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Course Details:

Oct 26th 2019 - Nov 8th 2019

Isabella Nitschke
Isabella Nitschke

Isabella first met yoga in 2004 when she sought help for an injury from running. After trying a few different yoga forms she was most attracted to the Ashtanga yoga method with its combination of breath, movement and intense focus. Isabella decided that she wanted to share the practice when she experienced its healing benefits particularly for mental health. She has formally been teaching since 2009 and in late 2014 she received Sharath Jois’ blessing to teach the primary and intermediate series of Ashtanga Yoga. Since then she’s assisted him twice at the main Shala in Mysore and also participated in the 2 month special course for teachers in 2016. She returns to Mysore regularly to practice and study with Sharath Jois and to further develop her chanting skills and studies of yoga philosophy and Sanskrit. Since she started her yoga journey Isabella has been fortunate to practice and study with several senior Yoga teachers such as Rolf Naujokat, Eddie Stern, Richard Freeman, David Swenson, Maty Ezraty , Susanna Finocchi  and Eileen Gauthier. Prior to Ashtanga yoga she also studied the Dynamic Yoga Teaching Method with Godfrey Devereux. In 2013 Isabella founded Ashtanga Yoga Malmö/Lund in southern Sweden where she runs a daily Mysore-programme. She also teaches workshops internationally on a regular basis. Before the closure of Astanga Yoga Copenhagen in June 2018, Isabella was a regular guest teacher there. She also returns to Kadermo Conscious Living in Finland to teach a week long retreat each summer. Isabella has devoted much of the past eight years of her yoga practice and teaching to study end explore how yoga affects our nervous system , our mental health and in particular how the practice can help increase our stress resilience and ability to self-regulate. She has done specialised training in yoga for mental health (depression, anxiety, and trauma) and is also a qualified lifestyle coach and relaxation therapist. She has over 18 years of experience from working in health and fitness worldwide and has studied both anatomy and movement mechanics extensively. Prior to teaching yoga Isabella worked in the field of international politics which gave her the opportunity to live and work in many different countries and cultures. She speaks several languages fluently and is still very engaged in human and women’s rights which was her primary field of work. Seva (karma yoga) is an important part of Isabella’s yoga journey and is engaged in the work of several charities such as V-Care and Odanadi. Isabella’s teaching style is inclusive and aims to create a safe space for all students. She follows a gentle approach with particular focus on breath to cultivate sensitivity and awareness of the body and mind. Her teaching method allows students to practice yoga safely through a step by step approach.

Course Description:

During this 2-week retreat we will focus on the healing aspects of the Ashtanga yoga method and its impact on the nervous system, our mental health and general wellbeing. Throughout the two weeks we’ll look at and explore how different types of movement and breath (asana and pranayama), mindfulness and focus (dristhi and sense withdrawal), vocalisation (chanting) and behavioural exercises may improve our ability to handle stress, make us stronger and more balanced on all levels as well as empower us in our daily lives. The retreat aims to give all participants an insight into how practice on the mat is related to and can improve our functioning in different relationships on a societal and personal level.

We combine practical and theoretical classes and participants should be prepared for hard yet rewarding work. Focus will also be on helping each student to practice safely and provide him/her with tools to progress and keep up their Sadhana also after the retreat. All levels of practitioners are welcome, advanced as well as beginners. Participants who are completely new to yoga will be given a special introduction the first few days in order to allow for more independence later.

The retreat starts and ends with a guided Primary Series class in traditional Sanskrit count to gather all participants. Thereafter, daily morning practice will be Mysore style classes - the traditional format for learning Ashtanga yoga.

Afternoon class will be held in workshop format four days/week.  On non-workshop days and in Mysore class students are invited to explore the techniques introduced at each workshop.

The schedule will be as follows (we reserve the right to change certain aspects of the schedule to fit the students attending the 2-week course):

Sun 27 Oct: Back to basics - Breath and movement awareness

Mon 28 Oct: Asana clinic: foundational postures

Wed 30 Oct: Grounding and stability

Thu 31 Oct: Asana clinic: “Healthy and happy hips, knees and forward bends”

Sun 3 Nov: Creating space

Mon 4 Nov: Asana clinic: “Bend don’t break” – How to approach safe back bending

Wed 6 Nov: Mindfulness, non-attachment (non-aversion) and behavioural patterns

Thu 7 Nov: Asana clinic: from down dog to headstand – challenging inversions without fear

Each workshop session will include elements of breathing and movement techniques, asana exploration at different levels, chanting and/or relaxation exercises. Part of each session will be devoted to theory, elements of yoga philosophy and practical exploration. The retreat aims to create a safe and inclusive climate promoting healthy dialogue and exchange between the teacher and students as well as among the participants themselves. Students are encouraged to come with a beginner’s mind, ask questions and share their insights with the teacher and the group.

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