What is Dharma Yoga?

Dharma yoga, or Dharma Mittra yoga, is based on the teachings of Sri Dharma Mittra. This yoga style is a blend of many different yoga traditions and styles based on the teachings of Yogi Gupta.

With its roots in tradition and a practice that excites modern yoga students as well, Dharma yoga truly has something to offer everyone who tries it.

Dharma yoga is similar to other active yoga styles, such as ashtanga or vinyasa yoga. But one of the main differences is that Dharma yoga incorporates more meditation and focuses on developing the free flow of prana in the body.

This combined focus on the physical and the energetic aspects of yoga creates a transformational experience for any student who practices Dharma yoga.

Definition of Dharma Yoga

Sri Dharma Mittra was a long-time student of Swami Kailashananda or Yogi Gupta.

Dharma Mittra’s first introduction to yoga was through ashtanga and karma yoga, and after only a few classes, he became a dedicated student. He then pursued intensive yoga studies and eventually accepted sannyasi or spiritual renunciation in 1966.

Did You Know…
Dharma Mittra is of Indian heritage, but he is originally from Brazil.

Dharma Mittra created the Dharma Yoga Center in New York City in 1975 to disseminate his yoga teachings and share this transformative wisdom. Born in 1939, Dharma Mittra continues to teach yoga classes in New York to this very day.

He was a highly celebrated yoga teacher, famous for creating the “Master Yoga Chart of 908 Postures.”

Master Chart of 908 Postures

Master Chart of 908 Postures

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With a unique focus and expertise in the many yoga poses, Dharma yoga classes became famous in the New York area and have grown in popularity ever since.

Dharma yoga classes are typically a blend of invigorating yoga poses, breathing techniques, meditation, and philosophy. This combination provides a unique experience that takes you from the outer layers of your body deep within the depths of your soul.

Dharma yoga is similar to other vinyasa yoga styles, such as Ashtanga vinyasa yoga or power yoga. But the Dharma yoga vinyasa style focuses on the movement of prana or life force energy along the spine and throughout the entire body.

The sequence of poses is curated directly to facilitate the movement of this energy through a series of twists, standing poses, balancing poses, back bending postures, and inversions.

Benefits of Dharma Yoga

Dharma yoga is an excellent physical practice to improve well-being, but beyond the physical, Dharma yoga moves even deeper into healing the mind and soul.

This yoga style incorporates all aspects of the 8 limbs of yoga, elegantly weaving in the philosophy, breathing techniques, meditation, and deep awareness with the physical yoga poses.

The primary benefits of Dharma yoga may include:

  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Facilitates weight loss
  • Strengthens muscles
  • Increases flexibility and range of motion
  • Calms the mind
  • Relieves stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Awakens intuition and self-awareness
  • Promotes a connection with your true self
  • Improves concentration and focus
  • Enhances relaxation
  • Relieves insomnia and sleep issues

As you can see, the benefits of Dharma yoga go well beyond the body and promote an awakening from within the heart, mind, and soul. With regular practice, you can experience a profound transformation in your life.

The Top 5 Dharma Yoga Poses

Dharma Mittra is famous for creating the “Master Yoga Chart of 908 Postures.” This long list of postures just shows how creative and intensive a Dharma yoga class can be.

But like any yoga style, some foundational yoga poses often arise in nearly every Dharma yoga class. Some of the most popular Dharma yoga poses include:

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

Standing Forward Fold Pose (Uttanasana)

Headstand (Sirsasana)

Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

Although some of these Dharma yoga poses may seem advanced, every Dharma yoga class is actually very adaptive and meets the student exactly where they are.

It is common to see the use of many props to support each student’s body, especially the use of the Dharma yoga wheel.  

Dharma ​Yoga Wheel

Dharma ​Yoga Wheel

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How to Practice Dharma Yoga

Every Dharma yoga class is a blend of a few different yoga styles but primarily focuses on hatha yoga and raja yoga.

In a Dharma yoga class, the teacher will guide you through a series of yoga poses in a vinyasa style to awaken strength in the body and clear the mind. Dharma yoga uses yoga poses as a tool to move inward, connect to your mind, and unleash the light of your soul.

Often you begin by warming up the body with sun salutations, also called Shiva Namaskar in Dharma yoga classes. This is followed by various standing, balancing, and seated poses that are held for a longer time to build strength and inner focus. Students are encouraged to connect with the rhythm of their own breath and discover their own pace and inner balance in each pose.

At the end of a Dharma yoga class, the teacher may also guide you through a series of breathing techniques, meditation, and chanting to provide a genuinely holistic spiritual experience. With the integration of all 8 limbs of yoga, you will discover a profound transformation in your body, mind, and soul.

Start Dharma Yoga at Home

Dharma yoga is similar to many other vinyasa yoga styles, and when you get a good foundation in practice, you can easily practice on your own at home. But if you are a complete beginner, it is advised to first learn from a teacher to ensure that you do not get any injuries from the practice.

Once you gain some foundations in yoga practice, this will easily transition to an at-home practice. So, if you cannot make it to a Dharma yoga studio in person or want to try it at home, check out these follow-along videos.

SRI DHARMA MITTRA – Yoga Vinyasa Practice

30-Min Dharma Yoga Intermediate | Daily Devotional | Lydia Lim Yoga

Intermediate & Advanced Yoga Class with Sri Dharma Mittra

80-Min Dharma Yoga Intermediate / Advanced Level | Feel the Vibrations | Lydia Lim Yoga

Dharma yoga is a powerful and transformative practice. When you engage in it regularly, you will truly see a massive transformation in your life!

Dharma Yoga FAQs

Is Dharma Yoga the Same as Ashtanga Yoga?

Dharma yoga is deeply interrelated with Patanjali’s Ashtanga yoga. With its connection to classical yoga practices, Dharma yoga brings the eight limbs of yoga to life, providing a truly holistic and integrative approach that has the potential to transform the body, mind, and soul. Dharma yoga integrates all the different branches of classical yoga, but it primarily emphasizes Hatha and raja yoga.

What is a Dharma Yoga Class Like?

Dharma yoga classes include all of the 8 limbs of yoga. A typical Dharma yoga class begins with a centering practice and then moves into a flowing vinyasa movement style, including intensive standing poses and inversions. The class then ends with a powerful savasana and meditation practice with a final centering practice or chanting to reintegrate after the yoga class.

Does Dharma Yoga Make You Sweat?

Dharma yoga provides excellent physical strength building and will absolutely leave you sweaty and ready for more at the end of asana practice. But Dharma yoga goes well beyond the physical, and it dramatically stimulates your mind and opens your soul. Regular Dharma yoga practice can transform your physical well-being and truly live a harmonious life.

Important: Check with your doctor before trying Dharma yoga for the first time if you have any injury, illness, pain, or you are pregnant.

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