Ashtanga vinyasa is a vigorous, energising form of yoga, in which you move dynamically on your own breath. Expect to work hard and sweat. The postures and the level of intensity are very adaptable – so there is an ashtanga practice for everyone, regardless of fitness and flexibility (or not!). In my classes, you will find people practising gymnastic-looking postures and people working on very basic sequences. Everybody is welcome, and everybody is equally included.
While you will probably develop strength, stamina and flexibility in an ashtanga class, the real intention of practice is to offer attention to our physical, mental and emotional experience on the mat. In this way, over time, we can begin to recognise and shift unhelpful patterns (samskharas), enabling us to be human in kinder and more functional ways.
For me, being an ashtanga teacher is all about supporting people within the laboratory of practice. My orientation is somatic, which means that I welcome in everything we encounter through the medium of the body: thoughts, emotions, memories and the dimension of being that is bigger than our own single self. I invite you to listen to your body, honour your experience and understand what happens on your mat in the context of your whole life.
In ashtanga vinyasa, the set form – the sequence of postures – is the bones of the practice. It acts as a container: a crucible within which we can experiment and explore, and the alchemy of yoga can take place. At the same time, we each arrive on our yoga mat with a unique body, a unique background and unique life circumstances, so there must be some flexibility in how we meet with the form so that each of us can enter by a door that makes the practice accessible to us on any given day.
My intention as a teacher is to be in a dialogue with you, sometimes through words, sometimes through touch or breath or energy. This is a collaborative endeavour. I want your feedback; I want to know what’s happening for you. I may encourage you if you’re scared, but I will never coerce you to do anything, and you are invited to let me know at any time if you don't want to be adjusted, or if an adjustment is too strong or just not working for you. I want your practice to empower you, and I hope that we can be in creative partnership.