ASHTANGA FOUNDATIONS I: The Five Allies in Surya Namaskara
In this class we’ll look at the 5 root techniques that form the internal practice of Ashtanga Yoga by carefully studying their application to the nine positions of Surya Namaskara. The root techniques, or allies include pranayama (conscious breathing), vinyasa (positioning), bandha’s (locks), dristi (gazing), and dhyana (meditation). The positions of Surya Namaskara provide the perfect foundational basis for exploring the important role that each of the allies plays in creating a mature, sustainable yoga practice. We’ll also explore how to internally connect the allies, and see how the creative interaction between them can help you to awaken the entire inner ‘field’ (ksetra) of consciousness. Awakening the inner field gives you a special kind of intuitive intelligence that pervades the body and helps you better use limbs 3 and 4 to move towards mastery of all eight limbs in the system.
ASHTANGA FOUNDATIONS II-III: Standing sequence, Seated Postures and Dynamic Transitions of Primary Series
This class is divided into two parts. The first half of the class, from 9:30-10:45, we’ll explore how the cultivating a combination of dynamism and stability in the standing postures provides you a perfect means of entrance into the internal practice of Ashtanga Yoga. We’ll explore the importance of using the feet, legs, and hips to create strength, stamina and concentration. Better understand how the standing postures are an essential key to building a strong asana foundation. Learn to better access to mula and uddhyana bandhas (locks), see how the grounded support of the lower body can awaken the breath and the spine and lead the way to steady gazing (dristi) and to dynamic meditation (dhyana).
The second half of the class, from 10:45-noon, we’ll explore the core asanas of the primary series. You will learn how to better utilize the 5 allies to help you strategize your efforts. Structuring each seated asana in the primary around understanding the allies (vinyasa, breathing, bandhas etc) will help you better extract the strengthening, restorative, and healing benefits of this important series. We’ll also study the dynamic transitions between the asanas, carefully looking at how to create a better a jump back and jump through. Developing these transitions breaks up the monotony of the repetition by giving you a thrill with each dynamic jump. And emphasizing the transitions also teaches you to cultivate rhythm, breath, dynamism and vitality within the stillness of each asana.
ASHTANGA FOUNDATIONS IV: Precision, Purification and Pranayama
This class is devoted to pranayama, chanting, and discussion of the central role breathing plays in attaining success in practice. This class will utilize breathing exercises, retention, and discussion, to help you better centralize your awareness on breath during practice. We’ll study how to use breathing to build powerful strength in your asanas and to effect nadi shodana, purification of the pranic channels. Prana Vidya, knowledge of prana, helps you to progress towards subtlety as you concentrate your mind and better direct the power of the internalized prana. We’ll discuss how cleansing is not limited to the tapas that you create during practice, but rather how purification is a central theme that encompasses all aspects of your life. We’ll explore how to access awareness of your more subtle energy channels through breathing and how to better direct this energy both on and off the mat.
ASHTANGA FOUNDATIONS V: Intro to second series
This class will help you to understand the postures that form the first part of the sequence, You will learn how about universal back bending principles through working on such postures as Shalabasana (Locust Pose), Bhekasana (Frog Pose), Dhanursasana (Bow) Pose), Ustrasana (Camel Pose) and the formidable Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose). Using the basic positions to understand back bending principles will teach you how to safely and intelligently work on virtually any back bend posture.
Another gift of focusing on back bends is that you can learn to use your spine more expressively and then paying attention to your spinal positioning becomes a central theme in the performance of each posture. The class will also focus on working with such foundational arm balance postures as Bakasana (Crane Pose) and Pincha Mayurasana (Feathered Peacock Pose).