Ashtanga Yoga with David Garrigues in Ulm, Germany

Sitting at Frankfurt airport reflecting on my weeks intensive with David Garrigues in Ulm, Germany. Wow – it was awesome!

Each day started at 7 am with 2 hours Mysore practice, David would say ‘Samastithi’ and we would come to the front of our mats and he would lead the opening chant.  Last year I said to David that he sounded exactly like Guruji when he chanted, this year I noticed that he even stands the way Guruji did!

The Mysore practice was followed by a 15 minute break and then we did pranayama, chanting and study of Patanjali’s yoga sutras.  Each day David focused on a specific chapter/aspect of the sutras in detail.  If I’m honest, whilst I have dabbled with the sutras and studied them when training to become a teacher, I find them hard going/ challenging – until we got to day 6, when I felt that finally ‘I get it!’ I understand why they are SO important to our practice of yoga – call me slow, but regardless, I am now so excited about the possibilities the sutras hold and the knowledge I have yet to acquire.

We then had a 40 minute break followed by ‘asana kitchens’, looking at different aspects of the primary series, what we are looking for in the pose, where we find the strength etc and David addressed people’s questions/challenges they were facing with each pose. These were intense sessions and at the end of them we had 30 – 40 minutes of self study, to reflect on our learnings of the day and re-visit those aspects that we felt needed further investigation.

David on many occasions emphasised how important it was for us to really understand within our own bodies what each pose meant for us and it was this self reflection and understanding that was our true teacher.

This week has revealed to me how important my inner strength is and how my practice helps me find this.  Most of us start yoga with an asana practice and from this we find physical strength and flexibility. By being disciplined with our practice we find our inner strength and that inner strength and understanding can only come by listening and learning ourselves – the answers are within        (look and you will find) but to find these answers we need the strength of the practice and as we progress with the physical practice, with a disciplined daily practice, the inner strength is revealed.

Our day started at 7 and ended at 2pm each day with no opportunity to have anything more than a light snack – we were starving! David’s comment on this – ‘you have all afternoon to eat!’  Initially I was concerned I may keel over without food for that length of time but actually it wasn’t so bad after all.

So here are some of the many things I learnt this week:-
Discipline with my practice
Connect to earth in every pose – use the power of the earth to find our power within
Breathe to the end of each breath, through the whole body/pose – it’s from the breath that we find a strong connection to bandha
Listen not just with our ears, use all our senses
And the most important – I have so much to learn!

Thank you David, for sharing your passion for ashtanga yoga with us, your enthusiasm and energy in delivery are awe inspiring

The weeks workshop with David was hosted by Heidi Jelic in Ulm, Germany, a beautiful shala in a beautiful city.  One of the many wonderful by products of ashtanga intensives is that you get to visit places you may never have thought of going to otherwise.

Musings from a coffee shop

We are delighted to bring you the BAYoga Studio blog. On here Cathy and the team will talk about various explorations into yoga. In this first post, Cathy talks about her thinking behind running back bending workshops…

Why on earth have I decided to do a back bending workshop?!  Well, quite simply because I find them challenging, in fact I’d go so far as to say that they have been my nemesis for many years.

I’d like to share my challenges and how I have worked on developing my back bends so that it no longer overtakes my whole practice.  This used to be one thought:- “Oh no, its backs bends soon, may be I’ll give them a miss today, well my back feels a little tender after all!” Yes, guilty…where is my focus when anticipating back bends?!  Not in the present moment that’s for sure, which means that I am not connected to my body and my brain has taken over – grrr!  Not being in the present moment and anticipating what comes next has often spoilt the enjoyment of my practice, by quieting the monkey brain, (which has a tendency to take over during difficult poses)  along with a thorough search of making back bends approachable, they have become much more enjoyable.

This workshop is the result of a search through various back bending workshops that I have attended, workshops with ashtanga teachers, hatha flow teachers and iyengar teachers, one of whom taught back bends from a wheelchair.  All preparations for back bending have been tried and tested and from these I have prepared a workshop that will be inspirational and fun.  You will have tools to take away and work with, and hopefully back bends will become like a new found friend that lifts your spirits and opens your heart.

Join me on the 30th November 1 – 3 pm at BAYoga studio – How can you resist!

For more information about the workshop, view the workshops page.

BAYoga Studio Yoga Introduction

Yoga is a philosophy of life, which also has the potential to create a vibrantly healthy body and mind.

Benefits of yoga
– Get strong, toned, flexible
– Stand taller, breathe better
– Be calmer, more focused

Ashtanga yoga is a dynamic and physically demanding style of yoga where movement is synchronised with breath, linking a set sequence of poses in a constant flow. This creates a detoxifying heat (be prepared to sweat) and has the effect of stilling the mind and creating a feeling of calm focus. Increased strength and flexibility along with a reduction in feelings of stress, are some of the many benefits of this powerful practice