FreeStyle Yoga Project Workshop April 12th 2015

APRIL 12TH 2015. MARK YOUR CALENDAR.

MOVEMENT & BACKBENDS
A FREESTYLE YOGA PROJECT WORKSHOP at VOODOO GYM, MACCLESFIELD
with MARK FREETH & ANNA ROBERTSHAW-FREETH

In the first session of this ‘shop, Mark will warm you up and then take you thru a series of locomotive drills that will bring out the best in your strength, stamina, agility & flexibility capabilities. When was the last time you jumped, crawled, spun and rolled in your yoga practice….?

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In the second session, Anna will prep you for backbends – perhaps one of the most challenging postures. After a lengthy warm-up including some innovative techniques, Anna will revisit some standard backbends and introduce you to some funky new material.

L60A2161Dynamic and challenging, The Freestyle Yoga Project is geared towards encouraging students to think for themselves and investigate what’s going on over the side of any particular yogic box. In fact, to also explore what’s going on outside of yoga too

This is intelligent yoga. One size does not fit all.

Equally, EVERYONE is welcome at FYP. ANYONE can do yoga. You don’t have to be fit, strong, flexible – we’ll make you those things. Just give us your time and we’ll help you reach your full potential. And we’d just like to point out that you don’t have to buy into anything to come and train with us – there’s no ideological-philosophical-religious standpoint to what we do. We’re not trying to sell you anything – other than health and well-being.

All are welcome to this workshop – no matter what yogic discipline you come from. Be prepared to work hard. Bring a sense of humour. Leave received wisdom about yoga behind.

This two-part workshop can be booked as one whole day (£65) or each part separate (£35 for just one part, morning or afternoon.)
There will be tea and biscuits, bring your own lunch to munch.

Don’t wait too long as this workshop will fill up fast! To book and pay contact Lucy Alves Yoga via PM on facebook or through mail.

CAM00192Mark & Anna run The Freestyle Yoga Project studio in Tunbridge Wells. They offer daily classes, teacher trainings, and retreats & workshops the world over. www.freestyleyogaproject.com / info@freestyleyogaproject.com

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In Memoriam B.K.S. Iyengar

B.K.S. Iyengar 1918-2014

Guruji_nov2012Bellur Krishnamachar Sundaraj Iyengar has passed away at the age of 96.

Much could be said about his contribution to Yoga but I prefer to let you all comment with your remembrances.

I never had the chance to be in a class taught by him but had the opportunity to hear him speak on occasion and I can say that he was a man with a clear vision and inspired me to be the person I am today.

With Iyengar’s passing now there are precious few direct inheritors of T. Krishnamacharya’s lineage still teaching today.

Fortunately, there are literally thousands of yoga teachers who are trained enough to be the next generation tasked with carrying on the vital work of spreading the precious teachings that flow from this deep, rich wellspring.

Please, post your thoughts and what any of the three meant to you or someone you know below in the comments.

 

 

Yoga in Tokyo With Leslie Kaminoff

tokyo-flyer-2014

Have you always wanted to go to Japan and never found the right reasons? Well, here’s your reason. Join Leslie Kaminoff for a workshop at the Under The Light Yoga Studio in Tokyo and enjoy Japan.

Leslie is very excited to return there this year, below you can read why.

japan-snaps

During your 2013 visit to Asia:

  1. Did you have a favorite experience?
    We fell in love with Hakone while staying at the Tenseien ryokan. We’ll be returning there between the Hong Kong Asia Yoga Conference and my workshop in Tokyo.
  2. How about favorite food?
    The absolutely freshest sushi of my life at Tsukiji fish market early one morning.
  3. Did you experience any notable cultural differences?
    Yes! the absolute horror exrpressed whenever we tried to tip anybody. To us it demonstrated that good service is considered obligatory, not something surprising or deserving of reward. Definitely different from the United States.
  4. Anything else to share?
    You can take a look at this set of photos on Flickr. It gives a pretty good sense of some of the things we saw, found beautiful, different from home and memorable.

