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If this oldest form of self development conjures up industrial strength underwear for support during strenuous aerobic maneuvers, or sweating through physically demanding postures, you need to update your view.

SvaroopaŽ Yoga, not an athletic endeavor, is a unique, gentle, yet exceptionally powerful form of hatha yoga, suited both to newcomers and experienced practitioners.

"Instead of struggling to hold yourself up in the seated posture, you learn to relax from the inside and to feel a central column of support.," says Melissa Fountain of Yoga connection who has been teaching for over 20 years, the past five in the SvaroopaŽ Style. SvaroopaŽ emphasizes precise and gentle body angles, the power of the breath and one's own awareness to create a release of the deeper muscles closest to the spine.

"Because most of the imbalance that causes pain comes from tensions in hip joints and lower back, we begin by relaxing muscles at the tailbone, the pivot point of the body.

"These 'hip-opener' poses form the foundation from which all others arise. Gradually, alignment, strength, flexibility and energy improve?as long-term holding patterns in the body/mind dissolve . "Like Fountain, Adeline Alex of Yoga of the Heart, with 25 years of teaching experience, has been offering SvaroopaŽ Yoga since 1998.?" Using simple props like blankets and hands-on personalized adjustments,?we work compassionately yet deeply with movements that make significant changes in your body and in your awareness, unraveling physical tensions," she says.  "Through the practice of SvaroopaŽ Yoga postures, breathing techniques, and awareness we can drop out of fragmented thought loops that bind and?contract our bodies, hearts and minds. We can learn to access and rest?in a more peaceful state within ourselves. Can you imagine living your?life with a greater sense of ease and joy? This is the promise of yoga!"

What do students say?

Colin Knox of Hopkinton, a housepainter, has had back trouble for a number of years. "I tried several other styles of yoga, but last winter in "SvaroopaŽ Yoga for your Back' I became aware of how to use my body. I loosened up and feel more agile."

Diane McElvery of Westborough a Yoga student for six years,?attributes her new way of releasing physical and emotional tension to SvaroopaŽ Yoga.

"Yoga class is the only time I completely forget that I'm pregnant," said Kathy Slovin of Framingham, two weeks before her second child was due. "Because of SvaroopaŽ Yoga poses I've had a much better pregnancy. No back pain like last time."

"It does miracles for the body," says Louise Leger of Holliston, a 65-year-old retired teacher and ex-nun who has been taking yoga for five years. " I feel stretched out, relaxed, centered, with a clear mind. I walk out of class in a different body from the one in which I walked in."

Beth Ramos of Holliston remembers going into class last spring and thinking, "here I am a Roman Catholic taking yoga from a Buddhist in a Lutheran Church, and I feel so whole!"?
Svaroopa is a registered service mark and Embodyment is a service mark of S.T. C., Inc., used under license.