Yoga Workshop Offerings

Asana with Kirtan

MADHYA: THE INTERVAL (with Dave Stringer)
An Exploration of Sound, Asana, Breath and Awareness
Hatha yoga affords us many gifts, not least of which is increased sensitivity and refinement of our awareness. As a result we become more attuned to the spaciousness underlying everything: the space between breaths, between thoughts, even between musical notes. These spaces are the madhya, the middle, or interval. Tantrikas believe that this place is sacred; it is here that we taste the rasa of the divine. This practice will be a visceral exploration of the madhya using sound, asana, breath and awareness. We’ll close the practice with a kirtan.

CELEBRATING SHAKTI
Shakti is the feminine energetic principle underlying the universe. It is said that as soon as Shiva (consciousness) moves, he becomes Shakti (creativity). Shakti is non-linear, dynamic, and ever-changing, the very flow of life. Goddess Durga, a form of Shakti, is worshipped for her graciousness and beneficence, as well as her strength. As Mother of the Universe she represents infinite power and unconditional love. In honoring Durga we cultivate these abilities within ourselves. In this workshop we will celebrate Shakti through the vehicles of chant, asana, breath and mantra. Come get Shaktified!

BHATKI SHAKTI FLOW (with Dave Stringer)
Dive deep into your own heart and the pulse of your prana shakti and emerge in a field of shimmering radiant sensation.

We will start by singing kirtan (call and response chanting) to drop into the body of bliss and ecstatic expansion, and then move into a heart-opening mediation. From here we’ll transition to a dynamic vinyasa flow sequence moving seamlessly through surya namaskar, forward folds, twists, standing poses and backbends before melting into an extended savasana submerged in a sea of OM’s.

Asana

CELEBRATE THE CENTER
Developing core strength is an interal part of asana practice. Backbends, forward bends, twists, standing poses, arm balances, inversions, all require a strong core. Deep-seated equanimity arises from being connected to the core, which in turn promotes equanimity.

In this 3 hour masterclass we’ll use meditation, attention to the breath and asana as mechanisms for refining our core connection. We’ll play with the relationship between periphery and core and the dynamic interplay of expansion and contraction as we flow through invigorating vinyasa sequences into deep forward folds, arm balances and twists. We’ll close with a 40 min guided full-body yoga nidra meditation.

DEMYSTIFYING ARM BALANCES
Although arm balances are frequently included in vinyasa flow sequences, they are often not adequately explained or demonstrated, which can be frustrating if you don’t already know how to do them. Often students get left behind the flow.

We will breakdown arm balances into their component parts with a particular focus on bandhas, core connection, steadfast breath, willingness to fall and a good sense of humor!

We will begin the practice with abdominal kriyas to get connected to the core and move into a deep, heat-building flow incorporating forward folds, hip openers, backbends and twists.

Come prepared to sweat, laugh, fall and possibly gravity surf from one arm balance to another.

JOURNEY TO THE CORE
At the centre of your being is a place of equanimity and strength; it is the essence of who you are. The core is both a physical and an energetic place, being connected to the core helps us be strong, stay grounded and at the same time flexible. Core connection is at the very heart of yoga.

In this afternoon intensive we will journey deep into the core using pranayama, core vinyasa flow, and arm balances followed by a long slow warm down of restorative poses to prepare us for a 40 minute full-body guided yoga nidra meditation.

OPEN YOUR HEART WITH BACKBENDS
Open-heartedness is the key to joy. In this challenging class we will use backbends to release blocked energy and make space in the heart. Through a combination of breath and asana we will unlock the heart and make way for the expansive joy and bliss that is our true nature.

PARTNER YOGA
A workshop for increasing trust, intimacy and confidence.
Partner yoga is a wonderful way to connect more deeply to yourself and another. By including someone else in our experience of a pose, we give ourselves the opportunity to give and to receive in an energetic flow. We can learn to be more open and receptive in a fun way and to give from a place of generosity and care.

