WHAT IS SIJAHK YOGA?
Sijahk Yoga is an energizing workout that fuses yoga and taekwondo, which enhances mental, spiritual, and physical fitness. Sijahk means to begin, and in Sijahk Yoga, we begin with the body. By limbering and strengthening the body through yoga, we can start to turn inward. Turning within allows us the power to uncover any processes that may be holding us back from embracing and living in our strength.
Our instructors and students find that a solid yoga practice enhanced with techniques from taekwondo form the perfect balance. Yoga poses strengthen, center, and increase flexibility in both the body and mind. Through yoga form, we dance in the winds and release ourselves into the joyful flow, reminding us we are in unison with everything and everyone. Yoga’s foundation supports the kicks, balance, and focus needed in taekwondo practice. Taekwondo ignites our strength and releases patterns of self-doubt, allowing us to move past obstacles and move forward in our lives to fulfill our purpose.
Basic Elements of Sijahk Yoga:
- Yoga: Each level and form of Sijahk Yoga is centered on a specific yoga pose. For example, Goddess form is so named because the Goddess yoga pose is featured throughout the form.
- Taekwondo: Kicks, stances, hand techniques, and board breaking are among the taekwondo influences that can be found within the practice of Sijahk Yoga.
In addition to the main components of yoga and taekwondo, Sijahk Yoga draws its influences and practical applications from a variety of other proven techniques that are grounded in historical practice and modern psychological evidence. Elements and results of Sijahk Yoga include:
- Self-Defense: Like other forms of yoga, the overall practice is nonviolent; however, the influence of taekwondo means that the forms include motions that could be used to fight or for self-defense. Sijahk Yoga students report that learning these movements makes them feel stronger and more confident. Knowing these basic movements prepares us to defend ourselves – whether from an actual attack or simply from our own self-defeating thoughts!
- EFT: Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as “tapping,” is a therapeutic tool that is based on ancient acupressure and modern psychology. Practitioners combine spoken, positive affirmations with tapping on specific pressure points along the body’s meridians. Tapping clears electromagnetic energy from places it’s been blocked and allows it to return to its natural flow through the body. This restores balance to both the mind and body. EFT has been known to address a variety of mental and physical issues, including clearing negative emotions, reducing or eliminating physical pain, eliminating food cravings, and facilitating goal achievement. EFT complements several of the Sijahk Yoga levels.
- Meditation: Meditation includes a variety of techniques for quieting and focusing the mind. Students of Sijahk Yoga are guided by the instructor to let go of unwanted thoughts that cause stress. The result is tranquil mind, which promotes both physical and mental well-being.
- Balance: Sijahk Yoga brings both mental and physical balance to its practitioners. Practicing the forms improves physical balance. The focus required to complete the forms and to practice other elements of Sijahk Yoga induces mental and spiritual balance, as well.
- Progressive Relaxation: This is a technique to control physical tension in the body. Students learn to let go of tension throughout the body by first voluntarily tensing a specific set of muscles and then deliberately relaxing them. This technique can be used to relax the entire body or to help a person let go tension he or she may be holding in a specific area. Progressive relaxation is also practiced by relaxing the body from head to toe and focusing on particular body parts along the way.
- Light Body Work/Reiki: Reiki (RAY-key) is a Japanese technique that is based upon the idea that we are surrounded by “life force energy” – or Ki – which flows through each of us. Practitioners of Reiki help people unblock and channel that energy to reduce pain and stress and to promote relaxation and healing. Practitioners of Reiki do not touch the person they are helping, but transfer the universal energy through their palms by placing them just over the person’s body. As a Level I Reiki practitioner, Christine offers Reiki to her students who wish to experience Reiki’s healing energies. The addition of Reiki to students’ Sijahk Yoga practice is typically determined when students and instructors develop students’ personalized goals, but it can also be added to a student’s program as she progresses, if she so desires.
WHAT IS THE MISSION OF SIJAHK YOGA?
Sijahk Yoga endeavors to help students ignite their strength, reclaim their voice, overcome their obstacles, and unleash their confidence by
- Creating physical strength and fitness through movement
- Balancing both mind and body
- Eliminating negative energy and emotions
- Facing and conquering fears
WHAT ARE THE SEVEN CORE PRINCIPLES (OR “STEPS 2 STRENGTH”) FOR RECLAIMING YOUR STRENGTH?
