“David will take the group on a special guided tour of select asanas from the Primary, Intermediate and even from the Advanced Series. If you are not familiar with the more challenging asanas there is no need to be scared of this class because David has designed it for students of all levels to attend. David will offer various alternatives to each of the asanas so that the student may find the one most comfortable for their level. By breaking the asanas down into their basic components the most challenging asanas can become more accessible and less frightening. There will be partner work as well as individual flowing through sequences. David’s classes are always full of valuable information as well as plenty of laughter and joy.”
in david’s words the ashtanga’s greatest hits class is very much open to its participants. we were asked to mention all poses that needed clarification and breaking down into more accessible steps.
we started warming up with suryas and the first thing talked about was chaturanga – especially the movement from it into upward dog. it was broken down in great detail. david stressed that shoulders should always be above wrists.
there were all sorts of poses mentioned: mary a, c and d; bhujapidasana, setu bandhasana, bakasana, tittibhasana a, parighasana, urdhva dhanurasana, chakrasana and lots in between. he even threw the first pose of third series in the mix – vasisthasana and visvamitrasana.
that was the closing of the weekend workshops. i thoroughly enjoyed myself and had a wonderful time. david is very enjoyable teacher. his opinion is that ashtanga should be for everyone and that there is nothing wrong with using alternatives to allow your practice flow. he reasons it with the fact that some people that are more flexible and can fly through most of the poses do not necessarily have a more focused practice and that ashtanga should be enjoyed by everyone up to their abilities. i know this causes a big discussion always as the strict traditional teaching according to mysore allows progress only when the previous asana has been achieved. in this way, people are quite eager to get through to the next pose (teachers as well) so they push themselves (and being pushed by teachers) which inevitably leads to injuries. the alternatives that he offers should still have your body aligned as in the original pose to get all the benefits out of it and prepares the muscles needed to achieve the full pose eventually.
he said something that quite resonated with me and i did think about it a lot: he said ‘if somebody gave you an ashtanga crystal ball and you could see yourself 15-20 years down the line and you realize that you still can’t do a certain pose or jump-through – would you still keep doing your practice or would you just throw in the towel and go on to something else?’ i think this puts things into perspective and very clearly gives you the idea of the reason behind your practice. i have to be honest and say – i took my time on this one as i love the challenge and enjoy the progress. but i do love being on the mat and sweating my bum off (excuse the language) as well no matter where in the practice you are. working towards a goal and the discipline and concentration that goes into the practice achieving it is very rewarding though.
i loved his class, i loved his teaching. he is hilarious and fun to be with. he makes things easy and is clearly loving teaching. he does not like being filmed but does not mind signing his books 😉
anyway, just a note for all of you out there, if you do go for david’s class be prepared when he drops a bomb by saying that not all of the people will be able to do all of the poses no matter how much they try. so be prepared that maybe not all is coming 😉