Mark Stephens at Doktor Yoga
8-9:30 Vinyasa Flow Class
A model Vinyasa Flow class designed for beginning to seriously advanced students. Includes all asana families (standing, core, arm support, back bends, twists, hip openers, forward bends and inversion). This class will emphasize alignment and energetic actions in each asana, and the importance of slow and conscious transitional movements.
10-12:30 Core and Arm Balances
Arm balances simultaneously require and help us to develop strength, flexibility, focus and openness. These qualities are heightened when movement into the pose involves hip rotation or flexion - poses like Bakasana (Crane Pose), Astavakrasana (Eight Crooks Pose) or the Mukta Hasta Sirsana Vinyasa (a sustained series of interconnected arm balances initiated from Tripod Headsdtand). More concentrated mental focus is harnessed when then moving into poses involve steadier balance, such as Adho Mukha Svanasana (Handstand) and Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Balance). Practicing these asana sequences safely and consciously leads to equanimity, confidence and personal freedom well beyond the mat.
In this workshop, we explore how to approach hip-intensive arm balances with proper preparation, patience, intelligence, compassion and integration, including with core abdominal cultivation. We will look closely at the basic elements of each asana and work on cultivating the integrity of these elements as we integrate them into the fuller asana. We will also look at specific wrist and shoulder therapies to better sustain these practices.
13:30-16 True Hip Mobility and Deep Forward Bends
Hip openers and forward bends share many basic forms and energetic elements, and they are ideally sequenced close together as part of the more calming and integrative part of a practice. A key aspect of their healthy practice involves learning how to create true mobility in the hips, which leads to deeper opening and safer, more sustainable practice. With each pose, we step into the Yoga Lab to learn how to look at, see, understand, and relate in a meaningful way with effective verbal and hands–on cues to students who exhibit different challenges and tendencies in that particular pose.
A model Vinyasa Flow class designed for beginning to seriously advanced students. Includes all asana families (standing, core, arm support, back bends, twists, hip openers, forward bends and inversion). This class will emphasize breath-centered practice in which each asana and transitional movement occurs around and through the integrity of the breath.
This workshop draws from and integrates both the western anatomy and physiology of respiration and the esoteric anatomy and physiology of subtle energy found in ancient yoga practices. We cover the fundamentals of basic yoga breathing (ujjayi pranayama) and how to refine the pranayama experience through several specific ancient breathing practices, including sama/visama vrtti, viloma, kumbhaka, kapalabhati, nadi shodana and more recent forms such as holotropic breathing. Covers basic concepts of subtle energy and how to guide students in cultivating awareness of the principal bandhas in asana and pranayama practices.
13:30-16 Yoga for Better Sleep
We begin with a one-hour lecture on the nature of sleep as understood in ancient to modern yoga and in contemporary neuroscience and psychiatry, distilling insights how yoga can help us to have better sleep. We then explore yoga practices for different sleep problems, including general insomnia, hyperarousal, emotional depression, timing issues such as jet lag and shift work, and breathing disorders such as sleep apnea.
8-11:30 Meditation + Healthy Back Open Heart
Fear of moving into the unknown is just one of the many challenges of back bending. Restriction in the spine, tightness in the shoulders, hips and groins, and weakness in the arms, legs and abdominal core all contribute to the difficulties one might encounter in stretching and opening the front of the body. At the heart of it all is the heart and a lifetime of embodied experience – every joy, trauma, hope and dream from childhood to the present moment pulsating inside to the rhythm of the heartbeat.
This workshop will utilize a variety of techniques - including heart-centered guided meditation, core integration, hip & groin openers, shoulder openers and spinal twists - to help you move safely and joyfully into a deeper backbending, heart opening practice. We will discuss the functional anatomy and biomechanics of movement and positioning that most lend to stability, ease, and opening more deeply to it all.
13-16:30 Practicing and Teaching Backbends and Twists
This workshop focuses on the unique experiences and challenges that arise in doing different types of backbends and the role of twists in resolving the tension that develops in the body in doing backbends. We will look closely at Locust ABC, Sphinx, Bow, Camel, Little Thunderbolt, Pigeon, Bridge, Wheel, and Inverted Staff, exploring a variety of twits (Half Lord of the Fishes, Sage, Marichyasana, and others) along the way. With each pose, we step into the Yoga Lab to learn how to look at, see, understand, and relate in a meaningful way with effective verbal and hands–on cues to students who exhibit different challenges and tendencies in each pose.
8-9:30 Restorative Yoga Practice
Before and beyond the world Yin, we find ancient to modern yoga practices for restoring our tissues, recharging our energy, and renewing our outlook on life. With slow and deep exploration of asanas, here we explore how to progressively release deep layers of tension and open to greater ease while sustaining our energetic balance on and off the mat.
10-12:30 Designing Amazing Yoga Classes – Part I
Rather than a pre-set and fixed arrangement of postures that often leads to repetitive stress injuries and rather than a random and often irrational class sequence, here we focus on how to design classes based on the informed ordering of poses. The basic question we ask is, “why this pose before or after that pose?” Rather than random or excessively creative sequencing, this workshop is based on how the body works (in terms of functional anatomy, biomechanics, and subtle energetics) and how to make the practice of asanas as safe, accessible, and yet as deep as possible. We begin with theory and principles, then apply these insights into planning amazing yoga classes.
13:30-16 Designing Amazing Yoga Classes – Part II
Continuation of Part I.
“When someone mentions the gracefulness of the night sky, climb up on the roof and dance and say, like this?”