Michael J. Stewart is a teacher, nomad and creator of Shanta Vira Yoga. Born in Karachi to an Assamese mother and a Scottish-Irish father, he developed an early interest in a broad sense of humanity. His first initiation in to spirituality and esoteric practices came from his maternal grandmother, a healer who was deeply connected to her Hindu roots and as much, a counter-cultural rebel. Being raised by his athletic and disciplinarian father, he spent his youth building a relationship with the physical body through boxing, competitive powerlifting and bodybuilding. Michael has since lived, studied and traveled in over 30 countries.
While in theater school in Chicago, he was introduced to Yoga as a way of calming the mind and exploring subtle aspects of expression. Once this deep, familiar acquaintance was made, his life took a turn away from theater and fully toward his life as a yogi, seeking and deeply delving in to all aspects of spiritual life.
In New York City, Michael went first to Jivamukti Yoga and Astanga Yoga for regular classes and a crucial stay at the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas where inspiration fortified his understandings. He went further afield to study the precision of Iyengar Yoga in India with Sharat Arora and Rajiv Chenchani.
His religious studies during all of these explorations brought him as well to Buddhism, Christianity and Sufism. He developed a daily practice of Mindfulness and Mantra and lived for several years in intentional communities where humans focused on building healthy relationships – interpersonally and interiorly.
Decades later, Michael met Dharma Mittra and through his presentation of Classical Yoga spurred a next level of inquiry in to the human condition, the Self and the possibilities that Yoga holds. At the peak of this questioning, Michael became aware of a lineage of South Indian Tantra called Rajanaka. These teachings of Saivism and Saktism, as offered by Dr. Douglas Brooks, responded clearly to his own soul’s desire. His journey continues on this path today.
Alongside his profound constancy with a spiritual life of Yoga, Michael has been involved in civil disobedience protests and activism. He is touched when unheard voices of society find a platform to he heard. He is empowered when through unification, impossibilities become possible. He is blown away that even with the chance of loss, humans place themselves at risk in order to create change, growth and betterment.
This life is from where Shanta Vira Yoga took root and grows. Michael J. Stewart offers workshops, trainings and retreats around the world for guiding people to make wellness, art and community.
For his global schedule, check shantavirayoga.org
This practice is the first warm-up part of the whole Shanta Vira Yoga series. You can either practice this sequence to prepare your body for the second serie, or, you can practice this sequence individually as it has all the qualities of a well rounded practice. - As the sequence includes pranayama, mudra and mantra practices, for the ease of the practice please refer related videos of Michael.
This practice is being designed to provide an understanding of bandhas. Bandhas are seals that allow us to build a relationship towards the movement of prana and its containment.By following the instructions, connected with the breath and focused on how the inner body responds to the practice, one can improve on feeling the bandhas over time. Repeated practice on the bandhas helps to have a better understanding and a natural engagement during asana and pranayama practices.
This specific and focused practice prepares the whole body breath and mind to the day ahead. We move the body through asanas with clear explanations. with the pranayama tecnics we connect with our breath and awaken our system. After the practice you will feel ease in your movements energized in your body and clear and sharp in your mind. -The practice requires basic understanding of Bandhas pranayama tecnics and a simple hatha practice.
Mantras and Mudras
Anjali Mudra - OM / Padma Mudra - Guru Mantra Mantra / Abhya Rhdaya Mudra - Hanuman Gayatri Mantra / Ganesh Mudra - Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha Mantra / Yoni Mudra - Om Aim Hrim Shrim Klim Krim Mantra / Surya Mudra - Surya Gayatri / Kali Mudra - Om Dum Dhurgaye Namo Namaha / Yoni Mudra - Matanghi Mantra / Chin Mudra - Om Namaha Shivaya Shivoham Mantra / Padma Mudra - Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bahavanthu / Prana Mudra / Apana Mudra / Musti Mudra
This practice is designed to wind down and to get the day off your back, calms your mind and prepares you to the night ahead for a sound and stress-free sleep. You can practice this sequence after a stressful, tiring day, or, after a long distance travel.
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