Iyengar and Ashtanga Yoga.

Knowledge of anatomy is helpful but not important to #Yoga. Knowledge of the self through the eight limbs is both the goal and the key. Otherwise it’s just another form of exercise & will never touch the soul. #Iyengar #Ashtanga

Iyengar Yoga Teaching & Training

Men & Yoga7
The philosophy behind Yoga is vast. It’s practically impossible for a Western person to embrace the beauty and subtlety of it all in just a single lifetime. If you practice yoga regularly, you may have had glimpses of your own inner potential, your natural spirituality. In order to explore that potential further, it’s useful to have a framework, or a map to guide you.

People usually start coming to yoga classes for reasons of fitness, health, flexibility but they find there’s another benefit, one that can’t be described, only experienced. When they come out of a class, everything is the same but something is different. The discomfort and stress in our brains is diminished, mental noise and emotional instability have been replaced by a quiet stability. What is it about yoga, specifically, that does that? And how does that lead to spiritual transformation?

Most of life is an accident that…

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The popularity of #YOGA and human evolution.

Iyengar Yoga Teaching & Training

BKS Iyengar said, “Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity. This evolution includes all aspects of one’s being, from bodily health to self-realization.”

Ancient YogaWe know that yoga is ancient. Its purpose is to develop our self-awareness and lead us towards spiritual transformation, using the body as a microcosm, a map if you like, of previous incarnations, each of which have left their imprint: karma. Our yogic purpose is to access as many of these imprints as possible, using the asanas to break our resistance, face our fears, and transform ourselves. The body is simply a vehicle. It’s the mind that is the target and it’s very tricky, because it’s always moving. 

‘Dis-ease’ in the human system manifests as changes in our emotional state, a negative mental attitude, physiological changes, altered breathing patterns or a combination of these. One fundamental Ayurvedic understanding is that an…

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From #YOGA to Self-realisation.

A piece from 2016, dusted off and updated as it seems even more appropriate now.

Iyengar Yoga Teaching & Training

Self-Discipline for Westerners.

As an Iyengar Yoga teacher, I’m at odds with Western depictions of what yoga is and what it’s about. To start with, there’s a fundamental issue I want to explore and that is our skewed Western view of the purpose of humility and respect.

At RIMYI, the Iyengar Yoga Institute in Pune, we hear the phrase, “You people” used to describe “us Westerners”, when one of us has behaved like an idiot in class. It’s true – when we arrive most of us just don’t get it, and the learning curve is very steep.

20161110_091700_resized_1Take the crazy traffic as an example. The rule seems to be: keep moving, don’t waver and pedestrians, never step backwards – someone could easily be squeezing through the gap behind you. No one stops at roundabouts with the “After you” attitude of the Western give way system. Anyone who wavers causes problems for everyone…

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BobbyClennell – 11/12 May 2019

Saturday May 11:
Toward Padmasana – Opening the hips.
bobby“The hips are the seat of wisdom” B.K.S. Iyengar. Understand your hips. Guard against stiffness and immobility and learn to balance freedom with stability.
This sequence will include some of the lateral Standing Poses, the perfect start to the weekend.

PM: Improving the Inversions.
A regular inversions practice helps us cultivate insight, develop mental discipline and widen our spiritual horizons. These challenging but rewarding poses also help us develop strength (particularly in the neck, spine and arms) and poise. In this class, we will learn the principles of alignment needed to begin and sustain a safe and secure inversions practice.

In Light on Yoga, inversions feature in the sequences for prevention and treatment for most ailments. They should form a crucial part of our home practice.

Sunday May 12:

AM: Separating the trunk as building blocks for backbends.
This will give us all some Sunday morning sparkle!

PM: Active restorative sequence
Depression is a disease of the emotions and mind as well as the nervous and endocrine systems. Lift your chest to elevate your emotions and lead your mind to a lighter state. Create room for prana to move freely around the heart area. Keep your eyes open and focus primarily on your inhalation, the bringer of life.
Restorative yoga to allow the benefits of the weekend’s practice to penetrate more deeply into body, mind and spirit.

