The Festival Programme

Each day consists of four sessions. Sessions can be chosen at check-out, when you come to buy your ticket. Click 'Learn More' below for full sessions descriptions and bios of the speakers. Take a look at the Schedule to see exact timings and what each day will involve. 

 

day one sessions:

Saturday 13th October

 
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Doug Keller (SOLD OUT)

The core of Movement: Sacral rhythm and the health of the sacroiliac joint in yoga practice

At the core of movement is the natural undulation of the sacrum within the sacroiliac joint, but traditional and overly simplistic instructions about the action of the tailbone have largely overlooked these simple movements. And yet they are at the heart of the ‘bandhas’ as well as the key to keeping the sacroiliac joint healthy and happy.

In this practice-oriented asana session we’ll cover the basic movements of the sacrum and the muscles that need to be isolated through simple instructions to support these movements. These will be applied in a wide range of common asanas, with special emphasis on maintaining the health of the sacroiliac joint in twisting poses — along with encouraging a deeper appreciation of the value of twisting poses! As a bonus, students will leave with a deeper appreciation and experience of the bandhas of the lower body — Uddiyana and Mula Bandha, and their role in low back health.


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Ruth Westoby (SOLD OUT)

Women and the Esoteric Feminine in Yoga – a Historical Perspective

In this talk Ruth Westoby will trace the role played by women in the history of yoga and the gendered construction of the yogic body. Roles for women and gendered esoteric constructs offers a perspective on roles offered to and taken by, women – the construction and reconstruction of dharma. Haṭhayoga texts are written by men, for men, about men. They display a caution, bordering on prejudice, towards women and tend to dissect and objectify the female form. There are some references to female practitioners and practices for women, and the use of women in ritual contexts. Despite the scant evidence of women practitioners there is a strong theme of accessing and manipulating female energy for soteriological – spiritually transformative – ends [.....]


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Bridget Woods Kramer (SOLD OUT)

Sequencing

Discover how to creatively and intelligently sequence your classes to reach optimal results for your students. Learn the functional and energetic relationship of the postures, and how to safely prepare students for a peak pose and how to integrate counter poses for each posture category.


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Bridget Woods Kramer (SOLD OUT)

Upayas Masterclass

A practice to stay steady, not to waiver from the path but tread lightly as life is precious, every moment is to be enjoyed. This will be a slow flow moving from within, from ones centre with grace, opening the heart and hips for seated meditation, followed by deep relaxation.


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SOLD OUT: Heather Mason

How Yoga Can Change the World

With all of the advances in society we are faced with an international climate where greed, lifestyle choice, and reduced interpersonal interactions are destroying our ecosystems, impacting our health at epidemic levels, and creating significant social isolation. This talk will explore how the integration of yoga into various sectors of society can lead to conscious better choices, reduce the economic burden associated with lifestyle disease, and promote prosocial behaviours. During this talk the audience will have an opportunity to share ideas as to how to best integrate yoga into British society.

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David Sye (SOLD OUT)

Yogabeats: a celebration of the Human Spirit

The session begins with an exquisite rise out of stillness and a dissolving of personal boundaries, a gentle rise in energy through a variety of seated bandhas and pranayamas. The session will rise to an energetic crescendo beyond just a physical experience and create an exuberant emotional state, a celebration of the Human Spirit.


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Ruby Reed & Christabel Reed (SOLD OUT)

Practicing for peace inside and out

We can only achieve peace in the outside world if we achieve peace within ourselves. While it is generally acknowledged that yogic practices help develop a sense of peace and clarity, we often limit its use to our relationship and treatment of ourselves. From the perspective of the Bhagavad Gita it is our sacred duty to maintain harmony not only within ourselves but in the world around us. Drawing on both Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, Ruby Reed & Christabel Reed, founders of Advaya Initiative, will explore how we may enact our dharma through clarity in action, developing stability and consistency within ourselves so that we can practice for and achieve Peace within and without.


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Satish Kumar (SOLD OUT)

Yoga As A Way of Life

We begin our yoga with our bodies. If our bodies are not healthy and strong nothing can be achieved, therefore the first step of a yogic way of life is to learn good physical posture, asanas, pranayamas and so on. But that is only the beginning – we also need to practice yoga of the mind, yoga of the heart, yoga of relationships and living in the world in a yogic way. Yoga is a complete philosophy of personal, social, spiritual and environmental living.


