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Heart of the Sun: the Magic of Ashtanga Yoga, with Andrew Eppler

  • Richmond City Yoga 212 East Clay Street Richmond, VA, 23219 United States (map)

Full Workshop $200/$160 Earlybird by August 27th.

Friday 6-8:30pm -- Introduction to Ashtanga, Exploring the Basic Elements ($50/$40 Earlybird)

The workshop will begin with the fundamental elements of Ashtanga Yoga including breath and bandha. Surya Namaskar, Standing Postures, and Vinyasa technique will be discussed in detail. We will talk about the history of this style of yoga and how it has evolved into Western culture. Andrew sometimes uses magic and illusion to illustrate points about yoga philosophy and the nature of human perception. In his view Yoga is an exploration and cultivation of one’s physical wellbeing, personal awareness, and internal environment which helps us all to replace inappropriate patterns with more appropriate ones. This class is for everyone who has an interest in Ashtanga Yoga regardless of their fitness level or how long they have been practicing.

Saturday 10am-12:30pm -- Led Primary Series with Therapeutic Enhancements ($50/$40 Earlybird)

This will be a led Primary Series class with each breath called out. We will take time to focus on the more challenging postures and explore ideas for how to safely approach them. One goal of this class is to give students more options for how to modify postures. All approaches will be explained in a way that keeps the breath and bandhas stable and uninterrupted. Each of us have different challenges in the practice. The aim of this workshop it to teach the Ashtanga sequences in a way that empowers students in their own sacred, healing, evolving, life long yoga practice.

Saturday 1pm -- 3pm Mudra, Bandha, and Pranayama ($50/$40 Earlybird)

After asana practice, we will move on to the more subtle, internal practices. The Bandhas (internal body engagements) we use in Ashtanga Yoga come from Mudra ("seal, mark, gesture" ) practices. We will explore the subject of Mudra, its energetic principles, and the specific exercises that correspond to the Bandhas. Mudra is a vast branch of yoga and involves a very diverse set of exercises. It forms an important part of all Hatha Yoga practices. Through these techniques, students can gain a much better understanding of what the bandhas do, and the role they play with the breathing practices referred to as Pranayama.

Andrew will also introduce a system of pranayama in this class that can be done safely and enjoyed by everyone. Pranayama is the 4th Limb in Ashtanga Yoga and it forms a bridge from the physical practices of Asana and Mudra into the more subtle realms of concentration and meditation. The Pranayama system of Sri BNS Iyengar will be taught. Andrew will speak about how to safely begin these practices and incorporate them into daily life. We will also discuss the yogic ideas of the nervous system that are connected with Pranayama. The concepts of Kundalini, Shushumna Nadi, Ida and Pingala Nadis will be explained. The Koshas and Prana Vayus will also be touched upon. These practices are part of an ancient philosophy and provide a glimpse into the inner practices of Yoga which become relevant as we go deeper into our asana practices.

Sunday 10am-12:30pm -- Introduction to 2nd Series Ashtanga Yoga for Everyone ($50/$40 Earlybird)

This will be a gentle introduction to the challenging postures of 2nd series that can be enjoyed by everyone. We will discuss how to transition into 2nd series in personal practice and give some practical ideas for determining when it is time for this. While listening to the inherent wisdom of our own bodies, we will explore a sequence of postures that can create great joy and healing. Andrew will share his unique methods of Isometric Stretch in which muscles are contracted before they are lengthened. This is a technique he has developed through many years of practice and it can be used with any posture. 2nd Series postures can help to create a more balanced practice and take us through the limitations that hold us back in Primary Series. The aim of this class is to explore the 2nd series, showing some variations for safety, and to inspire students to take their practices further.

Sunday 1pm-3pm -- Introduction to Thai Massage ($50/$40 Earlybird)

As we practice yoga postures we become aware of imbalances in our bodies. Naturally we look for ways and means to address our issues. For this reason yoga students are inspired to study many different healing arts. Thai Massage is one of the best. As a form of body work, it is something like having yoga postures “done to you." In this class everyone both gives and receives a Thai massage while the techniques are carefully explained. There are no pairs, and the massage takes place in a rotating circle so that each person can experience as many different body types as possible. Receiving regular Thai massage opens the body and relieves the tension patterns that can pull our bones into misalignment. Thai massage is also an excellent foundation from which to pursue other disciplines such as Yoga Therapy, Osteopathy, Muscle Activation Technique, and many others. This class is lots of fun and leaves everyone feeling relaxed and happy!


Andrew Eppler is the director and producer of the 2016 film Mysore Yoga Traditions, and has been practicing and teaching Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga for over 30 Years. He is the owner and director of Ashtanga Yoga Studio in Norman Oklahoma USA. Andrew has studied with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Sri BNS Iyengar and many of the senior western teachers of Ashtanga Yoga including David Williams, Nancy Gilgoff, Danny Paradise, David Swenson and others. Beginning his daily yoga practice the age of 14, yoga has been his lifelong passion. Andrew teaches with kindness and respect for each individual’s needs and the inherent wisdom we all have within our own bodies. While working within the traditional framework of Ashtanga Yoga, Andrew enjoys sharing ideas about yoga that are both traditional and contemporary. For over 20 years Andrew has considered BNS Iyengar from Mysore to be his primary Indian teacher. Because of this, his approach to the practice has always been different from mainstream Ashtanga. His instructions from his teacher have not been “never change the sequence of postures” but rather “teach this beautiful system of practice in a way that transcends culture, language, religion and politics and try to share it sincerely and kindly with as many people as possible.” Andrew’s teaching is a synthesis of ideas and techniques he has learned through years of traveling and teaching in many countries. Some of the influences in Andrew’s approach to asanas include Myofascial stretch, Thai Massage and Chiropractic techniques. He sees yoga as a life-long exploration and has always collected safe and effective methods for creating balance, relieving pain, and moving deeper into the postures. Andrew is also a magician and uses magic and illusion in his workshops to illustrate some of the philosophical ideas of yoga. While staying grounded in the roots of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and at the same time drawing from many sources of inspiration and technique from all around the world, Andrew’s teaching encourages students to create their own healing, joyful, evolving, sacred, lifelong yoga practices. 

Magic is one of Andrew’s passions and he has always had a keen fascination with all things that seem to be miraculous or unexplainable. Through the yogic practices, he became aware at an early age that perception depends hugely on the state of mind of each individual watching. Andrew has traveled to many parts of the world, from the streets of Europe to the jungles of Asia, to study different types of magical practices. His studies include both modern and ancient forms of sleight of hand and illusion as well as, rainmaking and many different ethnic healing and ritual practices. In his lectures about yoga, he sometimes uses magic and illusion to illustrate philosophical points about the nature of the mind and how our perception works. The art of illusion has deep roots and is a part of every culture. “I have no magic powers other than the power to practice an art form that I love and to make people smile, and take them for a moment to a place of wonder where anything can happen. Reality is very fragile indeed when you start to examine it carefully.”

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