DONNA FARHI is coming to Amsterdam in 2014! You'll find more information about her yoga workshop & intensives here.
Once or twice a month we offer a Sunday morning workshops of 3 hours, from 10.00 till 13.00, giving the opportunity to deepen your yoga practice.
For students of all levels. Since space is limited, please contact us beforehand to ensure your place.
The 2014 Sunday workshops will follow shortly.
Winter Warming Yoga / Integration of Hands & Feet
The hands, despite their very human use, still function like feet in terms of the way we are touched by the world. This is key in awakening the responsiveness of our bodies to the impression of ground & space, so that many of the actions in an Asana can happen rather than be contrived. Just as in balancing postures, we can either try to balance, or simply be present & not interfere with balance happening.
All the theories about Prana, or Chi reflect the way there is a circulation between us & the world, in this workshop we’ll experience this is especially through the hands & feet.
This workshop is also an ideal integration for those that have participated in the hands or feet workshop.
Restorative Yoga & Breathing
Pranayama is the study of breathing in yoga. Prana means breath of life, respiration, vitality, vigour, energy, power & spirit. According to old yoga texts, everything is based on prana.
The movement of the breath throughout the body helps to rejuvenate and nourish us. For example, the possibility that the spine is moved by the breath supports fluid movement & the nourishing of this vital center. The breath is also as intimately linked to the voice as it is to posture.
Awareness of the breath is one of our most valuable tools in discovering much of our potential and is a key to the depth of most yoga postures. For many yoga practitioners approaching breathing indirectly can be particularly effective, that means we will explore what supports the full capacity to breathe with ease.
Awakening the Core: the Psoas
The Psoas is a deep core muscles which runs from both sides of our spine, at the height of the lower back, all the way down through the pelvis to the legs – simply speaking, it directly connects our upper body with our legs.
A well functioning Psoas supports upright posture and, at the same time, allows the legs to move freely. Being located so deep at the very core of our body, the Psoas could be said to be an instinctive muscle since it responds to the ‘fight-flight’ mechanism; that means the muscle might contract and shorten when fear is experienced and release and lengthen with trust.
Working with the Psoas muscle, one of the things you may discover can be a sense of lightness through the body, ease of movement and a comfortable, spacious feeling through the core and around the hip joints.
How the Landscape Inspires our Body
Our perception of Ground & Space can be seen in our posture & breath. We will explore how even before we move, before we begin an Asana, our tendency to relate more to ground or space shapes our body, our breath and every movement we make. We often address the body too late, focusing on technique, on moving the body, when we can have a far greater impact on the way we move by first addressing the way we orient in the world. So we can effect our asana practice more efficiently & to a far greater extent, by attending to our relationship to Ground & Space. This has an impact on our lives & the choices we make, because its about our relationship to the world and can therefore enables us to see how our yoga practice is related to everything we do off the mat.
The Pelvic Floor & Sacroiliac Joint
The pelvic floor is one of the most intimate parts of our body and yet it can be surprisingly foreign territory for many.
A responsive pelvic floor is essential for stability of the pelvis (including the Sacro-Iliac joint) and lower back, proper functioning of the organs of the pelvis including the bladder and urine control. It plays an essential part in the ease of upright posture in sitting, walking, standing, in many movements and supports carrying. Many people can be locked in a pattern of use, such as a tucked under pelvis or tight anus, which inhibits a natural functioning of the pelvic floor.
The way we use the feet and perception is nature’s way to engage the pelvic floor, this is like switching on our natural ‘core support’. In yoga we call this Mula Bandha, although it is often misinterpreted and over contrived. Simply becoming more clear about this part of the body can have a far reaching influence on the body and psyche.
International yoga teacher Donna Farhi notes that in her travels around the world, she's found that dysfunction in the Sacro-Iliac joint (SI joint) has become the most common injury among female yoga practitioners.
This workshop is ideal as a preventative measure or to help you find stability, particularly useful after childbirth, no matter how long its been!
Body Image or Body Schema, which base is your yoga practice?
At the base of co-ordination there are two ways we can move, one is from Body Image – for example, I see the teacher move and try to copy, or follow instructions, pictures in a book or video and move from this reference. The other is Body Schema, mostly unconscious, here moment by moment my body responds to impressions, the movement ‘happens’ rather than being contrived.
When our Postural Schema is active, we are upright and breathing with less effort. Body Schema reflects a responsive state, whereas Body Images is usually updated less – like when there’s sometimes a conflict when we look in the mirror! Our Body Image is a rich resource that can also tell us a lot about our Culture and History, so it’s a way to become aware of how these choices effect our embodiment. Although we can’t separate them and there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’, we can learn to update our Body Image so that it supports the efficiency of our Body Schema.
Yoga & the Body's Spirals
The experience and understanding of spirals that exist in our body, for example in the muscles and bones, can provide a clear sense of the pathways of action in a yoga posture and the action of entering a posture. Imposing linear movements on a body that has almost no straight lines can sometimes feel awkward and can even direct strain into joints or weak points, especially when a joint is habitually locked.
You'll explore how spirals provide a very instinctive way to move. This can help us to learn to follow our ‘internal reference’, thereby affording us the possibility to distinguish movements that feel contrived, imposed or too mechanical and usually counter intuitive.
When we begin to tune into our body’s innate intelligence we can find movements that seem to run more true to the ‘nature’ of our anatomy. This vital capacity to differentiate the way we move, is an essential intelligence that can be present in many areas of our life.
The Feet - Spine Connection
In this workshop you’ll explore the feet as both a sensory organ, communicating vital information to the rest of the body, and as an essential part of the whole postural system - in other words in stimulating Stability & Mobility.
You’ll experience how the feet are one of the most responsive and articulate parts of the body, this articulation is integral to our fluency in relating to the world. The feet can then inform the whole body, in postural terms, and inform the intelligence that is at the base of all Asanas that involve the feet. To know an Asana, one first needs to get to know one’s feet.
In terms of our upright posture, the coordination of the limbs with the spine, began when evolution first brought us out of the seas onto land. It's deeply rooted within our bodies, so the way our hands and feet now inform our core support still relates to this evolutionary step. Most importantly, integrated posture and coordination can support us to venture into the world with greater ease and to even make more informed choices.
This workshop can be taken on its own, or together with the Hands-Spine Connection. Combined, these two workshops can integrate our whole body posture on a fundamental level. Both workshops are for students with some experience.
The Hand - Spine Connection
The hands play a major role in the way we interact with the world and therefore also in the clear expression of many Asanas.
You'll explore how the hands organise much of the stability & mobility of the shoulders, and further, how the hands just like the feet, can talk to the spine. So you may then experience a circulation that occurs between the hands and the core; the hands inform our core. In fact our strength and mobility is largely dependent upon the hands capacity to be a sensory organ, to receive a clear impression of the world, moment by moment.
In terms of our upright posture, the coordination of the limbs with the spine began when evolution first brought us out of the seas onto land. It's deeply rooted within our bodies, so the way our hands and feet now inform our core support still relates to this evolutionary step. Most importantly, integrated posture and coordination can support us to venture into the world with greater ease and even make clearer choices.
This workshop can be taken on its own, or together with the Feet-Spine Connection. Both workshops are for students with some experience.
Traditionally, the goal of yoga is ‘to slow down and calm the movements of the mind’.…so we can realize who we really are.
We'll practice yoga postures to create space, ease and alertness in the body as a preparation for sitting meditation.
Using simple meditation techniques, mostly from Tibetan Buddhism, we will practice down to earth skills, such as being present and developing an attitude of friendliness toward oneself.
Suggestions for forthcoming Sunday themes are welcome!