Expect a warm up of sun salutations and standing postures before moving into forward folds, twists, backbends and inversions. There will be opportunities for partner work with hands-on assists throughout, plenty of time for demonstration and questions, and a general atmosphere of fun and light-heartedness. Guaranteed to you’re your heart smile!

Come with a friend, lover, spouse, sibling, or no partner at all.
Suitable for all levels.
Everyone welcome.

RADIANCE YOGA
Radiant bliss is your true nature. Even the particles in your body dance and shimmer as radiant sensation. These molecules are called neuropeptides, they are the biochemical counterpart to your subjective experience of yourself as radiance.

Yoga is a technology designed to connect you to your deepest self, to your radiant body of bliss and love.

In this three hour vinyasa flow masterclass we will generate heat and cultivate flexibility and openness with a seamless integration of twists, arm balances and forward bends. A pulsating soundtrack of deep grooves and mellow tunes will activate the bliss body and stimulate the flow of prana shakti, lifeforce energy.

We will finish with a 40 minute full-body guided yoga nidra meditation in which you will experience yourself as radiant sensation and undivided equanimity and presence.

RESTORATIVE YOGA FOR DEEP RELAXATION
In this Yin-style practice we will target ligaments, joints and connective tissue, using long, slow stretches to release accumulated tightness and blockages and stimulate the flow of prana throughout the entire body. We will particularly target the pelvis, sacrum, hips and spine. Class will be accompanied by a meditative sound track designed to take us deeper into the relaxing flow.

SHAKTI SHAKEDOWN WITH DEARBHLA KELLY AND GUEST DJ
Deep vinyasa flow to rock your shakti! Come get your groove on and flow with easy rhythms and mellow beats. A treat for your body and soul.

SPANDA: AWAKENING TO STILLNESS
Underlying all apparent movement is stillness, yet beyond even that stillness is a pulsation: spanda the creative throb of the universe breathing itself into being.
In this 3 hour practice we will use pranayama, vinyasa, and tantric wisdom to guide you to an experience of yourself as vibratory awareness. Accompanied by a pulsing soundtrack we will generate heat and cultivate flexibilty using a strong vinyasa flow to prepare for arm balances, deep hip openers and juicey, open backbends.We will end the practice with a 45 minute yoga nidra (guided full-body meditation).

Asana and Lecture

ASANA AS EROS
There are many reasons to begin asana practice: the quest for a tighter butt, more flexibility, a good workout, alleviating back pain, stress relief etc. Combined with intentional breathing asana practice affords us the opportunity to connect more deeply with ourselves and experience ourselves as more than the ever-changing fluctuations of the mind and sensations of the body. Asana is the doorway to the eternal – we use the body to transcend the body.

In the ‘Symposium’ Plato talks about the path of love and how eros (the realm of the sensuous) draws us into love’s fold and thereafter Love itself pulls us towards the place where there is only love, only coming to rest in the formless. In yoga, asana is eros, that which is sensuous but draws us beyond the sensuous to connection with something more eternal.

We will begin this masterclass with a short discussion of how Plato’s theory can be applied to the yoga path. From here we’ll move into a brief heart-meditation before diving into a deep, delicious, juicy vinyasa practice experiencing the eros of asana as a vehicle for drawing us to stillness. Our practice will end with a longer meditation, followed by savasana, ending in a sea of Om’s.

EXPLORING THE BODY OF BLISS
Drop into the body of bliss! Taking as our starting point the euphoric experiences common to us as yogis, we will look at how these experiences can also be understood in terms of neurophysiological changes which affect your emotions. Topics covered will include how yoga practices can alter your biochemistry and how science can enhance your understanding of samskara and karma, and your sense of open-hearted connectedness.

Lecture/discussion followed by a juicey vinyasa flow practice to activate the bliss body.