I wish I could go, but alas I won’t be able to this year. However, I’m already saving for a great trip next year and somehow I think that might just be a trip to Japan.

Click here to register if you want to participate this year.

 

Author and Yogi of the Day – Leslie Kaminoff

 

I’m quite please to be able to present to you a very special author and yogi today. He is a man that has, even if only on paper, taught me a lot.

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LeslieHi Leslie, thanks for taking the time to answer a few of my questions.

I’m sure every yoga teacher that wants to know more about anatomy and breathing in relation to yoga is familiar with your name, but for those who have no idea let me introduce you shortly before we do the Q&A. If that’s okay?

Leslie Kaminoff is a yogi and co-author of the bestselling book “Yoga Anatomy” and creator of YogaAnatomy.net, a yoga educator, and internationally recognized specialist with over three decades experience in the fields of yoga, breath anatomy and bodywork.

How do you feel about teaching yoga and the discussion about certification and licensing?

Well, that’s a two-part question. The first part is easy and quick to answer. How do I feel about teaching yoga? I feel very good about teaching yoga. When I say that I’m referring to whatever I teach in the context of the principles that come to us from the ancient teachings in general, and from my teacher Desikachar and his teacher Krishnamacharya in particular.

The word yoga gets tends to get used interchangeably with asana in the west. That’s unfortunate because there is a distinction. You can be practicing asana and not be doing yoga at all just as you can be doing fantastic yoga that has nothing to do with asana That said, if you want your asana practice to be a tool of yoga, it requires you to have a certain perspective. The one refer to is the actual definition of yoga practice as laid out by Patañjali in the first sutra of the second chapter of the yoga sutras: “tapah svadhyaya ishvara-pranidhana kriya-yogah.”

As far as the discussion about certification and licensing goes, I can relate to the second part of the question to my first answer by saying I feel very good about teaching yoga because I am free to teach yoga. I am free to conduct myself in whatever way I wish that is responsive to and respectful to the people I work with and to my students. As soon as licensing enters into a field, any field, that freedom starts to disappear. I would feel very bad about teaching yoga under a governmental licensing structure, if it ever came to be. That is why I’ve been fighting against licensing for as many years as I can remember.

Certification is different than licensing. Certification merely means that somebody is certifying that somebody else did something. That could be anything from bare attendance to completing really rigorous training in order to get a degree of some kind. At a certain point, through accreditation, the government gets involved and that’s when we start having problems. I’m not against the government per se, I’m just against the government using force inappropriately in a field like yoga, and any other field for that matter. My views on that are pretty well known and they can be found on the site I have created: iyea.us (Independent Yoga Educators of America).

Is there any food that you feel benefits you as a yogi?

No, not any one food in particular. My take on the whole dietary thing is that yoga teachers should not be providing nutritional advice unless they are certified as nutritionist or if they are a healthcare provider with real training in nutrition. In the absence of that, it is outside a yoga teacher’s scope of practice to provide nutritional advice. Even the idea that you have to be vegetarian or adhere to a certain diet in order to be pure, to be a yogi, is really nonsense. However, once food passes into someone’s mouth, they chew on it, then swallow it – what they have eaten enters the province of what yoga teachers can help with.

So, I would say that our scope of practice begins at the inside of the mouth. Although I don’t advise people what they should into their mouths, I do tell them that whatever they choose to eat can be better assimilated through yoga. Just as significantly, they might even be able to make better choices about what they put into their mouths in the first place by becoming more sensitive to what their bodies needs are. This is certainly something yoga has a great track record of helping with.

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?

picture and recipe by Kate Schwabacher

picture and recipe by Kate Schwabacher

I don’t have a single favorite dish and if I had one I wouldn’t know how to cook it. That said, the kitchari and coconut soup at Vatan Restaurant here in New York City is near the top of my list.

