Posts tagged ashtanga
My Broga® Experience by Iir Prihatinawati
iir prihatinawati http://asianjasmine.yoga/

iir prihatinawati http://asianjasmine.yoga/

When I signed myself up for a free taster of Broga® at CAMYOGA, I didn’t even read which type of yoga I was about to take. I am new in Cambridge - I moved here from Indonesia in August. I have practiced yoga since I was a child - I am a registered vinyasa teacher, and mostly practice yoga at home - so I was excited to get to the studio and have a guided practice.

When I arrived, and a lady told me in the changing room what class I was about to take, I wasn’t sure what to expect...

You know, surprises always come to greet you in the most unexpected corners... I loved it!

Yes, it was mostly men in the class, yes we did heck of a load of high/low planks, either into or from chaturanga or downward facing dog, and yes I was sweating. A lot!

I know what you think, this yoga might be only suitable for the very athletic or experienced practitioners, but to be honest it is not! Let me explain why.

Firstly, the poses were dead simple. Having practiced yoga for over half of my life, I’ve had my time of working to get into the 'fancy poses' - undervaluing these simple poses. But more recently, I’ve started to take notice of the simple things, to find the grace in anything and everything. This was the beauty of the practice.

So, if the poses were dead simple, how did I get my kick from the practice?

These simple poses were repeated over and over again with controlled ujjayi breath throughout - once you’ve done 7 or 8 repetitions of a low and slow chaturanga you start feeling muscles you never knew you had.

The practice really prompted me to be mindful of my own body and muscles. For example: try to come to downward dog, then plank, slide slowly into your low chaturanga and press up to plank and downward dog again, repeat 8 times slowly. Now try it again with one legged dog, one legged plank and so on... Now you know what I mean!

I think I may have read your mind - it sounds scary right?! Don’t worry the teacher, Liz, is very nice and knowledgable and will offer options and modifications for you to work with at at your stage, wherever you are in your yoga journey.

I know you will feel that there are eyes watching what you are doing, pressuring you to do the full pose although deep down you feel that you are not ready yet. Hang on a minute. No one is watching you as each of us is sweating like crazy and trying to keep doing what we are doing with our own perfection, we don’t have time to watch other people! Moreover yoga is not about comparing yourself with other people! Yoga is your journey within. No judgement. Every body is different! Do what is best for you, enjoy the learning, focus within.

Happy practicing and Namaste!

- Iir Prihatinawati

About the Author  Iir Prihatinawati is a registered yoga teacher (RYT200) at Yoga Alliance UK and has just moved to Cambridge from Indonesia. She has been learning yoga since childhood but it became a regular practice for her after her first pregnancy, and has been hooked on vinyasa and ashtanga ever since. You can find out more about Iir on her  website .

About the Author

Iir Prihatinawati is a registered yoga teacher (RYT200) at Yoga Alliance UK and has just moved to Cambridge from Indonesia. She has been learning yoga since childhood but it became a regular practice for her after her first pregnancy, and has been hooked on vinyasa and ashtanga ever since. You can find out more about Iir on her website.

Broga® classes are held on Tuesday evenings, 17.00 at the CAMYOGA Cambridge Central Studio.

Check out our schedule to book.

What is Mysore Yoga? By Emma Lindsay

mysore What is Mysore?

Mysore is the place in India where Sri K Pattabhi Jois taught and his grandson Sharath still teaches. For thousands of years yoga was taught from teacher to student, taking a student through his or her own development at an appropriate pace, this is how Pattabhi Jois taught the students from the West that first arrived at his Shala in the 1960s and 70s and is how students are still taught today in Mysore. Mysore yoga is a form of Ashtanga yoga

How is it different from a 'led' Ashtanga class?

In this style of class the student is able to practice at the pace appropriate for them.  It is not a led class where everyone is doing the

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same thing at the same moment with verbal cues from the teacher at all times.  Everyone still does the same sequence of poses, but at his/her own pace.  This style of teaching allows students to receive more individual attention and physical adjustments from the teacher.

Do I have to be advanced, or can a beginner to Ashtanga or yoga attend?

