Summer News 2019
Happy New Year! It’s that time year again: time to start something new, time to get back to the things that keep us healthy and happy, time to get back to the things that we are truely interested in after all the distractions and excesses of the summer holiday period. This term we will be firing up our Agni with a focus on the Balakrama, the first of the Shadow Yoga Preludes. This prelude builds a solid foundation on which all the following works rests. It clears the channels, and builds the fire so that we can progress through whatever challenges arise with ease and grace. As it is the beginning of the year, all classes are open to all levels from the complete beginner to those with more experience. For more information on how this works click on the classes tab above. The early morning 6am classes are best taken as a second class as they are taught as a flow class with little time for detailed explanations of the practice. If you have not yet tried the Tuesday or Thursday 6am classes feel free to come along for a trial class before committing to those early mornings. It’s a great time of year to get your early morning mojo on, far easier than the winter. If your not a morning person make sure you get organised and have all your clothes laid out the night before ready to go. This seems like such a simple thing but it really does make a difference and is key to setting a good mindset. Also, setting the alarm at 15 minute increments, 5.00am, 5.15am, 5.30am, 5.45am, giving yourself plenty of time to wake up, then wake up again, then wake up again and finally drag yourself out of bed! Sounds like torture and if you have someone sleeping next to you they might want to kill you but in no time at all you’ll be waking up before the alarm even goes off. And lastly GO TO BED EARLY. There is no point setting yourself up for failure. Believe me it is worth it. That time of the morning is golden, the energy is ripe for change.
Shadow Yoga is so efficient,
there is no time wasted, no unnecessary activity.
These holidays I had the pleasure of skiing again for the first time in 30 years. As a teenager skiing was something that really didn’t faze me, I had some natural ability. I certainly never worried about hurting myself or getting exhausted by it. At 46, however, it was a different story. I was concerned how my body would hold up and certainly had some trepidation over falling and causing serious injury. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was fit and strong for the activity and felt secure in my balance and coordination; a great side effect of my yoga practice. It’s not often that I get to test out my health and fitness as all I do is my Shadow Yoga practice and the purpose of yoga is not actually a fitness regime (despite what Insta might be telling us), it’s purpose is enlightenment. It is good to have reassurance though that you are fit and well and strong and can cope with whatever life throws at you. The more I do get the opportunity to test out my body, whether it’s swimming out to the break on Victorias rough beaches, doing a BJJ bootcamp with my teen or shifting cubic metres of compost in my garden, the more I realise just how brilliant and whole Shadow Yoga is: nothing is missing, nothing is forgotten, it’s got you covered. So many yogis doing other forms, working with other teaches that I either follow on Insta or know personally do a lot of yoga but also feel the need to go to the gym, or jog or swim to compliment their yoga practice. This means that maintaining our physical body becomes such a time consuming huge part of our lives leaving not much space for anything else. With Shadow Yoga this is totally unnecessary and most of the serious Shadow Yoga, practitioners are a testament to this, glowing with health and vitality. Shadow Yoga is so efficient, there is no time wasted, no unnecessary activity. I am constantly surprised at how well this system has been thought out and the brilliance of my teacher Sundernath in his tireless pursuit of this path. So for those students who have been working with me for some time and are still feeling like they can’t let go of that expensive gym membership or personal trainer, or are still jogging or power walking, have faith that if you’d rather just be working on your yoga then it will have you covered. For those new students who are wondering if they can just do Shadow Yoga to keep you fit, healthy and vital, then yes you can. These physical attributes are just side effects to keep the body purring along in the background so the real work can begin and real changes can take place.
March 15 - 17
Shadow Yoga lecture and workshop
In other news Shandor and Emma, my teachers, will be in Melbourne running a Shadow Yoga lecture and workshop March 15 - 17, at the Abbotsford Convent in Collingwood. This is a rare opportunity to learn from two leading practitioners of Hatha Yoga. Sundernath (Shandor Remete) is the founder of Shadow Yoga and Nṛtta Sādhanā and is an initiate of the Goraksha Sampradaya of the Kanpatha Yogis. Emma Balnaves is the director and teacher of Shadow Yoga and Nrtta Sādhanā and has been teaching yoga for over two decades. This weekend is open to anyone who has an interest in Yoga and no previous yoga experience is necessary. It is sure to be an enlightening, fun weekend at the beautiful Abbotsford Convent. More booking and information is available via the Yoga Moves website. https://yogamoves.org/shadow-yoga-lecture-and-weekend-workshop-abbotsford-convent-oratory-15-17-march-2019/
Deconstructing Yourself podcast
If you would like an inspiring podcast to listen to Chandra Easton a fellow Shadow yogini from the States has been interviewed by Michael Taft of the Deconstructing Yourself podcast. I met Chandra briefly during my last trip to Adelaide. Chandra and Michael talk about gender and sexual misconduct in Buddhism, why compassion must be a part of spiritual practice, and the place of the guru in modern culture. Chandra shares her personal story of dealing with sexual misconduct at the hands of her teacher, tantric practices as a technology for awakening, internalized patriarchy, and how love and kindness is the whole point of spiritual practice. Also included are guidelines for choosing a teacher, reimagining Tantric practices in non-binary ways, and much more. I found it a really interesting discussion and certainly thought provoking. Chandra has been studying with Emma and Shandor for close to 20 years. She has also studied Buddhist philosophy, meditation, and Tibetan language at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, India, and translated Tibetan Buddhist texts on meditation with B. Alan Wallace. She has studied with many Tibetan and Western Buddhist teachers such as H.H. Dalai Lama, H.H. Karmapa, Lama Tsultrim Allione, B. Alan Wallace,Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche, and Jennifer Welwood. She is currently the Assistant Spiritual Director & Head Teacher at the Tara Mandala Retreat Centre. So all in all, well worth a listen!