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Karuna Jackman (SOLD OUT)

Dharma in Action for Autism

There is a huge prevalence of diagnoses of autism/ADHD in children and young people today. The application of various Special Yoga tools and methodology can bring the system into a calmer relaxed state, addressing sensory and motor orientation as well as balancing and calming the nervous system. This is the state of yoga is where they can function from their optimum and full potential, and bring them in line with their own life's purpose or Dharma. The session includes asana, meditation, pranayama, theory, talk.


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Mark Singleton, Jacqueline Hargreaves, Jason Birch & Ruth Westoby (SOLD OUT)

Film Seminar & Panel: Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati: A Precursor to Modern Yoga

The Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati is one of the ten Sanskrit texts that is to be critically edited and translated as part of Haṭha Yoga Project (HYP), a 5- year ERC research project hosted at SOAS, University of London. The Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati extends our knowledge of Haṭhayoga in India prior to the arrival of British colonialism as it locates moving and strenuous āsanas within a premodern tradition. Another striking innovation is the categorisation of āsanas into groups with the notion of sequences. This panel will begin with an introduction by Jason Birch and Mark Singleton, followed by a video re-construction of an āsana section along with Sanskrit recitation. A Q&A session will conclude the panel.

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Ruth Westoby (SOLD OUT)

Ashtanga: Form and Release

Ruth will use the Ashtanga sequence as a framework to experiment with this precise moment in our bodies and hearts and minds. She will guide a dynamic yet reflective practice which incorporates breathe work, traditional Sanskrit count, and meditative visualisations. Using the first half of the Primary Series we will unravel themes of structure and release, focus and dissolution, and breathing alive.


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Michael Geary (SOLD OUT)

Dharma Dynamics — ‘The secret of how things work’ (vedic astrology)

An introductory talk on four simple ideas that are the secrets of a good life. —What can guide us in times of change and uncertainty? What can create clarity in times of confusion? How can we be certain about our chosen direction, while remaining open to discovery? How can we fully express our authentic self while also achieving harmony in our relationships and work? Michael answers these and other questions by talking about Dharma – the yoga pathway to living a full and healthy life. He describes how living Dharma is achieved through four principles that can guide us and help us balance our lives. Participants leave the presentation with a new way of seeing the world and with practical tools that empower them to make optimal choices that improve their quality of life.


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SOLD OUT: Jason Birch & Jacqueline Hargreaves

Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati: A Re-construction of the Practice.

This workshop will present the history and practice of the only sequential āsana routine that has been preserved in a premodern manuscript, namely the Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati (‘a manual on the practice of Haṭhayoga’). Students will learn about this text's significance in the corpus of Haṭhayoga and its contribution to the traditions of yoga at the Mysore Palace and its possible influence on Kṛṣṇamācārya. This session will guide participants through an exploratory practice based on a truncated sequence of the more accessible āsanas in the Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati. The Sanskrit descriptions and some nineteenth-century illustrations will be presented so that various possibilities and ambiguities for each āsana can be investigated. The earliest known dog and cat poses, which are very different to those in modern yoga, will be included, as well as various birds and reptiles. In total, one hundred and twelve āsanas, many of which are based on the movements of animals, are described in this eighteenth-century yoga text. The āsanas are divided into six sequences and some of them involve repetitive movement and require extraordinary strength and flexibility, as well as the use of rope. Many of these āsanas remain unknown to modern yoga practitioners.


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Miranda Taylor (SOLD OUT)

THE SACRED SOUND

Miranda will teach a meditative workshop on the orthodox understanding of the sacred sound Om. How to work with it, its meaning, the correct Vedic recital and the use of ‘jappa’ and a subtle practice to incorporate meditative techniques to enhance the practice. Handouts will be provided.


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Scott Johnson (SOLD OUT)

Ashtanga Yoga – Cultivating a practice for life

Unveiling the simple wisdom and focus of ashtanga yoga we will look at the principles that sit at the root of the ashtanga yoga experience, body, breath and mind. Working with these principles we will then see how the dedicated practice of ashtanga yoga can be the backbone of how our life unfolds for us. Importantly we will see that we are always in a process of noticing and listening. The Ashtanga yoga method continually refines this process. The session will involve asana, theory, talk.


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Miranda Taylor (SOLD OUT)

MOVEMENT AND SOUND

Miranda will lead us into a gentle class introducing sound to our practice which helps lengthens the breath, work on the nervous system. Sound is used as a tool to go deeper into the practice, train our minds to focus and experience a positive and specific result. Everyone is welcome and modifications will be provided, such as chair sitting and lying for those that need. No experience of yoga or chanting necessary just a willingness to give it a whirl!


