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Secret Life of Yoga with Richard Rosen
Jun 15, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm| $160
In this series of four workshops, we’ll go into the life of yoga below its everyday surface. We’ll begin with a broad survey of the most important questions relating to the central question, What is yoga? We’ll then look into the text considered the earliest expression of Hatha Yoga, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (“Light on Hatha Yoga”), the school from which most modern yoga styles have emerged, or at least have been strongly influenced by. Next we’ll explore the world “within” the yogis’ world, our subtle body and its relationship to the cosmos. And finally, we’ll translate the traditional subtle body into one modern counterpart practice, the essential lines of movement or modern energy channels (nadis), based on the pioneering work of Mabel Ellsworth Todd and her ground-breaking study of human movement and posture, The Thinking Body.
Wednesday, June 8 6:00-8:00pm
Yoga FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
The world of yoga is vast beyond our imagination, not surprisingly for a movement that’s at least 2400 years old There are, however, several key questions the answers to which go a long way to answering the central question, What is yoga? In this workshop we’ll ask that question and others, drawn primarily from the book Yoga FAQ: Almost Everything You Need to Know about Yoga–from Asanas to Yamas. We’ll also consider questions posed by attendees, you, that is, but only if you sign up and sign on.
Wednesday, June 15 6:00-8:00pm
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (“Light on Forceful Yoga”), compiled by Svatmarama (“he who delights in his own Self”) in the mid-15th century, represents the first concrete step in the discipline of Hatha Yoga. Unlike today, when what we know as Hatha Yoga is often conceived and practiced for health and fitness reasons, the ultimate goal of the traditional practice was the awakening our innate spiritual potential, kundalini Shakti. This was accomplished by working with our body’s vital energy (prana) through a variety of means, including posture (asana), body “seals” (kaya mudra) and “bonds” (bandha), formal breathing exercises (pranayama), and what’s known as Nada Yoga, the yoga of subtle sound. The teaching of many influential later texts were patterned on and borrowed from the Pradipika. In this workshop we examine both the philosophical and practical aspects of yoga as described in this text. Please be sure to look through the text before the workshop and come with lots of questions. (see recommended translations below)
Saturday, June 18 1:00-3:00pm
The Subtle (sukshma) World of Traditional Yoga
Wherever you are right now, take a look around. What do you see? Put in the broadest way, things–and maybe a person or two–but mostly solid things. Of course there are possibly “things” there we can’t see, things that might be too small to see without a microscope, for example. But for the most part, our world is populated with solid things.
The old yogis world was solid too, they called matter prakriti, literally “making (kr) first (pra).” In other words, to have a solid world, we have to make matter first. But there was another dimension to the yogis’ world, a subtle dimension that could only be contacted in a state of deep meditation, often called samadhi, literally “put together.”
When we look at things with our eyes, we see their surface features, like color and shape, other features if we engage other senses. But no matter how much we may examine things with our senses (unaided by instruments like microscopes), we’ll only scratch the surface of the thing under scrutiny.
But if, on the other hand, we do what the yogis did and, through meditation, put ourselves together with some thing and so bypass the limiting senses, we’ll “see” it in its essence and know it for what it truly is. For the yogis, the material world was the tip of an enormous ice berg, 90 per cent of which is hidden from our senses. In this workshop we’ll talk about the yogis’ subtle world, in our body the subtle energy network (nadi cakra), the energy centers (cakra), and how our subtle world is a microcosmic re-creation of the macrocosmos, the world “out there.”
Saturday, June 18 3:30-5:00pm
Modern Energy Channels (nadis)
According to the Hatha tradition, there are 72,000 subtle energy channels spreading into every nook and cranny of our body. These channels transport vital energy (prana vayu) throughout the physical body, and like a river bed need periodic cleansing to keep the passages open energy flowing smoothly. Of the 72,00 channels, 14 are usually singled out as most important.
The “channels” in this workshop are based on the work begun by Mabel Todd in her classic study of human posture, The Thinking Body, and the follow up work of two of her students, Lulu Sweigard (Human Movement Potential) and Barbara Clark (A Kinesthetic Legacy). Unlike traditional nadis, these modern channels are for the most part located on the body’s surface, and so easily accessed. They can be used to construct an imaginative framework for the body to establish proper alignment in asana and sitting for breathing and meditation. The material is divided into two parts: the first is dedicated to simple, asana-based exercises to establish the channels; in the second part we’ll put into practice with an asana sequence the exercises we learned in part 1.
Cost: Full series $160
About the instructor: Richard Rosen
RICHARD ROSEN took his first yoga class in 1980, graduated from the teacher training program at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute in San Francisco in 1983, and began teaching full time in 1987. Richard was a contributing editor for Yoga Journal for many years, writing feature articles, columns, and yoga CD and DVD reviews. He’s also written five books published by Shambhala, the latest, Yoga by the Numbers, due out in the Fall of this year. Richard teaches public classes at Nest Yoga in Oakland, CA, is on the faculty of training programs at the Nest and Tri-Yoga in London, England. For the last 35 years he’s lived in a cottage built in 1906 in beautiful Berkeley, CA
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