I have been asked this week about techniques for Ashtanga Yoga. What might they be? Perhaps something to help make the practice flow more, make more sense, feel less clunky perhaps. I remember when my practice went from staccato to legato. Strength had something to do with it. Having greater lung capacity and breathing technique played a part. Once the body becomes more flexible, more stability comes, for example, in being able to step one foot all the way forward from Downward Facing Dog. If your foot can only step halfway down the mat, you’ll know all about yoga wobbliness! I wobbled for years!
Ultimately, you find a way to move that takes you into a meditative space where you’re really happy to be on the mat, knowing what you know and doing what you do.
All the senior teachers have their particular take on ‘technique’ but the teacher that changed my practice recently is Ty Landrum. I liked the way he wanted us to use the breath to produce a wave-like action through the spine. It’s a technique that helps move out of rigidity and into fluidity. I teach his technique for twisting (Marichyasana C – wind forward to 8 minutes) in class.
You can try what various teachers suggest but ultimately you find a technique that makes sense to you and employ that.
We will be looking at techniques and alignment, of course, on our magical yoga retreat. Valentina Candiani will teach the afternoon workshop sessions looking at the principles of the practice. There isn’t anyone better to explain to you what the body is doing, why, what yoga is asking of the body, and how to achieve that. She originally comes from a background of classical, jazz and contemporary dance. Contortionism gives her an understanding of the body that is rarely found in teachers. Come with us, starting September 21st. There are a few places left.
There are a few spaces left next week. It’s been mercifully cool this week. Next week I have a request for a hip-opener class during one of the Easy, Stretchy Yoga classes. Please always let me know if you have any requests. Have a look at the latest availability on the booking page of this website.
Decathlon Ealing is opening in the shopping Centre and having a Grand Opening Weekend starting on Thursday 15th of August at 5 PM. Lots of teachers from lots of different disciplines will be teaching throughout the weekend, I’ll be teaching in the store’s Sports Hub on Friday 16th at 18:00 - 18:45 and Saturday 17th at 12:00 - 12:45. Here’s what available now, Ealing will be added.
Yoga in the News
The Telegraph has: The rise of upside down workouts - and why they're good for you. "And those “gravity boots” worn by Richard Gere in that unforgettable workout scene in American Gigolo back in 1980? Yep, those are still around – and top trainers swear by them."
The Evening Times has: ‘Glasgow man teaches yoga in housing estates’. Mick, a painter and decorator, even has a white van advertising 'affordable community yoga classes’ on the livery, with a step ladder on the roof for his day job. He says: “When I first started it there was a butcher, a taxi driver, a social worker - all different types of men. I could talk to them like guys on a building site.”
Tricycle has: ‘The Buddhist Roots of Hatha Yoga’. The author says that the historical lines between yogic and Buddhist traditions them are blurred. The author worries 'I also worried whether in mixing the two traditions I was not being enough of a purist in either'. Not many people will have the same concern but if you’re interested in Buddhism and yoga and their relationship, it's a brilliant read.