Thanks for reminding me of that heavenly dish. I found a great recipe for it on Kate Schwabacher’s site.

What is your philosophy on yoga?

I partially answered that in my first answer when I talked about how I feel about teaching yoga. My philosophy on yoga is that its practice must strike a balance between Patañjali’s three principles of tapah svadhyaya ishvara-pranidhana

Serenity-PrayerPut simply, this is about changing the things you can (tapah), surrendering to the things you cannot change (isvara pranidhana), and having the wisdom to know the difference (svadhyaya). So, my philosophy on yoga is pretty much identical to the ideas expressed in the serenity prayer.

I also would point out that all of those principles can be found in the way our bodies operate, which provides an anatomical grounding to my philosophy on yoga.

Even though this anatomical perspective is in accord with many of the ancient teachings, I don’t gain my sense of authenticity in yoga simply because I’m teaching ancient stuff. If I can find these teachings in the body, and the way it operates, then I feel it’s authentic. If that’s in accord with some of the ancient teachings, great – but if something is ancient and it doesn’t agree with what I can verify through my own experience, than I don’t need to pay attention to it.

What do you enjoy most, teaching workshops or practicing asanas?

Well, since I do much more of the one than the other, I would say what I enjoy the most is teaching workshops, trainings, and classes.

At this point in my life, asana practice is very much on an as-needed basis. I did a lot of practice when I was younger while my body was still growing and developing. That set me up in a pretty good way for my adulthood when I’m now sensitive enough to my body that I don’t tend to build up a lot of the stuff I would need asana practice to get rid off. When I do find something happening in my body that needs attention, I definitely have those tools available.

Is there any pose you’ve ‘lost’ over the years? I mean is there a pose you used to master but now no longer have the ability to hold, and how do you handle that?

(Leslie laughs) I handle that the way I handle everything that changes over the years. There’s a certain amount of change that is inevitable to which I must surrender, and a certain amount of change that I’m in charge of and can actually do something about.

locustsmallPoses I’ve lost over the years? I used to be able to do lotus, but then I had two knee surgeries and realized that I was thrashing my knees by doing things like lotus, which I stopped doing and teaching. I can’t do full locust anymore, or at least I haven’t tried for a while and I don’t think I should. I mean full locust – salabhasana – with my legs up in the air and my feet dangling in my face.

There’s a few others I suppose, but I tell people that every pose you master you are going to lose except for one: savasana – corpse pose. That’s the one I’m trying to master more and more as I get older.

What made you follow the teachings of T.K.V. Desikachar?

There’s a bit of a story there, but this is the way I would sum it up:

I’d already done my swami/guru thing when I was working with the Sivananda organization, so I really wasn’t looking for a guru per se when I sought out Desikachar. It was the teachings; specifically the idea that you could put the breath in the centre of the practice and that was how you integrated everything you were doing. I recognized there was a tradition out there with this idea at its centre, so I didn’t need to reinvent the wheel. I had been working on my own breath explorations, but by the time I met Desikachar in 1988 I was ready to really absorb what this tradition had to say and it was earth shattering for me. Fortunately, I was able to continue with Desikachar right up until he stopped teaching.

What is the Breathing Project? And how did it start?

The Breathing Project is fundamentally a non-profit, educational corporation founded in New York State in 2002. I got the idea for it pretty soon after 9/11 happened in 2001, which was sort of a wake up call letting me know life can change very quickly and unexpectedly in a direction you didn’t want which means you should really be doing what you want and as often and as soon as you can. That’s when I realized I really did want to have a vehicle for doing more teaching and writing.

It evolved into a studio named the Breathing project that opened in February 2003 and it’s still there, going strong. We really evolved into not so much a yoga studio but an educational institution that’s dedicated to supporting the yoga teaching community. We also train people who teach Pilates and Gyrotonics and who do body work.

