The Empower Practice is a special three hour, immersion style asana class for intermediate and advanced practitioners.
Each practice offers students the opportunity to explore an aspect of yoga philosophy or wellness wisdom in-depth through the synthesis of theme, movement and breath. While the degree of asana difficulty varies somewhat from practice to practice depending on the philosophical theme being covered, each practice includes all classes of asana and several types of pranayama (breath work). To this end, students must be able to perform handstand or half handstand at the wall on their own and be comfortable with urdhva dhanurasana (full backbend) with or without props prior to attending an Empower Practice. If you have a question about whether or not you are ready, please contact me!
Through asana, accessible mantras, breath work, music and poetry we’ll explore the chakra system as a series of vital energy centers that serve as the meeting points between the body and consciousness. Expect an intermediate practice with modifications for beginners and options for those who want a challenge.
Creation is an ongoing process that draws us ever closer to the fullest expression of who we are. Yoga philosophy identifies 5 cycles or aspects of this creative dance of life. Often called the 5 Acts of Shiva, they are: Creation, Sustenance, Dissolution, Concealment and Revelation. Through awareness of and skillful engagement with the way each of these cycles plays out in our lives and yoga practice we connect to the inherent creative power within and fully participate in the living of our lives.
From the perspective of Ayurveda (the sister science of yoga) each of us embodies three doshas – or energetic and elemental constitutions that effect our health and wellbeing: Kapha – the dosha of earth and water; Pitta – the dosha of fire; Vata – the dosha of air and space. read more
To keep the three doshas in harmony and find balance we cultivate the power of mindfulness –paying particular attention to our tendencies and reactions so that we can make choices in life and in asana in ways that nourish and work with our particular constitutions.
Kapha ~ the unconditional nurturing qualities of the earth and fluid compassion of water/ grounding, steadiness of form, calm
Pitta ~ inner clarity and lightness, love, digestive fire, fuel, ability to transform instantly what needs to be transformed so that you can be as clear and vibrant as possible
Vata ~ harness movement and animation, channel creativity, adaptability and imagination
Described in Chapter 2 of the Taittiriya Upanishads the Koshas are a map, a way of describing various layers and levels of our experience. A Kosha is a “sheath” – the layering aspects of our being “superimposed over the subtle energy of the Consciousness that is at the core of our Self.” Like looking into a drawer full of clutter, we often experience life as jumbled. By organizing the drawer we can separate one object from another, making seeing things for what they are and finding what we need a simple task. Using the lens of the koshas we can separate and organize our experiences, seeing each aspect of our lives for what it actually is. Through a moving dialogue we isolate aspects of the Self and allow for a more expansive perspective; to see the drawer of our Self and all it contains bringing a level of clarity and maturity that empowers choice.
In the framework of the Mahabhutas, the five great elements, and the complementary Chinese Element/Organ/Meridian system we find a potent way of engaging the powerful dance of life.
By intentionally setting constraining conditions such as time, space (form – asana) and action that engage these elements and organ systems we equip, supply and fill ourselves with the elemental abilities and energy of the Heart.
Space (wood): the ability to expand, to exist in and absorb the full spectrum of experience
Earth: the ability to be stable, nourished, to find fulfillment within, to ground in the core of life
Fire: the transforming ability of Love, alchemy
Water: the ability to flow with one’s essence, to offer compassion, to let go, “to flow in the direction of one’s mission in life”
Air (metal): the ability to see many perspectives, to communicate within the body, to distribute the energy, to experience moments as precious (not overcome with emotion)
Thank you to Elena Brower, Laurie Batcheller (lbcreative.com) and Sarah Powers for informing this practice.
Daily living involves finding the balance between extroversion and introversion by attending to our external responsibilities and taking the time to nurture ourselves through quiet time, prayer, meditation, rest, yoga or other exercise. When we live all these aspects of our lives fully we harmonize their polarities and come to the place in the middle where inner stillness meets the wild expanse of the heart in its unending dance of creation.