David Swenson yoga workshop

David Swenson yoga workshop

I’ve just attended a great workshop with David Swenson in Easthampton organized by Hartsong Yoga. I’m publishing some pictures.


The information posted by the organizers.

Heartsong Yoga is over the moon to host David Swenson, one of our most beloved Ashtanga teachers who has influenced our teaching and our practices for the last 20 years. In the earliest days of learning Ashtanga Yoga, David would sometimes be in the northeast for a workshop or event, and we would never miss the chance to study with him.  We would fill in the gaps by using a VCR and practicing along with his videos.  A group of us took a week long teacher training “back in the day” in CT, we have visited him in the Berkshires at Kripalu and at our friend Kathy McNames Yoga Vermont studio in Burlington.  But usually he is in Europe, you can find him in London, Barcelona, the Netherlands, and Hong Kong…but now he is coming to Western Mass!

David Swenson, one of the world’s foremost practitioners and instructors of Ashtanga Yoga, began practicing at the age of 13 and has been teaching for 40 years. Introduced to Ashtanga in 1973 by David Williams and Nancy Gilgoff, David met K. Pattabhi Jois when he visited the United States for the first time in 1975. He traveled to Mysore, India, in 1977, and became one of a small number of people who learned the entire Ashtanga system, including all asana sequences and pranayama, as it was originally taught by Jois. David is the author of the best-selling book Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual.

6:00 – 8:00 pm
Life, Love and Living With Purpose

Seeking A Path, Building Dreams and Finding Peace
David will share Stories, Anecdotes and Insights gained over his more than 40 years of yoga practice and pursuits of spiritual life, love, health and adventure. David is a witty, humorous and inspiring storyteller. His life is filled with colorful, sometimes wild, sometimes sad, sometimes hilarious and always entertaining pursuits of knowledge of the world around him and the wonders that reside within us all. Within his tales of travel, fasting, chanting, seeking, studying, laughing and crying there is always a thread of sincerity of purpose that anyone seeking greater meaning of life can relate to and possibly even gain tools of insights of their own from the mistakes, successes, failures, triumphs and bumps along the road of life that David shares with honesty and heart-felt sincerity.
Buckle Up It’s a Wild Ride!  (Not an asana class)

9:00 – 11:00 am

Fully Led Primary Series Flow
Dancing with the Breath in a First Series Rhythm
This class is designed for those already familiar with the First Series of Ashtanga Yoga yet it is open to all levels of proficiency from the daily-practicing aficionados to the novice fit-it-in-when-I-can weekend warriors and everyone in between. The class will be conducted like a choreographed dance flowing along all of the way from the opening sun salutations to the closing savasana. David will spend time at the beginning of class to introduce alternatives to some of the more challenging asanas as well as offer user-friendly vinyasa options. There will be time at the end of the flow to enjoy a soothing, deep relaxation.
Required Items: Mat and Breath

12:30 – 3:00 pm

Really Hip Openings for the Hips
A Pleasant Exploration of Gentle Methods To Open the Hips
Tight hips can cause problems in other areas such as the knees and back. David has devised an approach of exploring the hips through slow and gentle movements, stable holding of postures and deep breathing which all combine to bring greater openness to the hips without forcing or pushing. To create stability David will share methods of activating one area in order to relax another. This balanced approach is both safe and effective and can be applied to other regions of the body as well. As always, David will manage to make this enjoyable experience.
Bring Those Tight Hips In For a Tune-Up!

3:30 – 5:30 pm

Seeking the Unseen and Experiencing the Intangible
Our first act of life as we enter this world is to inhale and our last act before departing is to exhale. Breath is our most elemental form of life and unites all of humanity yet we think little about it. The ancient yogis gave it great thought and in so doing developed intricate methods of harnessing breath to gain control of the mind and to see the world with greater clarity. This class will delve into the realms of specialized Yogic Breathing as well as the subtle and highly misunderstood internal energy valves known as Bandhas. There is much confusion surrounding these mystical tools and the part they play in the regulation and control of pranic flow. David will share information he gained directly from K. Pattabhi Jois as well as a series of practical exercises he has developed himself to assist the practitioner in gaining a greater understanding of these subtle yet powerful energy gateways of yoga. David has an amazing ability to convey complex ideas in simple terms. All are sure to leave with new insights and useful tools for personal practice regardless of their system.
Come and Feel the Prana!

9:00 – 11:00 am

Half & Half Fun Fest
Half First Series and Half Second Series Makes for Full Fun
This class is a talk-through of Half of Primary Series and Half of Intermediate Series. In Ashtanga the traditional approach for entering the Intermediate Series is to use the Primary Series as a yogic springboard to propel the student forward. There are many wonderful asanas in the Intermediate Series for strengthening and opening the back as well as the hips. Those that feel a bit uncertain about taking that first step into the realms of the Intermediate Series will find comfort in knowing that David always keeps it Fun, Safe and Incredibly Informative as he guides the group along in a compassionate and thoughtful manner using the first half of Primary Series as a wonderful gateway into Intermediate.
Come and experience the joy and wonder of exploring new asanas or deepening awareness and ability for the ones you are already familiar with!

12:30 – 3:00 pm

Flying, Floating and Handstanding
A Fun-filled exploration of Vinyasa and Arm-balances
One of the greatest challenges of the Ashtanga flow is the vinyasa. In this class David will break the vinyasa down into its basic components. He likes to refer to this as: “The Physics of Flight”. Participants will explore techniques for creating greater lightness and efficiency of practice while using less effort to achieve greater ease. The class will also explore the elements of handstands and arm-balances. It is common to feel intimidated or even frightened by balancing on our hands. David will address this issue and offer techniques and practical methods of approach to allow for greater confidence and ability that can be carried away and applied within a personal practice.  This will all be done through the avenue of insightful and simple methods he has designed through decades of practice and teaching others. There will be partner work as well as individual techniques offered. There is always plenty of laughter and fun as well as a depth of information David’s classes. All levels may attend even if you have never done a handstand before. Alternatives are always given.
Come and Experience the Joy of Flight!

3:30 – 5:30 pm

Tools, Talents & Techniques for Teachers & Serious Students
Presenting Yoga to the Individual for Health, Healing and Happiness
It is quite easy to teach someone that already knows how to do something. It only requires a verbal command and then waiting for the action to take place. But is that really teaching? Actual teaching requires specialized skill sets in order to apply the yoga to the needs of each individual. Every class that we teach can be considered a mixed-level class. This means special attention needs to be paid to those that are not readily able to do an asana or grasp an instruction. This requires patience, insight, sensitivity, experience and the ability to communicate clearly. Teachers need to be ready to deal with any circumstance that they are confronted with. It is our duty to find a way to present the yoga to anyone that is interested. Ashtanga is not meant to be some kind of elite fitness program just for people with two arms, two legs and a strong, flexible body. Pattabhi Jois once worked with a quadriplegic boy in Mysore. He did not refuse him due to limitation. This class will look at ways to work with both people with a healthy body as well as those with injuries or special conditions that limit their ability. By learning to recognize the inherent lines of energy in an asana a teacher can discover ways of bringing the student into harmony with those lines while also working within the realms of their limitations and abilities. This will be done through Q and A to explore specific conditions and situations as well as practical work with partners to apply the techniques.
This class is great for teachers or those just wanting to gain more insights into personal practice or helping others with theirs!

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