Weekend Workshop with Bobby Clennell.

Sat & Sun: 25th & 26th April 2020 – an in-depth workshop with international Senior Teacher Bobby Clennell in Lyme Regis. (FULLY BOOKED – waiting list open).

Bobby will be visiting us again this year to give us the benefit of her amazing energy, her profound yoga teaching and wisdom. Her teaching is completely accessible: whatever you think you can do, I can guarantee you will be delighted by her ability to bring out the best in you!

The Masonic Hall in Lyme is in the main street, Broad Street, overlooking the sea. There is a long-stay car park in Pound Road – Holmbush – a ten-minute walk from the hall through Langmoor Gardens and along the sea front. Bring your own lunch or pop out to one of the many cafes and shops. If you want to make a weekend of it, there are good vegetarian/vegan restaurants and B&Bs. See HERE.

Venue: The Masonic Hall, Lyme Regis DT3 3QE (Through the alley next to The Galley cafe.) TBC – please don’t book accommodation until you’ve checked with me!
Cost: £70 per day, with a discount of £15 for 2 days.
Suitable for students with minimum two years’ yoga experience.
Click HERE for booking and payments.
Bring your kit and let me know if you need anything.

Yoga, a life and a death.

Settling down to planning yoga classes and workshops for the new term, and after attending the BKS Iyengar Centenary event in December, I hardly know where to start. I feel a bit lost! When I left for India in November, I was physically and mentally very low, but I knew that whatever the teaching was, it would be just right for me. (It ALWAYS is.)

When the twelve day event began, I sank gratefully Prashant’s teachings on pranayama over the first five days. There were mutterings of frustration from the young, fit, active, healthy ones, they wanted action – they had been training for weeks no doubt, whereas I was lucky to be there at all! Instead, Prashant was asking us to develop a “culture of tenderness and delicacy”, to battle with our barriers through the breath:

“Don’t get trained. Get educated.”
“Pranayama is not deep breathing. It is breath craftsmanship.”

Exploring the internal purposes of exhalation, he encouraged us to use it like the heads on a Swiss Army knife – to cleanse, wash, expel, offer, evacuate. So for five days we dissected ourselves. It was intense and it felt very good to me.

Then, on the sixth day, Geetaji arrived. At 8.30 am sharp for the next five days, she was brought onto the stage in a wheelchair and taught us for four or five hours straight. After lunch it was on to Q&A sessions, back to the institute for meetings, interviews, where she finished at seven or eight in the evening. (On the final day, the centenary of her father’s birth, she was there with her whole family. Rachel and I went to pay our respects – I’m so glad we did.)

She was determined to make us reach inside, plumb our depths, face and deal with our issues. You wanted some action? Well, try this! Again and again she urged us to go beyond our limits, like in Sirsasana:

“Don’t come down. Go back up!

And going further and further over in Halasana:

“Pain is not the criterion. Movement is the criterion.’
“If there’s a will, there’s a way. If there is no will, there is no way.”

At her feet she had 1,300 people from 56 countries and she knew she had very little time left. She wanted us to go through the pain, the fear, find out what lies beyond:

“There is transformation in every asana.”

Then her work was done, and her time had come. When the event was complete, less than 48 hours later, she died. She had been telling everyone all year that she wanted to see the centenary through, then her work would be done. No-one gave much thought to what she actually meant, though.

And what did I learn? I learned that freedom comes through the exhalation: the gift of yoga is power over life and death.

So back to today and where to start my class planning. Geetaji implored us to read Gher father’s books, and going back to basics seems as good a place as any. I’ll start with the book co-written by Guruji and Geetaji: ‘Basic Guidelines For Teachers Of Yoga’, and see where it takes me.

In her niece Abhijata’s words: “The cleanest mirror that we had, is gone… Never again will we have someone who was as clear, as simple, as straightforward…Everything else in the world came to a standstill when she was involved in an action…Her life force ended after December 14th…which reminds me of the death of Gandhiji… her work was done, and all she had to do was close her eyes.”

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