My Yoga Immersion Experience
with Sri Sri Yoga
By: Erica Mestyanek, Editor of Dallas Yoga Magazine & Co-Founder Cosmic Yogi Movement
When one first thinks of “diving in deep” to a new yoga experience, you might consider a workshop or a two hour class. Me? Well, I thought I would dive into a 15 hour Yoga Immersion. I know what you’re thinking, “Erica, you are insane!” Trust me, I know. I’ve been yearning for an in-depth yoga class or experience for a few weeks now. I didn’t quite anticipate the opportunity to come to fruition in the form of an entire weekend, but I was up for the challenge.
Yogacharya Krishan Verma flew in from Canada to lead this Yoga Immersion that was held at Killian Middle School in Lewisville in February. He is the Global Director of Yoga Research and Training at Sri Sri Yoga and the event was hosted by the Art of Living Dallas. This workshop was advertised as a “Complete self-care weekend.” When AJ Crowell, Publisher of Dallas Yoga Magazine and I arrived, we met many smiling volunteers on site helping to coordinate the check in and setup process. As we walked into the gym, we realized there were going to be more people than we expected participating and we could already feel the excitement in the room. Yogacharya Krishan Verma opened the workshop by speaking about the current state of yoga. His goal in his teachings, at least for this event, was to bring the focus back to the basics of yoga.
One of the most interesting exercises he taught us were the fundamentals of walking. I remember thinking, “I have been walking for 32 years, thank you very much!” He explained that we were using too much movement in our knees when we walk, we should be working from the hips instead! At first, it seemed like the 150+ attendees and I looked a bit like zombies. As you can imagine, it took some time to re-program our bodies and our minds. Even almost a month later, I still think of his words and walk with my hips even while on the treadmill.
Over the course of the weekend, we worked on yoga postures, some specifically for knee, neck, shoulder and back care. These are some of the basics we did one afternoon.
- Slowly rolling our neck in circles then versing to the other side.
- Slowly lifting our head up and continuing backwards so our face was looking at the ceiling. Then reversing the direction and going back down until our neck and head dropped to our chest.
- Gently pulling our head to the right with the right hand and then changing sides.
- With arms at our side, gently lifting our shoulders up and squeezing then dropping them down and letting go.
- With arms extended out to the side, gently lifting our shoulders up and squeezing then dropping them continuing to hold our arms extended out to the side.
- Sitting in child’s pose and gently making large circles with our hips while keeping our heads still. Then versing the direction.
- Putting our hands on back of our head with elbows extended then pushing the elbows up and out while squeezing the shoulder blades. Your chest will automatically push forward opening your heart.
I left Saturday afternoon after doing a series of these exercise feeling lighter and my neck felt like it was “FREE” from stress and completely relaxed. It actually felt longer taller.
We spoke about meditation and practiced different techniques. Up until this point, I had been trying desperately to completely clear my mind when I meditated. No wonder I thought I was terrible at it! Yogacharya Krishan Verma taught us that meditation is not about clearing the mind, instead it is “not engaging with the thoughts that do come up.” I pictured a slideshow of my thoughts and at each one I saw, I simply said, “No.”
He also showed us breathing techniques we could use to calm ourselves and release the unnecessary negativity we carry. Yogacharya Krishan Verma said to slowly breath in and expand your abdomen first, then expand your ribs and then your collar bones before exhaling. This allows for a deeper fuller breath and body expansion. The complete breath clears out the old stagnant air while re-energizing our bodies with fresh air.
The weekend was remarkable ending with a session Laughter Yoga (this was AJ’s favorite). The room laid down, everyone closed their eyes and the guru started laughing and told us to laugh. This set off a chain reaction and everyone was literally rolling around and laughing hysterically! This went on and on. Just when everyone would calm down someone would burst into laughter and the group would start laughing all over again. Laughing brought so much joy to the room the energy was uplifted and filled with love.
Dallas Yoga Magazine is looking forward to more events hosted by Art of Living Dallas and Yogacharya Krishan Verma. It was a blessing and honor to be able to attend.
You can find more on the Art of Living and Sri Sri Yoga on their website www.artofliving.org
About the Author:
Editor and Co-Founder of Cosmic Yogi Movement and Festivals, Erica Mestyanek is
the mother of 3 beautiful boys, ages 3, 9, and 11. Erica has an extensive background
in Fashion Design beginning when she was only 17 years old and is currently creating
a new Cosmic Yogi line. She has years of experience in planning large scale events in
the United States. Erica is also a certified Holistic Health Coach but is currently
focusing her career in the yoga community with planning future Cosmic Yogi
Festivals. Her passion in life is helping others while raising thoughtful and