Monday, September 28, 2009

Shadow Yoga: a workshop

The website states, "According to Hatha Yogic anatomy the body is composed of three discrete bodies and five sheaths, (coverings or shadows). The practice of Hatha Yoga has evolved with the purpose of dissolving these shadows." Mark Horner spoke for half an hour about shadow yoga. He described it as a discipline that cleanses the shadows which occlude your true light. Mark said that the body is a container for energy. He also made the point that our body is directly connected to food. The more food you eat, the body grows. If you eat less, the body shrinks. I had not thought about it in such simplified terms.

This is the first time I really made a connection to my body as a temple or vessel. And, the idea that I should tone and take care of my body to reach my more spiritual goals in yoga. I haven't really acknowledged, before now, that I had higher spiritual goals! Nonetheless, the talk that Mark gave was profoundly relevant to where I am on my yogic path. He told us the structure of the class was that we watch him and observe. Then, we do the moves as best we can. He often had us repeat moves. The shadow yoga moves are hard to describe. They were not asanas that a yogi would recognize. They look much more like moves from martial arts. The moves were more inclusive of all the parts of the body and all directions. The feet, ankles, hands, and wrists had more focus. I loved becoming more aware of the entire system of yoga and not just the asanas.

A few points I took away from this experience are:
  1. We are on information and stimulation overload. It is time to simplify and get rid of the excess in our lives and bodies.
  2. The less connection I have with my vessel and path the easier it is to abuse and ignore it. Yoga helps!
  3. A dedication to the body is a dedication to the soul. It is time to allow myself to be good to my self.
This workshop was a very intense experience and at a level that I would not have understood before now. It is true that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. Even if its only for one day.

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