A summary

The story of

What is Yoga?

Yoga is the state of harmony of body, mind, and spirit. Hatha yoga, the  physical movements called postures, release tension from the body and help  us to relax. This is an essential starting point in practicing yoga. When the  body is tense it contributes to turbulence in our mind and emotions. With  regular practice, one quickly learns how to relax individual parts of the body  and the body as a whole. This is a powerful skill that makes it possible to  bring greater calm to our minds and emotions.

Yoga also teaches one to become aware of the breath. In our stress-filled world,  most people breathe very shallowly. Yoga teaches simple breath practices that promote health and increase vitality. The breath also plays a major role in calming  our mind and emotions, creating a sense of well-being, inner peace, and greater  happiness. 

In Jazianzza’s story, she learned that deep belly breathing practiced regularly was a  great support to her when she faced danger. Her lesson is a good one for us all.  When we are upset, angry, or frightened, we tend to hold our breath. If we are aware of tension in our bodies, when turbulent thoughts and emotions arise, we  can take a few deep breaths and relax consciously relax our bodies. This helps us to  get in touch with our inner strength and wisdom so that we can respond wisely to  the upset or danger we face. Jazi practiced this when she suddenly came face to  face with Queen Hemizill Hornet. Even though she was scared, she touched her  inner strength, stayed present, and offered her glasses for the Queen’s daughter to  try on. In the face of crisis, she acted wisely, turned an “enemy” into a friend, and  brought safety and great joy to her community. 

During my almost 40 years at the Yoga Center of California (, I  have learned and practiced hatha yoga, deep relaxation, breathing practices, and  meditation. Because we are each unique, Ramakrishna Ananda, a master yogi who  founded the Yoga Center in 1970, teaches different forms of yoga to help people  develop practices that best suit their individual natures. 

Beyond supporting physical and mental/emotional relaxation, the spiritual  teachings of yoga help us get in touch with the true self – our higher consciousness.  Because yoga is not a religion, people of all religious paths, as well as those who are  not religious find practices that support their personal journey. 

Yoga plays an essential role in my life. It has brought me to a wholeness that I never  considered possible. I have learned to recognize the instrumental ways my early life  challenges have formed who I am today. Instead of holding onto a lingering 

bitterness or anger about situations, yoga has empowered me to release those  turbulent emotions. Through regular practice I have become a deeper and, ultimately, much happier person. There is a saying, “Our greatest challenges can  become our greatest blessings, not only for ourselves but to offer to others.” This is a reality in my life. For more information about yoga and online classes, visit, as  well as Ramakrishna Ananda’s site,