THE COMMON THREAD: ASANA, PRANAYAMA AND MEDITATION
Ashtanga Vinyasa is often said to be a contemplative practice, but what exactly does this mean? What form of consciousness can the practice of Ashtanga induce? And how can that consciousness impact our mental lives?
In this special summer intensive, we explore these questions on the medium of our own bodies. We study the internal dynamics of Ashtanga Vinyasa, 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 skin. As we absorb these techniques, we begin to understand their role in supporting an unusually vibrant but also grounded state of consciousness, in which we can relate to ourselves more openly and authentically.
The techniques in question allow us to make space within ourselves for the full spectrum of our psychical forces to flow, without catching us up in their drama. And when we hold ourselves in that space, suspending our reactions while the forces of our minds unfold, we can have the exhilarating experience of coming undone. This experience, into which we shall inquire deeply during the intensive, is the common thread of asana, pranayama and meditation.
Our mornings will be full with asana, pranayama and guided visualizations of the subtle body. In the afternoons, we will explore various dimensions of anatomy, alignment, psychology, mythology, philosophy and technique. These sessions are designed to enhance our experience of the practice, by enriching our understanding of how the practice can induce contemplative states of mind, and connect us to the elements of the practice that have the most potency. Through these explorations, we begin to understand how Ashtanga unravels the psyche, and we enlighten 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 wherever it leads. 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. To explore the contemplative dimension of the practice, we have to surrender our performative ambitions, and engage ourselves precisely as we are, with openness, compassion and humor. 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.
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.