During this week together, we explore techniques from the Hatha tradition that bring the Ashtanga Vinyasa practice alive—tracing internal currents of breath, balancing subtle patterns of sensation, and moving the body from the inside—all while opening ourselves to the possibility of deep psychical release. This workshop interlaces somatic exploration, subtle body alignment, pranayama, mythology and philosophy. You will sweat, soften, release, and fall in love all over again with the beauty and brilliance of this unique contemplative form.
WEEKEND INTENSIVE & MYSORE, dates tbc
The Secret Life of Standing Postures (5pm -7pm)
Led Primary (8.30 am - 10:30 am)
Spinal Fluidity (11.30am-1.30pm)
Breath, Bandha and Folding to Infinity (2:00 pm - 4:00 pm)
Mysore (8.30 am - 10:30 am)
Spiraling Up and Expanding Out (11:30 am - 1:30 pm)
The Burning of Kama and the Alchemy of Hatha Yoga (Philosophy) (2:00 pm - 3:00pm)
Mysore-style guided self-practice
THE SECRET LIFE OF STANDING POSTURES
Standing postures have a secret life, a secret inwardness, a secret drama that is easy to miss. They can seem simple and accessible when we first learn them, but as we feel into them with closer attention, they start to reveal an unfathomable depth. Each standing posture is a unique stage for the dynamic interplay of prana and apana, and when we learn to direct those subtle forces into one another, using the structure of the postural form, their drama begins to unfold. In this session, we learn to balance prana and apana within the standing postures of the Ashtanga Vinyasa system.
Experience the exhilaration of practicing the Primary Series in concert with other practitioners to the traditional Sanskrit count. This way of practicing allows us to move together, breathe together, and focus together as one living organism. Some familiarity with the Primary Series is recommended.
One of the surest ways to create a fluid sense of embodiment is to make elegant movements with a supple spine. In this session, we learn to roll the spine from the base of the pelvis to the base of the skull, integrating the internal currents of the breath, and opening the central axis of the body to a fuller flow of consciousness. This session will involve a light practice, with special emphasis on back bending. It will integrate postures from the first and second series, with variations to accommodate a wide range of abilities.
BREATH, BANDHA AND FOLDING TO INFINITY
This session aims to bring clarity and inspiration to the confused matter of working with the bandhas. It gives a compelling and informed account of what the bandhas are, how they work on the subtle body, and how we can use them in asana practice to connect with the deeper sources of our being. Using this understanding, we can work with the bandhas more readily, to enhance our immediate experience of breathing through the body.
This is a traditional Mysore-style Ashtanga Vinyasa class. Students lead themselves through the Ashtanga sequencing while receiving individual guidance and support. This class is intended for people with an established Ashtanga practice. There are no expectations of proficiency, but instructions on sequencing will be kept to a minimum, so please know at least the standing and closing sequence to attend.
SPIRALING UP AND EXPANDING OUT
Spiraling is one of the most potent, but also overlooked movements that we make in the practice of asana. This session explores spiraling as an instrument for expanding the vital force outward from the center of the body. We look closely at the mechanics of spiraling, and we discover how to use spirals in a wide variety of yoga postures (not just twists) to create an immediate sense of wakefulness in the body. Using these techniques, we can use spirals for deeper psychical release.
THE BURNING OF KAMA- PHILOSOPHY
Kama is desire. And Hatha (Tantric) Yoga works directly with desire as a vehicle for ascension to higher, more lucid, and more ennobled states of mind. In this session (which is pure philosophy, and involves no formal practice as such) we contemplate esoteric meaning of the myth in which Siva, awakened from meditation, burns Kama to ashes. We find in this myth some resource for understanding the traditional idea that Hatha Yoga is an alchemical process of sublimating desire, by releasing desire from its objects, and allowing the orectic force of desire to expand the horizons of experience.