What is Centered Yoga?

Centered Yoga is an attitude of the human being, as an element of Nature and the expression of Life Force that runs through it.

Centered Yoga is a method created by Dona Holleman, born from her personal experience and from her encounter with the Krishnamurti’s philosophy, B.K.S. Iyengar’s Hatha Yoga, Castaneda’s shamanic religion and with her friendship with Vanda Scaravelli.

It is based on Eight Vital Principles for practice:4_modificata

  • The meditative state of mind or the ‘not-doing’ of the mind
  • Relaxation or the ‘not-doing’ of the physical body
  • Intent or the ‘not-doing’ of visualization
  • Rooting or the use of gravity
  • Centering or the awareness of hara
  • Aligning
  • Breathing
  • Elongating

In the 60’s Dona meets Krishnamurti: they have long, private conversations in Gstaad, Switzerland, and she learns from him the concept of meditative mind and total attention or the ‘not-doing’ of the mind, i.e. relying on the reptilian brain to perform the asana, which is opposed to the modern brain of thinking.

While in Patanjali’s (Dhyana) Sutra this concept is the ultimate aim of the practice, for Dona it is just the start.

Thanks to Krishnamurti, Dona will meet B.K.S. Iyengar and in 1964 and in 1969, she will travel to India to get the precious direct teaching Master-Student. He will teach her the traditional discipline and the hatha yoga’s physical techniques, thanks to which she will learn the Bodyscape and the Elongating.

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She will introduce in Europe, for the first time, the hatha yoga in Iyengar Style; indeed, between 1964 and 1969, in the Netherlands, she sets up the B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga Work Group and she also begins to train teachers. She works with Victor van Kooten, Angela Farmer, John Schumacher, Patricia Walden, Maxine Tobias, Mary Stewart, Gabriela Giubilaro, Emilia Pagani and many others.

In the 80’s, she dissociate herself from Iyengar international community, still following in both practice and studies the essentials of the training got from him and encouraging all his students to follow the pure and original tradition of his method.

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Her third principle, the Intent inspired by Castaneda and by Don Juan’s old shamanic wisdom, is the force that drives the Universe and that is used to practice the asana, visualizing what is still going to happen.

With her friend and mentor Vanda Scaravelli, she studies in depth the breathing techniques and the bandhas: without them, an harmonious practice and a toned-up body would not be possible and yoga would only be a mere physical exercise.

In 1980, Dona reads a fundamental book ‘The thinking body’ by Mable Todd, which will enrich and change her advanced practice.

Another consequence is the birth of the fourth and the fifth Vital Principles of Centered Yoga, Rooting or the use of gravity and the rebound fource, and Centering.

For the second principle, the Relaxation or ‘not-doing’ of the physical body, Dona draws inspiration from the Taoist concept of the wei-wu-wei or ‘doing-without-doing’.

Aligning the body with the force of gravity and receiving its rebound effect, we can channel our energy to the hara (the center of the body), both up and down, therefore reducing the resistance of the ‘physical body’ and increasing the vital force of the ‘energy body’. This reaffirms the meaning of the word a-sana (posture without effort).

In order to work, these Eight Vital Principles must be applied concretely and simultaneously, like white light through a prism, being split up into the colours of the rainbow.

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www.donaholleman.com