THE COMMON THREAD: ASANA, PRANAYAMA AND MEDITATION
Ashtanga is said to be a moving meditation, but what exactly does this mean? How can a practice of breath and movement expand our consciousness? How can it uncover the fundamental elements of our psychology, and allow us to engage those elements more intimately? How can it draw us out of ourselves, make us more present, and awaken our compassion for other beings?
In this special summer intensive, we explore these questions on the medium of our own bodies. We study the internal dynamics of Ashtanga, and we uncover the simple but potent techniques that bring the practice alive—tracing internal currents of breath, balancing subtle patterns of sensation, moving our bodies from the inside, and settling ever more deeply into our own skin.
These techniques reflect the Tantric origins of Ashtanga. They allow us to make space within ourselves for psychical forces to flow. When these forces well up from the depths of our bodies, and move through the emptiness of our minds, they open us to the exhilarating experience of coming undone. This experience, into which we shall inquire deeply during our time, is the common thread of asana, pranayama and meditation.
Our mornings will be full with asana, pranayama and meditation, followed by group chanting and philosophy. In the afternoons, we will explore various dimensions of anatomy, alignment, psychology, mythology and technique. These sessions will all be organized to enhance our experience of the practice, by enriching our understanding of what we are doing, and connecting with the elements of the practice that have the most profound impact on consciousness. Through these explorations, we begin to touch the depth of Ashtanga, and this enlightens our motive for practicing. We begin to realize that the purpose is not to expand ourselves, but to break ourselves up, and make room within ourselves for consciousness to breathe.
This intensive is designed for people who want to follow the contemplative thread of Ashtanga Vinyasa into the open expanse of consciousness. Some previous exposure to the method is highly advised, but there are no requirements of postural or technical proficiency. Such things are not essential to our purpose. What is essential is that we engage ourselves precisely as we are, with honesty, compassion and humor. To explore the contemplative dimension of the practice, we have to surrender our performative ambitions anyway. People with injuries and special conditions are absolutely welcome, and everyone with a genuine interest in the subject is encouraged to join.
The Intensive will begin on Monday, August 13 and end on Friday, August 24. The days will go from 7 AM to 4 PM, with a two hour break in the middle for lunch. The weekend, August 18 and 19, will be off, except for Mysore class on Sunday morning. We will have an informal gathering on the afternoon of Friday August 24 to celebrate our time together.
The Summer Intensive will be held at the Yoga Workshop in Boulder, Colorado. Our city sits on a high plateau, about 1,600 meters above sea level, tucked up against the Rocky Mountains. In the summertime, the daytime temperature can rise into the 80’s or 90’s but the air is always quite dry, and it becomes cool at night. Boulder is know for its gorgeous mountain scenery and ethereal atmosphere, and has long been an inspired center for contemplative practice. It is progressive and serene, and you can walk or bike almost anywhere. In short, Boulder is lovely.
The best way to access Boulder is to fly into the Denver International Airport (DIA), and then take a bus ($13) Uber ($70) or Lyft ($70). The distance is about 40 miles. The busses are comfortable and will take you all the way into the center of the city. They run from the airport every hour, except in the middle of the night. Check the schedule in advance.
Since Boulder is a popular destination for visitors in the summertime, you are encouraged to seek accommodation as early as possible. The best resource is Airbnb. You may also inquire about rooming at Marpa House, a Buddhist residential community affiliated with Naropa University, and featuring dormitory-style living a quiet and contemplative environment. They offer full room and board, with kitchen access as well.
The Summer Intensive is $1200. Registration is secure upon deposit of $400. The balance is due by July 15. Refunds will be issued upon request, minus $100, until July 15. No refunds will be issued after that time. Register here.
If you are coming to Boulder for the Summer Intensive, you might also wish to take Teaching With The Hands, a 5-day Assisting Intensive with Ty and Mary in the week prior. That intensive includes morning Mysore classes as well, and runs from August 4-10. The cost is $600. Register here.
And if you want to stay the whole month, you are more than welcome. You can stay an extra week after the Intensive is done, and take Mysore classes with us at student rates.