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Mark Singleton (SOLD OUT)

Dharma ain’t what it used to be

We are told that dharma is eternal and unchanging. It pervades, orders and structures our lives, our communities, the universe itself. However, modern ideas about dharma have their own peculiar history, and have taken this ancient concept in some strange new directions. A long-time keyword in globalised yoga, dharma has also become a reference point in the self-help industry, popular psychology, career counselling, and even ‘enlightened’ business practice. It is claimed that it will help you find your True Path, your True Purpose, and even your True Self: alluring promises indeed in our ‘post-truth’ world. But what if, rather than revealing ‘true selves’ with ‘true purpose’, modern ideas about dharma project and reinforce the alienated modern self they seek to save? What if, instead of showing us what we really are, modern conceptions of dharma in fact tell us something vital about what we are becoming—as individuals and as a society? And what if, instead of the solution to the ills of modern life, dharma is just one more symptom of the problem?


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Françoise Freedman (SOLD OUT)

Open a new Dharma cycle with prenatal yoga on and off the mat

Pregnancy is a time of intense transformation in the creation of new life and the emergence of new family ties. Yoga can ideally support a deepening alignment with Dharma, helping pregnant women to get closer to the true values of Being. Childbirth is a physical, psychological and spiritual process that can only be approached in a holistic manner, also planting the seeds of Dharma in the next generation. The majority of women who come to yoga for pregnancy and birth are new to yoga: they need a direct, easy but authentic access to its essence. In this session I would like to share some of our Birthlight adaptations of yoga practices that pregnant women often describe as ‘life transforming’. Flow, breath and movement are combined in practices accessible to ALL women, on and off the mat. Yoga then alleviates fear and anxiety and opens the way to self-nurture in preparation for the challenges of baby-nurture. This expands into spirals of joy and wellbeing in all areas of life.


day two sessions

Sunday 14th October

 
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Colin Dunsmuir

Doing your Dharma: Finding Purpose through Practice - SOLD OUT

“My body quivers and my hair stands on end. The bow Gandiva slips from my hand and my skin burns all over. I am unable to stand; my mind whirls as it were and Kesheva, I see adverse omens.” Arjuna, Bhagavad Gita 1.29-30

Come to Colin's meditative workshop and talk where we will look at yoga's tools that are useful and practical to help pacify these conditions - so beautifully expressed by Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. Symptoms such as trembling in the body and mind; immense fear, burning ailments and whirling emotions such as anger, doubt and a lack of purpose are common to us all. We will be invited during the practice to find the ability to maintain focus, explore new possibilities within the mind and physical system, and find compassion for ourselves in daily life.


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Tarik Dervish (SOLD OUT)

Dharma and your Ayurvedic Prakruti

The concept of Dharma is an intrinsic part of Ayurvedic thinking and philosophy in the sense that it forms the backbone of our personal constitution or Prakruti. When we have formed a strong relationship with ourselves, then our sense or Dharma naturally arises. Dharma in this sense represents where we need to place ourselves in the wider society and how we need to contribute to the greater whole. Our natural talents and abilities are recognised and validated and as we contribute, we experience a deep sense of belonging and “right living”. This session will be an exploration of the concept and journey of Prakruti. The session will start and end with a meditation but will mainly be talk and discussion.


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Karuna Jackman

Reaching Dharma for Special Needs

Our mission is to inclusively and holistically support children with additional needs through our multi-dimensional Special Yoga and Mindfulness methodology. It is when one is operating at one's full potential, feeling peaceful and connected, that Dharma can be realised. Come and experience some Special Yoga tools as a therapeutic intervention in this session. The session includes asana, meditation, pranayama, theory, talk.


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Susanne Lahusen

Balancing Stability and Mobility in Vinyasa Flow

This vinyasa flow class in structured to balance stability and mobility. Special emphasis will be given to making the class safe for hypermobile students while maintaining flow, interest and challenges for everybody. We will look at sequencing, language and how to broaden our perception of progression. Whilst we are striving for balance, we need to become aware of individual anatomical differences, our habitual tendencies, of how we initiate movement, and how we can find centring and focus without disturbing flow and ease of breath. Most of the sequences will be standing ones, with some supine and seated experiential work and relaxation at the beginning and end.


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Heather Mason

Yoga and mental health

The system of yoga was designed for mental cultivation. It is therefore not surprising that yoga is increasingly being used as a complementary treatment in mental health conditions. This talk will explore how the ancient 8-fold path aligns with the modern biopsychosocial model of mental health care, mechanisms through which yoga exerts its healing effects on individuals with array of mental health problems, and research on yoga for mental health.


