Joey endeavours to weave in clear alignment instructions, to allow students to experientially learn more about connections and patterns between postures. This can facilitate an understanding of the body-heart-mind a little bit better, finding a balance between stability and flexibility, dynamism and passivity. We hope these insights will help people to practice in a way which is functional and sustainable for the body, allowing for longevity in practice.
Joey will teach two class options in the morning so that each workshop participant is free to choose the method they feel most appropriate for them on the day. The first will be a Mysore-style Ashtanga class and a the second a Led class. These are the two key methods used in the Ashtanga system, each with their own beauty and benefits.
In a Mysore-style class, students have the opportunity to develop their concentration as a tool for experiencing glimpses of silence, each moment of silence allowing our identification with a limited sense of self to soften and resulting in a grounded, expansiveness.
Each student practices at their own pace, led by and anchored in their own smooth breathing rhythm, following the Ashtanga sequence as they have been taught, up to place where they have instructed by a teacher.
As the teacher is not required to stand at the front and provide instruction to all students simultaneously, they are free to help each student individually, in a quiet, introspective atmosphere, giving both verbal and physical adjustments to guide students towards a balance between effort and ease in each pose, and to provide clarity around key actions and alignment in the pose.
We ask that students have a pretty confident grasp of most of the first half of the Ashtanga Primary series, in order to be able to practice independently. This is to enable Joey to try and give an equal level of time and input to each student.
In the led class, the Primary series will be guided through with the traditional Sanskrit vinyasa count. The teacher talking through the count, is to a led class what a conductor is to an orchestra, setting the pace, the tempo and keeping the musicians playing together in harmony. The music is the breathing. Students synchronise their breathing to create a symphony of concentrated breathing movement, where the sense of the individual self softens into the experience of group. This method of practice, with each movement and breath instructed, requires a focus which often leads to an effortless quietening of the thought chatter, and broader experience of self. Alongside the rhythm of the count, Joey will intersperse alignment instruction to deepen your understanding of the poses.
The afternoon will be a restorative session. Leaning towards a mood of ease. All physical effort is relinquished, the body is encouraged to rest and passively release tension in a series of supported poses. Subtlety of awareness is possible when we leave aside intense sensations. The glimpses of silence experienced in the mornings dynamic classes may be expanded in this more passive method of psycho-physical practice. Although many of the poses are deceptively gentle, they have the potential to create a profound shift in your inner state.