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- Teacher Training
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Why have I chosen the Vinyasa style?
This style is a method, not a system, thus it is totally ‘open’, what a system is not. I offer variations on an initial posture, and I stay a certain number of [my] breaths in each. If I was to have the students stay, say, 15 breaths in an uncomfortable posture, not sure they’d gain any benefit. But if I ask them to stay, say, 3 breaths in 5 variations, then I am sure, and it is visible that they gain benefit.
“Yoga” changes, evolves. And it has to, because life is movement itself, if you refuse change, you refuse life! and yoga is becoming more and more modifiable: we, yoga teachers, are free to use stillness but also movement, and I have discovered this need of adaptability in my own body, before I observed the same evolution around me, should it be from Youtube clips, or any other source available through the Net.
I also alternate movement with stillness, then again movement, then again stillness… What I observe in my students and my own body is a much better alignment, a greater comfort, a greater confidence too in what we can do, ‘we’ being my body and my mind together.
I have no reason to follow any one else’s sequence, not even Pattabhi Jois’s famous ones, because this person had a different body from my own. I deplore that all yoga teachers who teach so-called “Mysore-classes” are so dogmatic as to refuse I join the class to do my self-practice, with what MY body needs. I dream of a flexible yoga world, where Mysore-style teachers would simply allow whoever to do their own stuff while guiding them, and adjusting them without imposing them someone else’s sequencing! When I taught “Mysore” style classes, this is what I did!
In Krishnamacharya’s teachings the term “Vinyasa” simply designates an appropriately formulated “sequence of steps” (krama) for approaching a given posture, and not the fixed, repetitive schema of Ashtanga Vinyasa.
Krishnamacharya was innovating all the time in response to his students. He would make up variations of the postures when he saw that some of his students could do them easily. He was inventing and innovating. Krishnamacharya never emphasized a particular order of poses; there was nothing strict about observing order with him.
Krishnamacharya’s teaching did not conform to a fixed or rigid order of postures but was undertaken in a spirit of innovation and investigation, an assessment confirmed by Desikachar: Krishnamacharya used to modify postures to suit the individual, and would create (or “discover”) new postures when needed. The fundamental principle of Krishnamacharya’s teaching is that the yoga practice must be adapted to suit the period, location, and specific requirements of the individual. The age and the constitution of the students, their vocation, capability, and the path to which they feel drawn all dictate the shape of a yoga practice. (Inspired from a precious book, “Yoga Body” by Mark Singleton to who I am grateful)