Mysore is suitable for all levels of practitioner and can be very helpful for recent beginners because the student will receive individual help from the teacher.  Its almost like having a private lesson in a group setting.  Just coming along with an open mind and being receptive to the learning process is all you need to attend these classes

The more experienced students can practice independently with the teacher giving them assistance in the areas that they find most challenging, and for beginners more time is dedicated to giving them instruction on learning the sequence, they will be given a few postures at a time so that they can memorize them in the right order and they may repeat shorter sections of the sequence to help them remember it.  There are also some sheets of postures to refer to if needed.

Why is it slightly longer than other classes?

This class is slightly longer so that students can attend at any time which suits them, as long as you give yourself enough time to complete your practice including relaxation at the end. This could be as short as 30 mins or up to 2 (1.5?) hours.

What are the benefits of practising at Mysore style classes?

The student will receive more individual support from the teacher and can do their practice at the pace that works best for them. As the practitioner learns the sequence and becomes more independent it gives them the opportunity to cultivate a personal yoga practice that they can do at home or anywhere in the world. Instead of passively listening to a teacher or watching others the practitioner leans to find their own focus making it a more personal and meditative practice.

Ashtanga is traditionally a morning practice and all the classes in Mysore, India are in the morning and always have been. Practicing first thing in the day is a wonderful way to start your day!

Come try Mysore yoga yourself at Camyoga on a Tuesday and Thursday Mornings - book here

Three Questions: Paul Fox

Three Questions: Paul Fox

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What is your favourite time of day to practice yoga and why?

PAUL: It should be sunrise or 6am, but I actually prefer late morning before lunch or late afternoon. Or if the sun is shining, any time of day out on the grass is a treat.What is the best amount of time to spend in a restorative posture?

When did you realise you wanted to teach yoga?

PAUL: I realised I wanted to practice yoga in 1995 when I watch my first teacher, Yogi Hari, give an asana demonstration that just blew me away. I fell into teaching by accident. I wanted to find out more about yoga and thought I’d do that by training to be a British Wheel of Yoga teacher. One thing led to another and now I have three yoga teaching qualifications, a PGCE and train people to be yoga teachers!

What would you recommend for a quick 15 minute practice?

PAUL: Sit cross-legged and centre yourself – 2 mins

General mobilisation – cat and lying twist for the spine, side stretches from extended child’s pose, downward dog for the hamstrings and to awaken bandha (core), low back-bend lifting away from the floor from lying on front to strengthen the back and open the front of the body – 5 mins

Sun salutations or earth salutations (sun salutations from kneeling) for dynamic breath and movement that will raise heart rate and blood flow – 5 mins

Sit cross-legged and do alternate nostril breathing (morning practice) or Savasana (evening practice) – 3 mins.

Thanks Paul!

 

Paul Fox Answers Your Ashtanga Questions

Paul Fox Answers Your Ashtanga Questions

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Q1) I know that traditionally Ashtanga should be practiced 6 days a week but I just don't have the time! How often would you recommend practising? PAUL: Your yoga is there to support your life, not to become a burden or an obligation. On the other hand, the discipline of regular practice is what brings about transformation of the body, mind and consciousness. I enjoyed the luxury of practicing 6 days a week most weeks while I studied with John and Lucy Scott for two years, although I couldn’t always fit in a full Primary Series if I was working an 11 hour shift at the BBC. Now that I have been practicing for 13 years and have hit my 50s, I am more and more convinced about the need to adapt our yoga practice to our lives. So my advice would be to do as much as you can, enjoy every practice and don’t feel guilty when life events, injury or illness disrupt your usual routine. For me personally, I practice some yoga every day and aim to do a full ashtanga practice three times a week.

Q2) I always feel very tired after practice! What is the best way to help my body to recover? PAUL: If you are always feeling tired after you practice and not energised, then it may be time to consider the kind of practice you are doing, how suitable it is for you and how you do your yoga. With a controlled and steady ujjayi breath and the engagement of bandha (subtle core) your yoga should build and retain energy in the eastern and western sense. If your breath or bandha is slipping away, then that might cause fatigue. Otherwise, examine the intensity of your practice. Are you depleting yourself with too much strong yoga? Consider integrating some restorative classes into your schedule if you are pushing yourself too hard. Finally, remember that relaxation at the end of class is as important, if not more important, than the posture work in terms of purifying and restoring the body to full health.

