Claire Dambawinna is running a brilliant new workshop on Saturday 24th November at 2:30pm, come along and refine your technique.

How will Yoga Technique The Ashtanga Primary Series Part 1 differ from a regular Ashtanga class?

In a regular class we mostly flow through the sequence holding each pose for 5 breaths. We may sometimes look at a particular pose or part of the sequence in a little detail and as teachers, we might offer one or two modifications but we don’t really have the opportunity to spend a huge amount of time doing this. A workshop is different in that it affords us the time and space to move deeper and spend time breaking down poses or parts of a sequence to really find the version of the pose that works best for each person. This workshop offers various versions of certain poses including the sun salutations, giving everyone the chance to try each one and decide which works best for them. Students can take notes or video/photo to help them to remember after the workshop so that they can then take that knowledge into their self-practice or classes.

We’ll also look at the breath. One of the joys of  Ashtanga is that there’s almost a rhythmic quality to the practice which can be hard to find when you’re new to the practice as there’s so much going on! So we’ll also be looking at how the breath links with the movements so that students can also start to experience that quality to the practice.

Will you be introducing students to the Sanskrit count?

I will! The Sanskrit count is the traditional way that a led class is taught in Mysore. The teacher counts in Sanskrit and each count equates to a breath and corresponding movement. So in Sun Salutation A, Ekam, inhale means One, inhale. On this count everyone inhales together and reaches the arms up. Dwe, exhale is Two, exhale and everyone exhales and folds forwards … and so on! It’s a lovely way to practice. We breathe and move in time and in harmony with our fellow students.

Does a student need to be physically strong to attend this workshop?

Not necessarily. Students need to have been practicing yoga regularly for a little while in order to attend this workshop. Its true, the Ashtanga Primary Series is a physically demanding sequence especially if you practice the whole thing and practice the full poses. However, traditionally you would practice only the poses that the teacher felt you were ready for. So, in this workshop we’ll be focussing only on the standing and seated poses, which is around half of the primary series. My intention with this workshop is to offer students various versions of the poses so that they have a roadmap to be able to work towards the full pose. Have a look at the Yoga Kula Instagram page for my sun salutation variation videos within the Insta TV section.

You’ve said that this workshop is not suitable for complete beginners – how much experience would you ask students to have?

Ideally students would have completed their beginners course and have been attending open classes regularly for at least 3 months.

Forward fold in yogi toe lock

What is your favourite part of the Ashtanga Primary Series Part 1?

I love the Sun Salutations! By the time I’ve completed 5 of each my focus has turned inwards, my mind has quietened, I’m listening to my breath and I feel in tune with my body. The sun salutations establish a rhythm for the rest of my practice.

What are you most looking forward to about the session?

Having the opportunity to spend 2 and a half hours sharing this practice, which I love, with others!

To book your space on Claire’s workshop click here