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Scott Johnson

Ashtanga Yoga: the self practice method as a tool for waking up

Yoga is about waking up. The traditional teaching and sharing of ashtanga yoga is based on a direct teacher/student relationship. The teacher teaches the method, the student learns the method and becomes self reliant. They wake up to yoga in their lives. In this current era, with so many amazing yoga methods, Ashtanga yoga still shines as a beacon for cultivating a personal yoga practice. In this session we will look at how the self practice method evolves so that the process of yoga becomes about the student taking responsibility for their own yoga practice, therefore responsible for how yoga is unveiled in their lives. We as teachers can then act as guides and continually wake the student up to what is being processed as they develop as practitioners


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Ruby Reed and Christabel Reed

rewilding from within

An exploration of the concept of Rewilding as a tool to recognise our deep bond with the natural world and build connections to find the deeply sacred in that which surrounds us. By peeling back the layers of separation we build strength, awareness and openness and are able to flourish in harmony with our authentic selves and the world around us. We will begin with a discussion circle and will move to work with the Breath through Pranayama and Sound, the Body through Asana, and the mind through Awareness.


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SOLD OUT: Zoe Knott

Supine Hip and Hamstring Stretches

A relaxing session after lunch to stretch and open the hip area. Bring a strap and block.


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David Sye

MOVING BEYOND BOUNDARIES AND THE SACRED ANCESTORS

I would bring in a variety of mystical and sacred ceremonies, contemplations and meditations from around the world, including chocolate meditation! We will explore visualisations, community encounters and partnership exercises, plus a sharing and open Satsanga on 15 spiritual truths.


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Tara Fraser

Patterns, context and freedom to change - how to yoga in the modern world

Its all getting bit complicated isn’t it? How do you pursue an ancient practice in a modern world with due respect for its origins and recognition of the changed times we live in? In these workshops we will revel in the amazing diversity of our understanding of what a yoga asana practice is and engage ourselves in exploring to what extent we are supported, enslaved or liberated by the work we do. What insights from our own experience will we pass to the next generation of yoga practitioners? Are they valuable gems or worthless modern misapprehensions? Accessible class open to all, mostly practice based, some discussion, a lot more fun than I have made this sound….


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Liz Lark

Crossing the rainbow bridge

CROSSING THE RAINBOW BRIDGE Imagine a bridge in it’s landscape, a metaphor for making a crossing, for connecting. Sense yourself in the landscape as you walk towards the bridge. Crystallise your intention for practice, creating a short phrase, a sankalpa, a mental bridge to deepen your trust in direction. Commit to the carving of your dharma (purpose) path. You have already come a long way. Name it: Sequencing towards…

STEPPING ONTO THE BRIDGE We begin to travel through the natural elements (‘Maha Bhuta’) to purify the energies within ourselves. We call upon our five senses, to awaken our somatic ‘felt sense’ of proprioceptive awareness, how we are in this present moment. We inhabit the ‘primordial feeling place’ to strip away conditionings (‘samskaras’).

SOMATICS: PERCEIVING THE BODY FROM WITHIN: Proprioceptive awareness, self sensing, experientially. As you practice, recall a word, or line of poetry or song which connects you with a sense of rooting and stability. Write/ paint these on leaves or textured paper, to read during practice.(Butterfly/ leaf templates to paint on)

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Gary Carter

EXPLORING THE WAY OF GRAVITY

Vanda Scaravelli has a saying: “Going with the body and not against it”. This respects the fundamental laws of Gravity and the response of our system to it. Through the nature of practice we really understand how we can create efficient arrangements in our movement practice so we can prevent the accumulation of stress and injury to our bodies by working efficiently with this constant force. The far reaching effects of Gravity on the Fascial network in Yoga and movement practices can either maintain ease, lightness and graceful movement or can create restrictions to movement and practice. We also explore through the nature of our Anatomical layout how we can allow this natural law of Shape to help us find freedom in motion, along with the very latest understandings of the Fascial structure, a fascinating part of human anatomy and function.


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SOLD OUT: Lisa Kaley-Isley

Cultivating Sattva: Empowering the Mind to Follow Dharman

The instruction that “mastery over the roaming tendencies of the mind is yoga” exists to remind us that our usually busy, sometimes racing minds are capable of operating at a steadier pace. That calmer, clearer state is desirable and achievable through yoga practice. We need to experience it in order to really know it is possible, and we need to repeat it in order to trust it is reliable. The key techniques are how we use our bodies, regulate our breath, and focus our minds so that they become yoked together in a harmonious, effective state of being. Together we’ll review guiding concepts and experience simple practices to integrate into daily life, home practice, and teaching to move from rajas to sattva. When we are firmly established in sattva our minds and purpose become more clear and empowered, allowing us to tread the path of our dharma with vitality, resilience, and enthusiasm.


