Michael, an E-RYT certified yoga instructor, has immersed himself in many styles of yoga since 2002 including Ashtanga, Bikram, and Baptiste. With a Ph.D. in Physics, Michael spent nearly a decade exploring the fundamental structure of matter at particle accelerator laboratories around the world. He finds yoga (philosophy & asana) to be the perfect complement to his stringent scientific profession – both work in tandem to increase energy and awareness. The challenging flow of Michael's classes will leave you feeling strong and centered - his approach to teaching will develop confidence, flexibility and strength.
This class covers all the postures in the first half of the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series. It includes sun salutations, standing postures, several challenging seated postures, an introduction to back bending, and the full closing sequence. Gentle pranayama, meditation, and/or Yoga philosophy are taught, at the discretion of the teacher.
In practicing Ashtanga Yoga your attention will gradually move from gross to subtle. You will tend to feel the physical aspects of your body first, and then eventually, with ongoing practice, feel the more subtle aspects of your body.
The slower you move, all the way to sitting still in meditation, the more subtle is your awareness. The faster you move, the more gross your awareness. However, when doing a faster Vinyasa practice you move energy and tend to release physical blockages more readily. This leads to greater ease in the body.
A balance to the demands of the Surya based Ashtanga is to regularly practice meditation and to practice a softer, gentler Asana practice from time to time. I consider Chandra Krama (or something like it) to be essential for all Ashtanga practitioners, men and women. This sequence will help you rebalance energetically, psychologically and physically. In particular, as over 80% of Ashtangis are women, the need for a sequence that is focused on menstruation, ovulation and the phases of the moon is absolutely necessary.
The Moon Sequence takes pressure off the shoulders and upper body (evidence of the Rajasic elements of the Ashtanga practice) particularly for students who work too much, or too soon on the jump throughs and jump backs. It places more emphasis on the lower body, the hips, and a soft and stable abdomen.
The heating basis of Ashtanga Yoga, in conjunction with the attempt to practice six days per week is inappropriate for most women. It may also be inappropriate for many men, at least long term. This may be a hard thing for some practitioners to accept, nevertheless it is true. Two hours of Ashtanga Yoga, six days per week can cause too much weight loss and can also aggravate joint stability due to repetitious strain. For women, excessive practice can disrupt your menstrual cycle and can add to difficulty having children. Even if the latter is not what you want, an intensive Asana practice without a sequence like Chandra Krama will usually lead to some kind of imbalance, physically or otherwise.
The Moon Sequence is intended to help awareness of the cycles of the Moon and encourage your intuitive faculty. It is not intended to entirely replace your Ashtanga practice, or any other practice for that matter, rather to enhance and balance your weekly routine.