Friday, December 8, 2017, 09-12:00 Uhr - Keeping the Spine in Mind
The spine is at the center of yoga. In the traditional yogic literature, we find it as the sushumna channel, carrying life-force pranic energy up through the subtle body. Its relative stability, mobility, and overall functioning (and dysfunction) are among the primary sources motivating people to try yoga, and it is more directly involved in every asana than any other part of the skeleton. Weakness in support for the spinal column is a leading cause of pain and suffering, inhibits the cultivation of prana, and makes simple sitting meditation not so simple. With greater and more stable range of motion in the spine we experience more ease and sensory awakening throughout the entire body. In this master class, we will explore asanas from every asana family in a flow sequence that gradually brings greater awareness, awakening and ease to the spine, and with it to the entire bodymind.
Saturday, December 9, 2017, 09-12:00 Uhr - Grounding, Inverting, and Levitating
While the we best stand on our feet, legs and hips, learning to safely support ourselves with the far more delicate structures of the hands, wrists, elbows and shoulder joints can generate deeper self-confidence, strength, and a more abiding sense of levity in life. In this master class, we will first explore how to establish balanced grounding through the hands and wrists, how to stabilize through the arms and shoulder girdle, and how to apply an awakened core, spine, and pelvis to gaining greater levity in hand support and arm balancing asanas. Each arm balance will be explored as a hip opener that might become an arm balance, thus offering each student a path from simple to complex forms in keeping with his or her conditions and intensions.
Sunday, December 10, 2017, 09-12:00 Uhr - Cultivating Self-Acceptance and Self-Transformation in Asana, Pranayama, and Meditation
Yoga practices can be as though so many different windows through which to more clearly see ourselves from the variety of perspectives that each form creates. Paying attention to our actions and reactions, we can discover what we gravitate towards, resist, find frustrating or joyful. Rather than limiting our practices to gaining physical strength and flexibility, we can open ourselves to practicing as a tool of deeper self-discovery, and in cultivate self-acceptance in ways that makes the practice one of self-transformation. In this master class, we will do a balanced Vinyasa Flow practice –including asana, pranayama and meditation – in which the primary focus is self-awareness, self-study, and opening to clearer awareness about who we are in the present moment.
Yoga teacher and author Mark Stephens is one of the world's leading trainers of yoga teachers. He is the author of Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques (2010), Yoga Sequencing: Foundations, Principles and Resources (2012), and Yoga Adjustments: Philosophies, Principles, and Techniques (2014). Mark's eclectic style and open-minded approach to yoga draws from years of yoga practice and deep study of Ashtanga Vinyasa, Iyengar, vinyasa flow, yoga therapy, tantra and ayurveda as well as learning theory, philosophy, functional anatomy, bio-mechanics and kinesiology, offering a synthesis of traditional and contemporary insights into the practice.
Mark started exploring yoga on his own as a teenager drawn to philosophy and metaphysics in the 1970s, began a consistent daily practice in 1991, has taught yoga since 1996. In 1997, Mark founded Yoga Inside Foundation and began training yoga teachers and giving them support in bringing yoga into hundreds inner city schools, treatment centers, prisons and shelters across the U.S. and Canada; he received Yoga Journal’s 1st Annual Karma Yoga Award in 2000 for this non-profit service. He is the founder of L.A. Yoga Center (now Yoga Works Westwood) and Santa Cruz Yoga, where he presently teaches and directs the yoga teacher training program. Mark offers classes, workshops, trainings and retreats worldwide.