Posts tagged yoga philosophy
5 minutes with Pete Blackaby

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This November, we welcome Pete Blackaby, author of Intelligent Yoga, back to Camyoga for Taking Yoga into the 21st Century - two days of practical workshops. To give you some background on Pete's extensive body of work, here's a potted history of his life in yoga:

"I started practicing yoga seriously in 1978 as a student of the Iyengar system of yoga, after six years I took their two year teacher training programme and qualified in 1986. I continued in this system for a further four years.

From 1987 -1993 I studied Osteopathy at the college of osteopaths at Regents college London, qualifying in 1994. In 1995 I co-ran a two year teacher training course with John Stirk and Sophy Hoare, and ran a second one in 1997. I also taught anatomy and physiology at the Chiron Centre for Body centred psychotherapy in Ealing between 1995 and 1997.

In 2002 I became involved in the British Wheel of Yoga, (the governing  body in England) and ran a two year teacher training programme for them. I no longer train teachers, but have been running courses for teachers since then. My interest in the last 15yrs has been to put some scientific underpinning to the practice of yoga both in the bio-mechanical sense and in the mind /body relationship.

Currently I teach functional anatomy on the London yoga teacher training course and have input in two other local courses. I also teach the anatomy module at the Esther Myers yoga studio in Toronto. I am regularly invited to teach throughout England Wales and Scotland. The current project I am involved in is a two year course for teachers called 'Grounded Yoga'. There are five faculty, myself teaching bio mechanics, Professor Peter Connolly teaching philosophy, Dr Christine McHugh teaching homeostatic regulation through yoga, Diane Farrell teaching the psychology of the body, and Taravajra, teaching mindfulness. Our aim is to help students understand how yoga can bring productive change to the body, the mind, and the breath and improve our sense of relationship to the environment in which we find ourselves.

What I hope students will gain is a clear and reasonable synthesis of the salient points of yoga practice. What is important to consider in practice and what is less so. These understandings will be based on recent research findings. Whilst recognising that there is no such thing as certainty when dealing with human beings it is useful to know the main perspectives that are out there when dealing with bio-mechanics and the body/mind relationship. At the very least I hope to clarify what the debates are, and more particularly help students navigate some of the ideas with confidence."

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Join Pete Blackaby for Taking Yoga Into the 21st Century at Camyoga Shelford, 13-14 November, 10.00-17.00. Camyoga graduates receive 10% off when booking the weekend. Click here for full details or to book online.

 

Three Questions: Beverley Nolan

Three Questions: Beverley Nolan

bevHow did you discover restorative yoga?

BEVERLEY: Through my initial Iyengar Teacher training. In addition to the rigours of our 5am asana sessions, we practiced restorative every afternoon to prime us for the work in the evenings. So, I have always had Restorative as an integral part of my practice. What I feel is happening now is that interest in approaches like Restorative, Yin, and Scaravelli, which are perhaps more tamasic in feeling, are helping to restore sattva (harmony or balance) to the yoga world that has seen an explosion of rajasic practices like the dynamic, power, and hot approaches.

What is the best amount of time to spend in a restorative posture?

BEVERLEY: Firstly, like all asana practice, if something is uncomfortable or indeed painful you adjust or let it go. Depending on the pose, the duration could be anything to 5-15mins. The important thing to remember is not to stretch! As odd as that sounds, the practice is designed to deactivate aspects of the nervous system that are primed for action and put them into the back seat. Giving ourselves the permission not to do anything is probably the biggest challenge of the form.

Is yoga historically a men's practice or have women always done it too?

BEVERLEY: We have to remember that surviving documents and archaeological fragments are only a glimpse into the history of humanity’s search into the nature of being. It is true to say that many of the images and stories that have survived depict more male than female participants; but it is certainly not exclusive. I would imagine that along with many culture and traditions the Divine Feminine and the role of woman in understanding the nature of being will have at times been revered and encouraged, and at times will have suffered from the rise and dissemination of partriarchal influence. The important thing to remember is that Love is completely unconditional, completely unjudgemental and in fact totally indifferent to gender, and it is Love that lies at the heart of it all.