- Limber – We begin by limbering the body. In Sijahk Yoga, the body is used as a foundation for fostering further growth cognitively, emotionally, and spiritually. Yoga postures increase flexibility in the body and form pathways for muscle memory. Yoga clears away physical tension that can create energetic blockages in the body. When these blockages are cleared, a door opens for change on every level. Postures calm the nervous system, which allows for greater awareness of cognitive and emotional states, as well as physical states. Flexibility in the body promotes flexibility in the mind. Life can then be viewed from a more open and detached vantage point. From here, we can begin to clearly see what is and is not working and begin to change accordingly.
- Strengthen – While yoga poses create our foundation for limbering and strengthening the body, memorization of yoga form also strengthens the mind and gives the practitioner a sense of accomplishment from its mastery. By incorporating taekwondo kicks, stances, and other techniques into the practice, we further strengthen the muscles of both the body and the mind. The result is a balanced, well-rounded workout that develops strength throughout the entire body. Students of Sijahk Yoga also report that the practice improves muscle strength and tone in “problem areas,” such as the core and buttocks.
- Reconnect – In addition to the chance to connect with others, Sijahk Yoga practitioners are challenged to reconnect with themselves and their inner strengths. Fostering self-awareness, intuition, and self-care is also an integral part of our program. For example, during Yoga Adventures, we introduce students to a variety of experts in mind-body disciplines to encourage self-awareness and self-exploration. For example, practicing Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping) during a session fosters reconnection to one’s natural state and awareness of our ability to heal ourselves. Genuinely connecting with one’s strengths and passions can offer practitioners the inner knowing they need to move past any obstacles faced in life.
- Challenge – Sijahk Yoga offers participants the opportunity to grow through challenge. The practice allows students to create individualized goals to ensure that each practitioner is appropriately and sufficiently challenged to grow. Once practitioners are aware and have insight into their challenges and obstacles, Sijahk Yoga instructors work with students to establish a clear plan of attack to overcome these obstacles. Working with the instructors to achieve these predefined, personal goals creates an element of accountability for students to keep them focused and motivated.
- Partner – Research has shown that isolation is a risk factor for many mental and physical conditions. To ensure meaningful connections, partner work is an integral part of Sijahk Yoga. We offer opportunities for our students to leave their mats to partner and interact with others in the classroom. Students get to know one another, recognize that they are partaking in this journey together, and they serve as active supports for one another. Partnering may occur during warm-ups and stretches – or out in the forest during an adventure! The key to the benefits of partnering is the awareness that one is never alone and always has the ability to connect to a support network.
- Adventure – Although Yoga Adventures are not required for progressing in Sijahk Yoga practice, we believe that adventure and daring can accelerate progress toward reaching one’s personal goals. We therefore offer Yoga Adventures to ….and we encourage our students to attend at least one our Yoga Adventures each year. Yoga Adventures offer students a different and compelling way to connect with one another and grow. Many of our participants have conquered their fear of heights with the guidance and support of their peers cheering them on to complete the adventure. Yoga Adventures offer participants a supportive and exciting group dynamic that is typically not experienced in day-to-day life. In addition, students have reported that the longer format offered by Yoga Adventures simultaneously offers both an invigorating physical experience and a relaxing mental retreat from the world.
- Ceremony – Ritualistic ceremonies have provided comfort, connection, and rite of passage since the beginning of human culture. Sijahk Yoga recognizes the importance of marking progress with ritual and therefore offers a unique challenge ceremony to celebrate participants’ accomplishments and growth through the levels of the program. Once a student has reached her goals within a particular Sijahk Yoga level, she/he may participate in our challenge ceremony to demonstrate abilities and knowledge gained. Successfully reaching goals and participating in a challenge ceremony allows students to earn belts and move on to new levels within Sijahk Yoga.
WHAT DOES SIJAKH MEAN? AND HOW DO YOU SAY IT?
Sijahk means “to begin,” and it’s pronounced SEE-JACK. As in other martial arts, it’s offered as a command at the opening of the forms. Often, when called out in this manner, the hard sound at the end drops off, making it sound more like “SEE-JAH!”
Photograph Usage Policy
Photographs are available here for use by the press. We ask that you please contact Christine Sumner at Sijahk Yoga to inform her when they will be used in your publication. Photo credits must be provided. Please credit all photos with the following statement: “Photograph provided by Sijahk Yoga (www.sijahkyoga.com).”