Morning practice of the Primary Series on our Ashtanga Yoga Retreats with Peter
The Yang Practice. Yang is about unlocking the qualities of our inner strength, the Sun
The first series of ashtanga vinyasa yoga is known as yoga chikitsa. Chikitsa means to practice the science of yoga or therapy by bringing together a mindfully balanced sequence of postures (Asanas) and synchronizing each movement with the rhythm of the breath (Pranayama).
So the Ashtanga yoga method is a theraputic practice used to strengthen and re-align the body. When we develop an inner awareness of the sensations coming from the body and how the body moves within the field of gravity we enter into meditative moments of dynamic stillness. As we learn to glide on the sound of the ujjayi breath through the journey of postures in the primary series a recognition & understanding of the intimate relationship between the mind, body and breath begins to emerge as we see the interconnectedness of all phenomena are not seperate but are directly effecting our experience of each posture on our yoga and meditation retreat.
Peter has modified the sequence of postures for the primary series practice over the years based on his own experience of teaching and listening to practitioners sharing on the retreats. He has been teaching ashtanga for over a decade. His sequence incorparates gentle heart opening and strengthening backbends to counter balance the predominance of the forward bending and his appraoch is to build from the foundation of every posture. He emphisizes exploring the edge of sensation and teaches the practices in a way that builds strength and flexibilty by activating muscles to align the body.
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The Sequence of postures begins with suryanamaskara A (sun salutations) which then leads to sun salutation B. This is the foundation from which we build our practice. We then move into the standing sequence, followed by the primary series and then closing sequence and these will all be leart on our yoga and meditation retreat here.
Evening practice of Yin Yoga, Regulating Breath Work & a subtle exploration of the Bandhas (energy locks) with Sue
The Yin Practice. Our Yin yoga retreats are about surrendering to our shadow & gently exploring the deeper, Quieter, Feminine, Lunar aspects of our nature. An essential balance to the more stimulating morning practice.
Sue has been intensively studying, teaching & embodying Yin Yoga since 2012 & refining & redefining her teaching of the Bandhas for many years. The sessions provide an opportunity to go deep in a safe, sensitive, non judgemental holding environment. Sue has come to recognize that knowledge as to why it is beneficial for us to integrate certain practices is essential for empowerment & self efficacy. Her goal is to inspire & enable students to develop an informed home practice which is compatible with & relevant to their own unique constitution & limitations. As a qualified Yoga Therapist she has extensive anatomical & physiological knowledge relevant parts of which she integrates into the yin practice in simple & understandable & often humourous language. She focuses alot on the importance of the regulation of the breath & Autonomic Nervous System as we navigate the higher vibrational frequencies of the Shift of Ages.
Sue weaves many themes into the sessions including Yama-Niyama (the attitudes & orientations of Yoga Practice) The Koshas (dimensions of our existence) Modern Meridian theory, traditional chinese Medicine, upregulation of gene expression, A Taoist exploration of the Visceral organs, the Yoga of sound & mantra, aspects of mindfulness to consolidate the morning themes & paint them on a yin canvas, Yin in the historical context of the reemergence of the divine feminine & masculine aspects of us all & dropping into the void of deep silence. She invites you to surrender, soften & become absolutely still. allowing you to observe clearly your individual blockages, tensions & emotional hurts & gradually dissolve them sensitively & safely. As a caring & approachable teacher Sue always makes herself available to students.
The practice taught at our retreat center is based around the first series and the second series, taught in a way that allows young and old, experienced, inexperienced practitioners to enjoy a detailed led practice. We teach in a way that allows conscious awareness of the breath, bandha's and the relationship between the muscles, tendons, ligaments involvement in our movement. When using Drishti, Ujjayi breathing and the bandha's correctly we begin to fan our internal fire (Agni) which allows the muscles to become more malleable and the postures less of an effort. As we move through the asana series each and every organ in the body gets stimulated, this enables stagnant blood to be put back in to circulation wthin the body and allows the organs to be flushed with fresh oxygenated blood improving the function of our organs and ultimately clarity to our minds.
The postures and your own edge
Many of the postures of the primary series can be quite intense and if not accessed in the correct way can cause serious injury to the practitioner. Finding correct alignment in all of the postures is of paramount importance as this is the only way that creates freedom for the movement of the diaphragm . Variations will be given if a posture is too intense.
Assists and Adjustments
During the practise Peter will be giving assists to those who are ready to move a little deeper into a posture or are having difficulty in aligning the body correctly to access a posture. Peter takes great care and is very sensitive and intuitive when working with your body and its capabilities, to experience the posture fully, you must feel safe and nurtured and not pushed or pulled. Adjustments are given to everybody and may be verbal or physical.
Everyday we will be cultivating a meditation practice. Peter teaches different forms of meditation and we will choose one for the week, including mindfulness, vipassana, antar mouna, spontaneous, visualization or object meditation walking meditation. The practice is guided and builds as the week progresses.
Pranayama (expanding the dimensions of the breath)
For one morning session during the week we have a therapeutic breathing with awareness class. This practice helps balance the mind and emotions, directly effecting the pranamaya kosha or our energy body.
Core strength vinyasa
Peter teaches this class at the end of the week and this is his own practise that he has developed over the years. When working the core we are directly affecting the Hara (power centre) and then direct this energy through the body allowing entry to a new experience of vinyasa as we distribute the prana.
Shamanic Drumming & chanting
Our last practice on a Friday will be to listen to the beat of the drum as we delve deeper into our internal experience and look at the possibility of allowing the spirit to journey to other dimensions. This journey will be led by Peter
Sue will be holding a closing chant for all to join in and create a vibration to be felt right through your own consciousness.
Single £550 - Shared Twin or Double £500pp - Eco caravan £450
Stone Cottage £600pp
Yoga Evolution Retreats, Amieira, Oleiros, Castelo Branco, 6160 052, Portugal - 00351 272 634 004
with Sue & Peter