present moment increases mindfulness off the mat too. I have noticed that I am calmer and am aware of my trigger points now than ever before.

Balance between tension and release: in almost every asana, as one part of the body is flexed or contracted, another is released. Only now, after a year of yoga, can I appreciate the nuances and the subtle, yet powerful application of this concept. With regards to the mind, as we focus on something, exerting effort, we release something, an emotion that perhaps doesn’t serve us anymore, or a thought process that we struggle with. I know I did. In the beginning of my journey to be a yoga teacher, I struggled with the notion that I couldn’t do many things physically that came relatively easy to many of my peers. Now I have let that go, and I know it’s all a part of my journey and my body has it’s own story to tell. I have released it. Just like asanas release and exert tension purposefully on muscles and joints, breath can be used as a tool for the mind.

Filter, filter, filter: Asanas and breath, when done with awareness can help in filtering remnants of thoughts and emotions, for example, if one is aware about where we hold our tension in our body, is it the shoulders, is it the belly, is it our breath? Where do we hold it? What do we do to relieve this? One can start unraveling the whys and the hows, getting deeper into the Self, which is truly the aim of Yoga.

I believe that I am learning, will always be learning, and the learning will lead me to things that I need to learn more about. Hope to do it in a mindful and conscious way, touching a few lives along the way and helping others learn what they need to learn.

Upcoming events you don't want to miss!

 

Introducing The Refresh

Daily Self-Care practices @ Work

A self-care workshop designed for the busy professional bringing together ancient Yoga practices to create a self-care plan that works for you. We will create, discuss, and apply specific breathing exercises, simple movements, and mindfulness techniques to cultivate a  sense of well being.

Contact yoganjali@gmail.com for more info and to sign up!

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I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for your interest in Yoganjali. For more information, feel free to get in touch and I will get back to you soon!

 
 

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