Saturday am: Sanskrit Counted Primary Series, Pranayama, Meditation
Saturday pm: Workshop on Ashtanga Asana Concepts, Method, Technique & Alignment (exploring postures/vinyasas that the group would like to refine)
Sunday am: Ashtanga Guided Self Practice
Sunday pm: Body Opening, Philosophy, Q&A
Sanskrit-Counted Primary Series, Pranayama & Meditation
In the traditional Ashtanga asana method, the week culminates with a Sanskrit-Counted Led Primary Series class, where all practitioners follow the exact count of the teacher, move and breathe together and are adjusted when necessary. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn the Sanskrit asana names, the precise vinyasa counts and iron out any uncertainties within the asana practice. The Led Primary Series class begins with chanting a few lines from the Yoga Taravali and Patañjali Invocation and ends with reciting the first verse of the Mangala Mantra. After the asana practice, pranayama techniques such as rechaka, puruaka, kumbhaka and nadi shodhana will be explored, culminating in dhyana (meditation).
Asana Concepts, Method, Technique & Alignment
In order to be grounded and steady in the asana practice and to encourage safe physical alignment, we need to learn how to connect with the floor and indeed our bodies. There are several key aspects in the Ashtanga asana system, which when understood and felt in the body, mind and breath, can make the impossible become possible. Through mastering and synchronising tristhana, vinyasa and safe postural alignment in our practise, we can develop tools which will invite the more challenging asanas to reveal themselves, enabling us to feel the state of yoga. As well as refining technique, alignment and concepts of the method, practitioners will be invited to chose asanas within the context of their bespoke vinyasas, for the group to explore.
Ashtanga Guided Self-Practice
A chance to work closely and in a small group, with one of the few KPJAYI Certified Ashtanga yoga teachers, who has learned the Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A and B Series directly from Sri K Pattabhi Jois and his grandson Sharath. Following the traditional ‘guided self-practice’ method of learning/practising Ashtanga asana (where one posture is mastered by the practitioner with perfect synchronisation of tristhana, steadiness, ease, joy and safe physical/energetic alignment, before learning the next), practitioners will have the opportunity to deepen and develop their asana technique and practice, whilst being guided through methods of approaching the more challenging postures.
Body Opening & Philosophy
The Ashtanga asana method gives us the opportunity to make space in the mind, physical body, breath and energetic body, so that optimum health, openness, strength, steadiness and balance may be cultivated and enjoyed. With openness, prana can move freely around the physical and energetic bodies. We will explore how to make space in the body (and ultimately the breath and mind), so that challenging asanas that require extreme levels of flexibility, strength and focus may become achievable more quickly! Finally we will move onto a discussion about yoga philosophy and why we practise, covering broad philosophical aspects of yoga, how they relate to our daily practice and lives today, the evolution of the hatha yoga and of course questions/thoughts about the practise of Ashtanga yoga will be invited.
From London, Philippa Asher is one of a few Ashtanga yoga practitioners in the world (and the only British woman), to be certified by Sri K Pattabhi Jois, to teach the Ashtanga yoga method in his tradition. She has learned the Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A and Advanced B Series directly from Pattabhi Jois and Sharath (at the KPJ Ashtanaga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India) and shares the Ashtanga yoga system Internationally
Her approach to sharing yoga asana (from beginners to more seasoned practitioners) is serious, yet light-hearted and joyful. Her emphasis is on good technique, safe alignment, the synchronisation of vinyasa (Sanskrit-counted, coordinated moving/breathing sequences) with tristhana (alignment of breath, gaze points and movement), passing on the exact method as taught by Pattabhi Jois from the late 1990s and embracing the essence of Patanjali’s sutras on yoga and asana.
Philippa’s dedicated passion for Ashtanga yoga, background as a trained dancer and experience as a qualified teacher (Post Graduate Certificate in the Education of Adults), gives her an intuitive and sound understanding of bodies, yoga asanas, people and how they learn. www.ashtangaphilippa.com