New Class Series: Ashtanga Techniques, January 14 – February 19 2014

Tuesdays, 5.30 PM with Melissa Clark
Pre-registration required
6-Week Course

In this six-week course we will explore fundamental techniques that are used in ashtanga yoga to enhance the physical practice of asana.  This class will build sequentially so registration for the whole course is highly recommended.



“Tristasana: Breath, Drishti & Posture”
We will learn and apply the tristasna method as an introduction to the ashtanga technique course.  In ashtanga we use the three points of attention: the breath, the drishti (or gaze) and the posture as a method for stilling the mind.  Ashtanga is often called a “movement meditation” and that description is apt when the practice employs these three powerful techniques.

“Extend & Flex: Dynamics of Vinyasa”
In this class we will explore how to use ujjayi breath to link postures.  We will learn how to stay true to the vinyasa count in many difficult transitions and how to access a deeper and subtler experience in postures through the breath.

“Mystery of the Bandhas”
In ashtanga yoga it is important to harness the power of the bandhas:  moola bandha for grounding and uddiyana bandha for accessing the strength to do a number of movements in the vinyasa sequence.  We will play with the complicated movements of jump throughs and jump backs, trying out different variations to build strength and endurance to make these movements fluid and graceful.  We will link this with other complicated vinyasa movements, like floating from titthibasana to bakasana with grace and ease.

“Aligning the Shoulder Girdle”
The ashtanga practice calls for a full integration of the shoulder girdle:  the repetition of the vinyasa movements requires an understanding of the alignment of the shoulders so that we don’t encounter strain or injury.  We will learn how to build healthy shoulder alignment in several postures like chaturanga dandasana, bakasana, pincha mayurasana, handstand and headstand.

“Opening the Hips”
In this class we will use classic standing postures such as trikonasana, parsvakonasana, virabhdrasana I & II to understand proper alignment of the hips.   We will use this knowledge of the alignment of the hips to access movements like padmasana and leg-behind head postures.  We will also do passive stretching exercises to release tension slowly and safely.

“Open the Front to Bend the Back”
Backbends require both openness and strength in the front and back of the body.  The hip flexors, chest and shoulders need to be open and the hamstrings, back extensors and shoulders need to be strong.  We will take our time breaking down this complicated movement, doing passive & active stretching to target each of these areas and play with several yoga backbends like salabasana, dahnurasana, ustrasana, kapotasana, and standing  up and dropping back from urdvha dahnurasana.

Cost:  $66 if booked by January 11, $72 otherwise.

Spaces are limited, preregistration is recommended.


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