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Ashtanga Yoga with Bela Lipat June 29, 2006 Saturday

Ashtanga Yoga with Bela Lipat

Ashtanga Yoga
I'd been pursuing my own practice of Ashtanga Yoga for nearly 5 years now. Some call Ashtanga, yoga for jocks, because it's physically demanding and works out a sweat. The site describes it as:

Ashtanga Yoga is the system of Yoga taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India. This method of Yoga involves synchronizing the breath with progressive series of postures—a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body, and a calm mind.

Bela Lipat
I've also heard about Bela and her yoga class. A certified yoga teacher, she's definitely one the country's foremost practitioners. She shuttles around the country conducting classes. She's taught at the luxurious Amanpulo Resort and The Farm at San Benito and even conducted a class for GMA (yes, the president).

It wasn't a regular class but the 2nd of a 3-session workshop. The focus on this class was the mulabandha - a form of muscle control on the perineum, to lock-in prana (aka - chi, subtle life force). Even on my own practice, the mulabandha remained elusive. My teacher (from Toronto) did not even mention that. The video of David Svenson talked about it but not in great detail. I simply ignored the bandhas part of yoga in all the years I practised.

Activating the mulabandha while doing back-bends and forward-bends proved challenging - even at my level. I can understand why my teacher did not even mention it in class. It's a progression from the basic moves.

Veggie Potluck
Everyone brought vegetarian food for the potluck dinner. What can I say? Whoever said veggan food is bland hasn't tasted this kind of cooking. I wouldn't be surprised if the love and postive vibe put into its preparation was the added kick. It was simply all good....too good.

The unexpected surprise of the evening was the arrival of Kirtan player, Punno and percussionist, Mano. After dinner, we rounded ourselves into a circle and participated in music-making as Punno and Mano took us into chants, meditation and dance. It was a different kind of party....a yogic party.

Ending Thoughts
I'd been doing yoga alone (mostly) for so long, it was a sigh of fresh air to be in a big class again and immerse in the chill vibe that people were giving off. I got to learn and discuss different ideas with people who were on the same path as we broke bread and passed the dishes around. Being in that workshop gave me a sense of connection again to the yogic absence I've become nearly oblivious to.

Thank you, Mimsy, for taking me there.

--- TheLoneRider

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