ONE SMALL STEP FOR YOGA, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR YOU
Have you been practicing yoga for some time now at a more or less beginning level, and feel you’re ready to take the next step toward an intermediate level practice ? This weekend series of three workshops is designed to help you do just that. The first class will give you an understanding of the basic principles of postural alignment, so important when approaching the more challenging positions, to make sure they’re done efficiently and safely. Classes two will introduce you to the inversions, particularly Head Stand and Shoulder Stand. The final class will introduce you (or re- introduce you) to the “yoga of breath,” pranayama.
Saturday 1st of July - 10am - 12.30 : PRINCIPLES OF ALIGNMENT
Holding trunk, head, and neck even, motionless, and steady ... he [the yogi] should sit. Bhagavad Gita 6.13, 15
We might imagine the emphasis on alignment in asana is a twentieth century innovation. But in fact, as we can see in the quote above from the Gita, yogis have been aware of the importance of alignment for at least 1600 years. Why is this? When a yogi sits for meditation or breathing, any kind of movement (even including the tongue and eyes) disturbs the delicate balance of the brain and breaks the intense concentration needed for her to approach self- understanding. So a properly aligned position allows the yogi to remain “steady and comfortable,” as Patanjali characterized the perfect asana, for long periods of time in deepest concentration. But even more, aligned sitting is in itself conducive to meditation and transformative breathing.
In this workshop, through a variety of exercises, we’ll work with and experience the most important principles of physical alignment, then apply them to a standing pose extravaganza. Why standing poses? The Iyengar system assumes that the 20-odd standing poses are the foundation of his 200 or so asana repertoire. Competence with this group of poses will ideally help in your practice of all the rest. Please come to class prepared to work intensely, not only physically but mentally as well.
Saturday 1st of July - 2pm-4.30pm : INTRODUCTION TO INVERSIONS
The North American yoga world was recently embroiled in a controversy over yoga inversions, specifically Shoulder Stand (sarvangasana) and Head Stand (shirshasana). Several teachers in the US and Canada very publically denounced inversions as being a danger to the delicate neck (cervical) vertebrae, and vowed never teach them again under any circumstances. There were, not surprisingly, strong reactions from the pro-inversion corner. Dangerous? For sure, if improperly performed. But given sufficient training, close monitoring from an experienced teacher, and consistent practice, most students should ideally be able to safely and sanely perform these inversions, whether in the traditional way (with the body weight bearing on the neck) or bolstered by various props (and little or no weight on the neck).
If you are a reasonably experienced student (at least six months of regular class attendance) and would like to add inversions to your practice, or if you are a teacher who would value several tried and true methods to bring inversions to your students, then this workshop is recommended.
Sunday 2nd of July - 10h-12h30
THE YOGA OF BREATH : Introduction to Pranayama
For centuries, the Yogis have developed pranayama, the “expansion and restraint” (ayama) of the “life energy” (prana), as a means of self-study and self-realization. While formal pranayama may take years to fully master, its basic methods are easily learned and can immediately “breathe life” into an asana or meditation practice.
This workshop is for new pranayama students who want a framework and direction for adding the practice to their daily yoga routine, and for more experienced students who want to re- inspire their practice with a review of breathing basics. We’ll talk about the teachings of the Hatha Yoga “model” of pranayama; work with several useful pranayama preparations based on simple asanas; and acquaint ourselves with a few simple breathing techniques and two foundation breaths, the Conqueror (ujjayi) and Against-the-Grain (viloma).
On Friday evening, Richard will give a free "talk" - Exchange about yoga / philosophy.
Price : 45 euros / session
120 euros / weekend
Friday evening : FREE
Richard Rosen began his practice of yoga in 1980, and graduated from the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco in 1985. Richard is the author of five books on yoga, and has written over 300 articles and video reviews for Yoga Journal and various other magazines. He's also the President of the Yoga Dana Foundation board, which grants funds to Bay Area yoga teachers working in underserved communities. For more information, go to his website at richardrosenyoga.com.