The Breathing Project is a kind of graduate-level space where you come to learn more about anatomy, kinesiology, and yoga. We don’t have a yoga teacher program, and absolutely never will. We don’t compete with teacher training programs, we support the graduates of all the other teacher training programs. The Breathing Project is also the space where we record the advanced studies courses we teach, to our worldwide community through our online courses at yogaanatomy.net.

And another thing about how it started was simply to have a physical space in New York where people who taught in the tradition of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar could teach as they wished. There was no centre where that was possible prior to the Breathing Project, because any other place where you could teach, like a gym or yoga studio, would have an agenda as to what kind of class was expected.

I know you have a very busy schedule. How do you fit in a daily practicing of the asanas and meditation in your life?

Well, as I said earlier I don’t, I’m too busy. It’s all on an as-needed basis. If I can live my life, play basketball, ride my horse, do my bodywork, and demonstrate what I need to in front of a group of other yoga teachers without making a complete ass of myself, then I consider my practice to have done its job. If I feel that I’m unable to do any of those things because there’s something happening physically, then I go to the tools that I’ve developed over the years, but it’s certainly is not something I need or even want to do every day because I’m too busy doing all those other things I’ve talked about.

What can you recommend to people who want to start practicing yoga but for some reason keep putting it off?

I don’t know what to tell people like that. (Leslie laughs) Actually, I think we all want to do lots of things that are supposed to be good for us but keep putting them off for whatever reason.

The most common excuse I hear is, “I’d like to try it but I’m too stiff to do yoga.”

Maybe they see pictures, videos, and calendars of all these flexible people doing gymnastic things and say, “That’s not for me.” What I say is that being too stiff to do yoga is absolutely, exactly like being too sick to go to the doctor. There’s a yoga for everybody and it’s just a matter of getting over yourself and trying it. But, it’s the same thing with anything that requires change; sometimes we sabotage ourselves. What eventually happens is that our body, our system, our physiology creates an alarm that we simply can’t ignore. For a lot of people it’s being laid up with back pain for a month and having nothing to do but think about their lives. That back pain didn’t start off that way. It started as a whisper and then tried to become a conversation and then it started shouting and then it knocked you on your ass. So, I would tell people yoga practice is a way to tune into the conversation your body is always trying to have with you before it becomes critical – but quite frequently people need to become critical before it gets their attention.

Thank you for taking the time to do this Leslie. I’m sure the yogis and yoginis following this blog are pleased to find you here. If they want more they can best go to your site YogaAnatomy.net where they can book the online course, and sign up for your newsletter. Or just read more about the Breathing Project.

Thank you for your interest, Lucy.

Leslie can be found online on his website http://www.yogaanatomy.net/, Facebook, and Twitter.

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AMAZON | YOGA ANATOMY

 

How To Be True

“Being honest in looking within and acknowledging your motives is the first step,” Lucy says as she looks in the mirror finding her eyes and staring into their depths. “Truth and honesty aren’t necessarily the same thing. One can be true but profoundly dishonest with ones self, unknowingly. How easy is it to believe a false truth about ones self? Isn’t that far easier than face the truth of ones actions and their effect? Not only to ones self, but also upon those surrounding us. Live the lie, or face the truth and exercise Satya is a choice that should not be hard, but the first step is recognising one lives the lie is the first step to Satya.” Lucy smiles as she remembers how she found the truth about herself and still struggles to live according to Satya. “To heal ones self one needs to know the sickness and if that is unseen behind a wall of smoke and mirrors one puts in front of ones self to avoid the truth of ones self. To find ones inner most self one must dare to make the journey within.” Taking a deep breath Lucy rises to pour another cup of coffee. “The journey to ones inner most self is one filled with obstacles put there by the subconsciousness for to look within and see one for who one really is is a feat not all dare, or can manage. What if all humans would? What if all humans would find Satya, wouldn’t that be a perfect world?” She shakes her head and says, “But perfection does not exists, only life.”

take you by the throat