A vortex of energy. A community rich in complex, independent characters. A spiritual magnet. A constant mirror. A Great Mother.
People ask why I chose Ibiza. I feel that Ibiza chose me, rather than the other way round. Here I have followed my own path. I feel that I am understood and supported by the energy here… and I was fortunate enough to be here just as Yoga was making its great appearance on the world stage. Ibiza is the perfect place to practice Yoga in a natural setting, and the world of Yoga is a positive benefit to modern-day Ibiza.
The Ibiza of the future…
The island’s energy is basically sacrosanct; we need to learn how to protect its beauty. I imagine an island whose guardians support it and teach visitors to live in harmony with Nature. I see a base for the rebirth of the ancient legend: “Eivissa, the island of healing.”
Spirit Body Yoga has chosen Saraswati as its presiding deity. Or perhaps SARASWATI does the choosing! As students of life, seeking to know the true nature of Self and tap into the beauty our world offers, we ask to receive her grace, guidance and inspiration.
Originally the name Saraswati belonged to a sacred river in India, considered to be the “Mother of all Rivers.” Her waters were endowed with the power of purification, inner and outer, and in ancient times rituals with fire were performed along the banks of the river. With time this process of purification through ritual has become internalized; instead of a sacrificial fire, one may now make a “personal sacrifice” in order to obtain knowledge and ultimately liberation or “Moksha.” We can become liberated through disciplines of the body, of the mind, and of breathing.
Saraswati is recognized as the goddess of knowledge and learning, music and speech. The fluidity of the vedicSaraswati River is personified in the flow of all water, speech, thought, music and poetry. Sounds, such as OM, and mantras have taken precedence over the ancient practice of “sacrifice.”
The imagery of Saraswati is rich in symbolism. The river represents a quest in which a spiritual pilgrim undergoes a transition or rebirth; a migration from a world of ignorance or bondage to a place of enlightenment and freedom.
Saraswati, being female, embodies the feminine qualities recognized in vedic tradition; among them are tolerance as well as moral and spiritual strength. Her four arms represent the four directions, showing that she is all-pervading. The front arms represent the manifest world, and the back arms the subjective world. These also demonstrate the four aspects of the personality or the four functions of the mind—mana, buddhi, chitta and ahamkara. Mana is the sensory or processing mind, Buddhi is discrimination, Chitta is memory, and Ahamkara is the ago. An aspirant shoud understand these aspects individually and coordinate them with one another. The book represents knowledge. The rosary or “mala” symbolizes the meditative process. The swan is the discriminatory power between right an wrong, as well as the real and unreal. The message her is “be in the world, but not possessed by it.” We are reminded of this by the process of inhaling and exhaling. The lotus flower at her feet represents supreme knowledge. It rises up from its roots in the mud, through water and up into the light. The Veena is a stringed instrument that embodies the element of sound and has a vocal quality that awakens the inner senses. Divinity itself is said to speak through the flow of music. The Veena is considered as the human spinal cord; its musical expression invokes inner knowledge and relates our collective human sound (thoughts and actions) to the music of the cosmos.
SPIRIT BODY YOGA understands Yoga to be an art as well as a science. Human culture involves artistic creation as well as knowledge of the sciences and when these two are integrated the world is precious and beautiful.
Saraswati reveals our creative and cognitive potential, as well as giving us the keys to that potential. She is the source of inspiration and purity that we emulate in our striving towards artistic, intellectual and spiritual enlightenment.
ABOUT SIVANANDA AND THE SBY TEACHER TRAINING
Swami Sivananda made a synthesis of different schools of Yoga to create a style that would be approachable and attainable by people from all walks of life. The Teacher Training is a program that includes the most important aspects of yogic teaching and a yogic lifestyle; it is an introduction that allows for more in-depth study and practice.
In the 1960’s there was very little exposure in the West to Yoga, and Sivananda’s was one of the first schools to appear, following Yoga’s introduction in the U.S. by Yogananda (Self Realization Fellowship) in the 50’s. Yogi Bhajan (Kundalini Yoga) made his appearance in the 60’s and so did Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Sivananda’s Hatha Yoga was the most widespread style of Hatha Yoga and was simply referred to as “Yoga.” It opened the door for the other styles to appear from India, notably Iyengar (1977) and Patabhi Jois’ “Ashtanga Vinyasa,” 1975.
This practice accompanied Nora Belton throughout her youth, her dancing career, travels, then motherhood and various other jobs and commitments. In 2007 she took three years away from work to travel and explore yoga, and during that time she practiced other styles, integrating some of them into her own practice and teaching, notably the principles of Yoga Therapy. “Now I have even more respect for the Sivananda style, and that is why I continue to use it as the foundation of my teacher training; it has a discipline and a spirit that can embrace and serve all paths, all styles of yoga.”
The Spirit Body Yoga Training follows the basic Sivananda model. There are two Asana classes per day. The first one teaches the Sivananda Sun Salutation and the 12 Asanas in detail, as well as Pranayama, warm-ups and relaxation technique. The second class branches out a little, incorporating other asanas and addressing the group’s needs and focusing more on important details, such as safety and alignment. As students begin to teach they are encouraged to clarify and go deeper into their own practice and understanding.
SBY’s Yoga Philosophy teacher, Kirana Stover, met Swami Satchidananda, one of Sivananda’s disciples who came to the West in 1966, when she was 16 years old. She is now the director of the Integral Yoga Center in Barcelona.
The guest teachers on the course include experienced professionals who lead the introductory sections on Yoga for Pregnancy, Anatomy and Physiology for Yoga, Esoteric Anatomy, Ayurveda and ´The Business of Yoga’.
There is a community of Spirit Body Yoga graduates in Ibiza who are happy to step in during the course to share their experience and support.
ABOUT Nora’s style of teaching
For me, teaching Yoga is a balance of love, discipline and vocation. I taught the Sivananda style of yoga for over 20 years, and now I bring in elements of other styles that have inspired me, including Iyengar, Restorative and Somatic Yoga. My classes and workshops also have a therapeutic, and occasionally fun orientation, focusing on conscious movement and safe alignment, and are tailored to the abilities of each pupil. We concentrate on the harmonisation of breathing, movement and sensation, listening to our inner voice. For us, Yoga is at once foundation, process and goal, the destination and the journey. I teach all levels, helping beginners to create a basic routine, and helping more advanced students with their preferred style while providing them with a well-founded structural and philosophical basis, especially in the training courses and my private classes. The key words in my Yoga teaching are: discipline, support, gentleness and spirit.
“Our aim and our inspiration is to work creatively together with people in support of their personal evolution at all levels; the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.”