Weekend Workshops: Asana/Philosophy/Neuroscience

DIVING DEEP: YOGA FOR SELF DISCOVERY
Most of us organize our self-conception around a narrative of who we think we are based on our beliefs, memories, feelings, and life experience. We find ourselves stuck in habitual ways of doing and being – what the yogis call ‘vasanas’ – and thereby limited in the range of possibilities open to us in every aspect of our lives.
Fortunately yoga practice helps us bring the light of awareness to those tendencies which limit our freedom and prevent us from experiencing our inherent connection to everything (non-duality).

This 3-part workshop comprises a multi-dimensional approach to exploring the self using different techniques from the vast technology of yoga.

Radiance Shakti Flow: a Vinyasa Masterclass
Practicing asana feels good because deep breathing changes your biochemistry and stimulates the flow of bliss molecules throughout your nervous system.
Your body becomes a field of radiant sensation. Expect a dynamic vinyasa sequence guided by the breath, with an emphasis on twists and backbends.

Neti-Neti Yoga
Advaita Vedanta (non-dualism) says that to know the divine, we must taste the divine, concepts and names are not enough. So it is with our own nature; who we are is unbounded, beyond form. We will inquire into our essence using guided contemplation, pranayama, yin-style asana, and yoga nidra.
*Please bring a pen and paper*

Exploring the Body of Bliss
Drop into the body of bliss! Taking as our starting point the euphoric
experiences common to us as yogis, we will look at how these experiences can
also be understood in terms of neurophysiological changes which affect your
emotions. Topics covered will include how yoga practices can alter your
biochemistry and how science can enhance your understanding of samskara
and karma, and your sense of open-hearted connectedness. We will conclude
with a short, but juicy, asana practice to ground and integrate the insights of
the body of bliss.

THE EROS OF YOGA
Plato used the term ‘eros’ to refer to the realm of the sensual that captures our attention and draws us in. Most of us think of romantic love as the realm of the erotic, but for Plato this was just the beginning. As we progress down love’s path, we move from purely romantic love to love for all things and love for Love itself. We are drawn from the particular to the universal, the realm of transcendence.

Plato’s view is very close to the non-dualism of Shankaracharya (Advaita Vedanta), according to which Brahman is the ground of all being, that which gives rise to form but is beyond form, that which is permanent but can be experienced in temporary guise.

Yoga directs us to disidentify with the vrittis (fluctuations) of the mind, our emotions, feelings and sensations, so that we may experience our true nature – boundless, permanent, unified with the source.

Asana practice and bhakti yoga are the eros of yoga – the senses are the way in. With asana practice, the body is the vehicle to work with the mind in order to be free of its tyranny; the devotion of bhakti opens our hearts to the expanse of LOVE beyond.

Jnana, the path of the intellect brings us further along the path to merging with Love itself as we cultivate viveka, the faculty of discrimination that allows us to distinguish the real from the unreal and see our own nature as divine.

Session 1: Eros of Yoga Overview
– Plato’s view and its similarity to Advaita Vedanta.
– Yoga situated as part of philosophical tradition
– Bhakti poetry: Kabir, Rumi, Hafiz, ‘Radiance Sutras’
– Moving meditation with music

Session 2: Eros In Action: Bhakti and Asana
– Ganesh meditation: removing obstacles through devotion and chanting Ganesha mantra to open the heart
– Strong vinyasa practice moving from deep flow to stillness
– Extended savasana: becoming the universal throb

Session 3: Jnana: Moving Beyond Eros
– What is Jnana?
– Why cultivate viveka?
– Shankaracharya’s ‘Vivekachudamani’
– iRest/Yoga Nidra: experiencing ourselves as pure Awareness

Session 4: Celebrating Eros: Love Coming Home to Itself
– Guided heart meditation and visualization to tap into the universal pulse of Love.
– Uplifting backbend vinyasa practice
– iRest/Yoga Nidra: experiencing ourselves as pure Bliss.

Photos by Robert Sturman