Tuesday, 27 November 2012

New class starting 4 December

The first course of classes in The Space, South William St.   -  http://phil55.wix.com/south-william-space - will start on Tuesday 4 December, 6.30pm-7.30pm.

As the final Tuesday in December is Christmas Day, I will be arranging a substitute workshop the Friday after Christmas in Sandymount.  The workshop will be based on restorative practices and Yin yoga - perfect after a few days of family, food and excess!


Drop in rate    €10

Monthly rate   €30

Register interest now.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Vinyasa Flow at Yoga Barn

My first class in the Yoga Barn in Ubud was both amazing and extremely humbling.  For a start, it was 30 plus degrees so within minutes in the open air studio I was in a lather, panting and feeling like I hadn’t been on a mat in years.  My fellow students were extremely adept.  One tanned blonde Adonis-like Scandinavian (who went to every class I attended) was the most flexible human being I have ever beheld and took variations that I previously had not thought anatomically possible.  Nonetheless, I couldn’t but look at him with a teacher’s eye and notice that his spine was so flexible that it was collapsing even in down dog.  As he rushed from pose to pose adding his own complicated variations, I wondered if he was connecting at all with his practice, or basically showing off.  (A few days later he was joined by his girlfriend, with whom he did some partnered Cirque de Soleil type balances.  Perhaps they were acrobats after all?)

The class was extremely challenging but quite different than any class I’d been to before so I have included below a few notes on the sequencing, which I hope my fellow teachers and practitioners will find interesting:

·       Warm up:
o   Cross legs - inhale chest forward, exhale chest back
o   Kneeling - arm movements linked to breath
o   All fours - ams - plank - knees, chest to bhujangasana. X 5
o   Arms - extend right leg, knee to chin x 3. Low lunge, lower to chaturanga, Up dog, down dog, low lunge with opposite leg. Step to forward bend. Tadasana. Repeat 2-3 times each leg.
·       Ukatasana - vira III
·       Uktakasana, hold at low point. Twist. Variation - side crow
·       Surya Namaskar B.
Down Dog - lower to elbows push forward to chaturanga, Up dog to down dog x 3
·       Vira II, reverse Vira II (goddess pose), Parsvakonasana
·       Padamottanasana, possible balance
·       Vira II, high lunge with twist, Ardha chandrasana
·       Happy baby, roll back and forward. Straight legs. Navasana - ankles crossed, straighten and back to upright. Repeat crossed the other way.
·       Ams, extend leg, knee to same elbow, knee to opposite elbow. open out to side at right angle (aptly described by the Japanese teacher as “like dog peeing”), slide across body and straighten leg. Wildcat.
·       Vira II, low lunge, shoulder under elbow. Possible balance
·       Squat, Bakasana jump back to chaturanga. Vinyasa.
·       Lying, fist under pubis, elbows tucked in, raise legs.
·       Salabhasana
·       Dandasana, Paschimottanasana
·       Wide leg seated stretch
·       Bend knee and take out to side at right angle with body. Elbow to straight leg, both arms touching head in a side stretch.  Straighten lower arm to lie beside straight leg, take upper arm above head and reach for toes.
·       Marychasana c,  cross upper leg, twist and bind.
·       Hook knee over shoulder, stretch out leg. Bend left leg, cross over right and balance
·       Headstand. Counter poses and cool down.
·       Savasana

Friday, 23 November 2012


Just arrived back in Dublin, where my blog has decided to work again, so here is an update on all things yoga in Bali.

The ashram did not prove a success.  It felt a lot more like a homestay where meal times were fixed at unpleasant hours and activity started at 4am.  Maybe it was because there was only one other guest staying, but we were not encouraged to participate in the prayer ceremonies.  The one that I did attend, evening prayer, felt a little bit like sitting in on an Irish catholic family as they were saying the rosary before bed.  Yoga, of any sort was not a big feature of ashram life and the one class I attended was really a very basic guided practice.  So I took my jet lagged, sleep deprived self off to a hotel and sat by the pool for a few days while I made a new - far more expensive and therefore shortened plan.

So after a few days jet-lag recovery (and a spectacular scuba dive) in Candidasa, I arrived in Ubud.  It's yoga central and it could have been designed just for me.  The main street is filled with shops selling lovely yoga clothes, Buddhas, crystals and other spiritual paraphernalia; Ayurvedic centres, reflexology centres; and organic, vegan, environmentally friendly restaurants. Heaven!  I had to repeat to myself that the prayer beads, figurines of Hindu deities, spiritual art, wooden handcrafts and closely clothes will not look so attractive back in Dublin.  (Well a few souvenirs are allowed!)

By far the best thing about ubud is the Yoga Barn, a huge compound with 2 yoga studios, organic cafe, Ayurvedic healing rooms, and workshops on everything from Kirtan to the intriguingly named hula hoop jam. I have just four days in ubud so I intend to make the most of them and take as many and as varied classes as possible.  I went to a level 2 vinyasa the first afternoon, and I think it must be one of the strongest classes I've ever attended.  Exhausting but invigorating.  All of the teachers proved extraordinary and it was truly humbling to view the strength and elegance of their practice, especially from where I was standing, beet-red and sweat-soaked on a slippery mat.  Lovely!  

I've made notes on all the classes that I attended which I'll post over the next few days.  Hope they will be of interest to fellow teachers and in your own practices. 


Thursday, 1 November 2012

The last module

Yesterday was the last day of the last module of my teacher training.   A beautiful end to an extraordinary experience, I could never have imagined as I started this course that it would bring such wonderful people into my life and that a group of people who spent a mere 200 hours together would become so important to each other.  I guess it must have been all the time spent doing manual adjustments on each other, standing on each other's backs and practicing 'basketball bum'!

I can't help thinking back to my first attempts at teaching and all the friends who bravely allowed me to use them as my guinea pigs.  Notably, testing out my first teaching assignment on an unfortunate friend ("ok, you can practice on me but can I leave the West Wing on?"  "No!!").  Even when I've been frustrated at using up my annual leave to do this course, especially at 7am on a bank holiday Monday, I've enjoyed every minute of teaching and practicing with friends, and all the cups of tea, baked goods and gossip that accompanied it.

I've promised to keep in touch with everyone so my next post will be from Ashram Gandhi in Candidasa, Bali.  I'll make sure to post photos of terrifying bugs and me washing floors so you don't think I'm having too good a time : D