Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a potent method of unravelling the mind. The practice works with opposing forces of breath, and draws them upward through the hollow center of the spine. In Hatha philosophy, this technique is said to accelerate our natural emotional development, by raising the creative force of desire from lower to higher levels of consciousness. Through this process, desire is ennobled and refined, and eventually becomes perfected, as pure and selfless love.
In this course, we learn to approach this process with intelligence, humor and an open mind. We learn to feel the internal movements of the breath, and to support those movements from the inside, using the techniques of bandha, mudra and visualization that bring the practice alive. Most importantly, we learn to sustain an appreciation for the aesthetic experience of the breathing body as a whole, so we can approach ourselves, and the people in our lives, with compassion.
There is a strong philosophical component to the course, designed to place Ashtanga in the wider context of Tantric practice to which it belongs, but also to round out our inquiry. In exploring the philosophy behind the practice, we approach yoga as it was originally intended, which is to say, as a practice that engages body, breath and mind.
The course will involve morning Mysore classes, followed by chanting, pranayama and guided visualizations, together with a series of afternoon workshops designed to illumine our theme. Some of these workshops will explore practical aspects of asana, bandha, mudra, and the visualization of the subtle body, while others will be pure philosophy.
This course will be organized to accommodate practitioners of all kinds. No special proficiency is expected, and people with injuries, health challenges, and other limitations are absolutely welcome to join. In the morning sessions, we will divide into two groups, so that people who are unfamiliar with the sequencing can be guided appropriately by one of our capable assistants, while the others practice in the traditional style. All other sessions will be taught inclusively, to create an illuminating experience for all.