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Zoe Knott

Preps for supported handstand

Everyone can work towards Adho Mukha Vrksasana, or handstand. We will approach this asana by working with specific techniques to strengthen the supporting muscles. The postures will be broken down and considered stage by stage. There is a stage for everyone. The session is very much about the ‘Journey’ towards.... Bring a strap.


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Wendy Haring

Bringing Dharma into Practice

A session based around Bhagavad Gita XV111 45-47. Explanation of slokas, slow meditative practice of asana with chanting, samantra pranayama, finishing with short meditation. Short talk, chanting in asana, pranayama, meditation


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Françoise Freedman

Postnatal Yoga as re-creation of core alignment with Dharma with breath and micro-movements.

Far from just “returning to normal” postnatal yoga can be offered as an opportunity to create new foundations for one’s being after the profound transformation that every pregnancy and birth brings about. This is in line with all world traditions including Ayurveda, where new mothers (parents) are supported in their personal and social transition of being. This session will show how the breath, altered by the expanding uterus, can be re-discovered as a powerful tool to help muscles, ligaments and fascia create better organ support and spinal alignment in postnatal bodies. The micro-movements pioneered in Birthlight act on the core of the self, at the root of the spine, nurturing the nervous and endocrine systems with a connection to the heart. Postnatal “self-re-creation” practices are best done soon after childbirth, but they are also effective in different ways for mothers, years, even decades later. Men and women with no children have also used these practices with benefits after major transitions in their lives, particularly post-surgery.


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SOLD OUT: Bridget Thornborrow and Sarah Lindsey,

Opening The Heart - the path towards backarches via spirals and twists

Using the Scaravelli-inspired approach to mindful-movement and breath awareness the session will explore how we can loose tension and open the body with ease through Vanda Scaravelli’s core principles of ground, breathe and release.


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Susanne Lahusen

Hypermobility - Finding the Middle Way

This session explores how hypermobility affects the body and mind, and how to work with it in ourselves and others. Today’s culture tends to see yoga largely as a tool to make us more flexible, and classes often attract people who already possess greater than average flexibility. Recent myofascial research and findings from the field of pain science are beginning to influence our approach to stretching and its effects, not only on fascia, but also on the nervous system. Hypermobility might look like an advantage, but it needs to be addressed with knowledge and awareness so it does not lead to pain and habitual tensions. The practical part of this workshop will be a vinyasa flow class that is structured to create awareness of initiation of movement, and to balance stability and mobility. The class will address the needs of hypermobile yogis whilst maintaining flow, interest and challenges for everybody. We will explore the choices we can make in sequencing, how to add experiential elements, our use of language, and how to broaden our perception of progression


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SOLD OUT: Andrea Kwiatkowski

Life of Chi

Chi Energy is the unseen life force in your body and everywhere. It is a universal energy that penetrates everywhere uniting all the manifestations of the universe, visible or invisible. In Japan it is often referred to as "Ki", in China it is referred to as "Chi" or "Qi", and in Sanskrit it is known as "Prana". In this yin yoga session we will explore ancient techniques that support Chi. Meditation and mindfulness practices will enhance the afternoon, growing the spirit body from the inside out. This session is suitable for students who have an established meditation practice. Please bring the props you will need, a blanket and a cushion can be helpful.

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SOLD OUT: Andrea Kwiatkowski

Leave your mind alone!

The Buddha learnt many techniques during his time in the forest travelling with the sadhus and yoga masters, but he struggled with eternal peace until he surrendered under the bodhi tree. This yin yoga session will explore leaving the mind alone, the everyday mind concept and shamata meditation alongside the mindful practice. It will include a yin style asana practice so please bring props you will need, a blanket and a cushion can be helpful.


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SOLD OUT: Tarik Dervish

How to pay homage to yourself in Yoga

There are many yogic practices that help to bring greater clarity and understanding of who we are and what we want out of life. Many practitioners believe that yoga is just about physical health on the one extreme or about completely transcending the self on the other extreme. In truth, yoga is about unravelling the secrets of who we are by bringing the body and mind into balance and uncovering what we really want. Without this realisation, it is difficult to live an authentic life because we are always living by other people’s models. We will explore some subtle yoga practices including Pranayama, meditation and Yoga Nidra. These practices are designed to take us deeper than the discursive, polarised mind and enable us to re-evaluate who we think we are.