Q3) What would you recommend for a quick 15 minute practice? PAUL: Sit cross-legged and centre yourself – 2 mins

General mobilisation – cat and lying twist for the spine, side stretches from extended child’s pose, downward dog for the hamstrings and to awaken bandha (core), low back-bend lifting away from the floor from lying on front to strengthen the back and open the front of the body – 5 mins

Sun salutations or earth salutations (sun salutations from kneeling) for dynamic breath and movement that will raise heart rate and blood flow – 5 mins

Sit cross-legged and do alternate nostril breathing (morning practice) or Savasana (evening practice) – 3 mins.

Q4) I like to have breakfast before a morning class...is it ok to eat just an hour beforehand? PAUL: Yes if you keep it light. Try a banana and/or one slice of toast.

Q5) What is your favourite time of day to practice and why? PAUL: Late morning before lunch or late afternoon. I know it should be first thing in the morning but I really am not a morning person! Is used to have to do full Primary Series at 6am when I was on John Scott’s course. It was a challenge!

Ashtanga Yoga: An Authentic Practice

Ashtanga Yoga: An Authentic Practice

by Paul Fox

imageskrishThe Ashtanga Yoga classes at Camyoga are increasingly busy at the moment. Why is this form of yoga proving to be so popular with students?  I believe the answer lies in the authenticity of this practice and the connection it has back to the renaissance in yoga in the 1930s.

In an age where hatha yoga has grown, evolved and developed into myriad forms and styles – many of them excellent – there is still a place for a practice that lies at the heart of the hatha yoga tradition. It was in the 1930s that the great yogi Krishnamacharya re-invented and revitalized the discipline of hatha yoga which had largely fallen out of favour in India. While teaching at the Maharaja of Mysore’s Palance, Krishnamacharya was exposed to many influences, including Indian wrestling, body building, Swedish gymnastics and other disciplines then grouped under the title of “physical culture”.

He evolved a system of dynamic hatha yoga, incorporating sun salutations almost for the first time into the yoga tradition (their exact origin is unclear with some claiming they existed a few decades earlier in the yoga tradition, while others claim they were a warm-up routine for wrestlers).

Krishnamacharya developed hatha yoga as a complete and comprehensive discipline. He then taught it to his main students, BKS Iyengar, his son Deskikachar (much later) and to Shri K Pattabhi Jois, the Guru of Ashtanga yoga.  We can confidently say that almost all the hatha yoga taught in the West has its origins in the work done by Krishnamacharya. He is truly the founding father of modern hatha yoga. Pattabhi Jois – who passed away a few years ago in his 90s – developed the yoga of Krishnamacharya further into the current system of Ashtanga Yoga.

The practice is divided into Primary Series, Intermediate and Advanced. Most led classes are Primary Series, with other series explored in self-practice “Mysore style” classes or during specialist workshops with visiting tutors, like my own teacher, John Scott.

The Primary Series is quite possibly the greatest vinyasa ever written. The exact sequence of poses perfectly opens the body, with each posture leading the way to the next. When practiced diligently it is said to heal body and mind and is known as “Yoga Chikitsa” – yoga therapy. The Primary Series is perfectly suited for chair-sitting westerners as it contains a lot of forward bends to counteract the shortening of hamstrings from our sedentary lifestyles. The strength needed to lift and lower to and from the floor also builds power and stamina that it also often missing in our inactive lives.

If you haven’t already tried Ashtanga Yoga then consider giving it a go this Autumn with myself or Emma Lindsay. In my classes this Autumn I will be focusing on one or two poses each class to build up confidence and competence in the practice of ashtanga yoga, together with the usual emphasis on breath (ujjayi), bandha (engagement of core) and drishti (looking place).

As Pattabhi Jois was fond of saying, "practice, practice and all is coming".

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Paul Fox has been practicing yoga intensively for 17 years and holds the British Wheel of Yoga Teaching Diploma (1999), A two-year Ashtanga Yoga teaching diploma from John and Lucy Scott (2006) and a Yoga Sports Science Yoga Sports Coach Diploma (2011). View Paul's classes here.