Ashtanga Yoga is a strong dynamic often challenging but extremely rewarding form of yoga. Physically, mentally & spiritually it confronts us with our weaknesses so we are able to acknowledge & move through them. The methodical system was honed by the late Pattabhi Jois from KPJAYI Mysore & continues with his grandson Sharath. It is usually practiced daily as a self practise in a studio, in a group counted led class or one to one. There are 4 series, made up of a set of postures, practiced one after the other in succession, the movements seamlessly linked with healthy alignment, by the in breath & the outbreath, known as the ‘ujjayi’ or victorious breath. This helps to build the inner ‘agni’, a purifying heat that aids sweating, detoxifies the systems & stills the mental chatter ‘citta vrittis’, bringing about a sense of equanimity, peace and overtime with continuous practice transformation – a strong, flexible, balanced aligned mind, body & spirit. We will start by focusing on the Primary Series – Yoga Chikitsa.
Restorative Yoga is about slowing down and opening your body through passive stretching. It stimulates the vagal nerve connection to the bodies parasympathetic nervous system, slowing the heart rate, deepening and elongating the breath, encouraging better peristalsis & digestion, immune functioning & other body procesesses. In a class you may hardly move and only do just a few postures, each held for 5mins or more, supported by props that allow you to sink, relax and stretch deeply. Restorative poses include light twists, seated forward folds & gentle backbends, based on the teachings of BKS Iyengar. They help provide physical & mental balance, which prevents stress and anxiety. Benefits include enhanced flexibility, deep relaxation, stilling of the mind, improved healing abilities, a rebalancing of the nervous system, a boost to the immune system and moods lifted, develops qualities of compassion & better understanding towards others & self.
Yin yoga is usually a gentle passive form of yoga, which targets the connective tissue, body fascia and joints, rather than musculature. Postures are usually supine or seated and individually held for 3-5mins to work into the body. When injuries have been sustained the body/mind can become uncomfortable in certain challenging poses, which is when the breathwork is extremely necessary. Usually yin yoga is a deeply restorative practice which compliments a more yang active vinyasa practise and brings about a profound sense of relaxation.
I first found yoga in a community centre when 17, with my enjoyment of movement manifesting in sports and dance from a very young age. I also practised Wing Chun martial arts avidly for 7yrs previous to rediscovering yoga which I have been practicing regularly since 2000. I explored different forms of yoga with various teachers, Oz (Hatha & Shadow Yoga @Globe House), Yoga & Meditation @The London Buddhist Centre Bethnal Green and Sama Fabian & Angelica Grohman, Aurolab Teacher Training (Iyengar & Sri Aurobindo [email protected] Yoga Place). As my practice deepened a friend introduced me to Ashtanga at AYL Diorama with Hamish Hendry & I became totally absorbed completing the Primary Series, travelling to India and Mysore in 2005 for the first time & meeting Pattabhi Jois’s for his 90th birthday. After giving birth to my daughter I had a break slowly returning to the Ashtanga practise in a different way. It continues to weave itself through my life, with enriching threads, colouring it with depth & meaning. I have also studied Anusara with Bridget Woods Kramer, Pregnancy Yoga with Nadia Narain, Restorative Yoga with Anna Ashby, Ashtanga with Kino & Tim, Phillipa Asher & Peter Sanson, Yoga Therapy for PTSD with Heather Mason, Yoga Therapy course with Bo Forbes and Ashtanga YogaTeacher Training with Ryan Spielman.