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

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

Full Workshop $225.

Friday 6-8:30pm : Introduction to Ashtanga, Exploring the Basic Elements ($55)

Andrew will begin with a review of the fundamental elements of Ashtanga Yoga including breathing method, bandhas, Vinyasa technique, Surya Namaskar, and Standing Postures. We’ll discuss the history of this style of yoga and how it has evolved into Western culture — and Andrew may use magic and illusion to illustrate points about yoga philosophy and the nature of human perception. Andrew views Yoga practice as an exploration and cultivation of one’s physical well-being, personal awareness, and internal environment — which can help people replace inappropriate and harmful patterns of mind-body manifestation, with rejuvenating and restorative patterns that naturally foster peace and happiness.

Saturday 10am-12:30pm : Led Primary Series with Therapeutic Enhancements ($55)

Andrew will take time to focus on the more challenging postures in the Primary Series, and explore ideas for approaching them carefully and safely. Students will learn various ways to modify difficult postures in a manner that allows them to continue moving through the full practice while keeping their breath and bandhas stable and uninterrupted. Each of us have different challenges in the practice due to differences in age, genetic inheritance, body proportions, and level of experience. Andrew will convey the Ashtanga sequence in a way that empowers students to develop their own sacred, healing, evolving, life-long yoga practice.

Saturday 1pm-3pm : Mudra, Bandha, and Pranayama ($55)

After asana practice, we will transition to more subtle, internal practices. The Bandhas (internal body engagements) we use in Ashtanga Yoga come from Mudra ("seal, mark, gesture" ) practices. Mudra is a branch of yoga integral to Hatha yoga practice, and involves a diverse set of energetic principles and techniques, through which students can gain a better understanding of the Bandhas and the role they play in the breathing practices referred to as Pranayama.

Pranayama is the 4th Limb of Ashtanga Yoga and forms a bridge from the physical practices of Asana and Mudra into the more subtle realms of concentration and meditation. Andrew will share the Pranayama system he learned from BNS Iyengar, its beneficial effects, and 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 concept of Kundalini; and the three Nadis — Sushumna, Ida and Pingala. These practices are part of an ancient philosophy and provide a glimpse into the inner practices of Yoga which complement and enhance our asana practices.

Sunday 10am-1:00pm : 2nd Series (Intermediate Series) Yoga for Everyone ($55)

This will be a presentation of the full 2nd Series in a way that can be enjoyed by everyone. Andrew will discuss the complementary relationship between 1st Series (Primary Series) and 2nd Series (Intermediate Series), offering practical insight for determining when and how to begin exploring 2nd Series. While listening to the inherent wisdom of our own bodies, we can explore this sequence of postures that are designed to tone the parasympathetic nervous system — fostering greater happiness and healing. Intermediate Series postures give us the opportunity to create a more balanced practice overall, and can even help alleviate some of the limitations that we experience in Primary Series. Andrew will help seasoned 2nd Series students explore the most challenging poses, while also sharing variations and approximations of difficult poses that beginners can practice safely — inspiring all students to think in terms of exploring both 1st and 2nd Series — versus getting stuck permanently in Primary Series due to a perceived inability to “master” all of the postures.

Sunday 2pm-4pm : Introduction to Yoga Therapy ($55)

As we examine our bodies through consistent yoga practice, over time we become aware of imbalances, and struggle with certain postures or areas of the practice. Andrew advocates developing a short routine of therapeutic movements to do as a “warm-up” just before starting the fixed sequences of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, which can help address one’s unique challenges and enhance one’s formal practice. We will work with muscle activation, isometric stretch, and self massage, and learn about the markers in the body that can help us understand our patterns more clearly. Whether you deal with lower back issues, knee, shoulder, or neck problems, this class will give you techniques that can help. Not only will we go through some exercises that can be done before practice, but we will look at ways to shift the emphasis in our asana practice to correct imbalances and strengthen our weakest areas.

Beginning his daily yoga practice at age 14, Andrew Eppler’s life-long passion for the succeeding 34 years has been practicing and teaching Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. He is the owner and director of Ashtanga Yoga Studio in Norman Oklahoma USA, and also the producer and director of the film Mysore Yoga Traditions. 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, and David Swenson. Andrew teaches with kindness and respect for each individual’s needs and the inherent wisdom we all have within our own bodies. He sees yoga as a life-long exploration and has always collected safe and effective methods for creating balance, relieving pain, and moving more intimately into the postures. Some of the influences in Andrew’s approach to asanas include Myofascial stretch, Thai Massage, Isometric Stretching, and Chiropractic techniques.

While remaining grounded in the roots of the traditional framework of Ashtanga Yoga, Andrew draws inspiration from a global network of teachers, friends and fellow practitioners, using a fusion of techniques evolved through years of traveling and teaching in many countries. For over 20 years Andrew has considered BNS Iyengar from Mysore to be his primary Indian teacher,  studying in the lineage of Nathamuni Sampradaya, the same spiritual tradition followed by Sri Krishnamacharya. Andrew’s instructions from Sri BNS Iyengar were not “never change the sequence of postures.” Instead, he was told to “teach this beautiful system of practice in a way that is accessible to people of all ages and levels of fitness, all levels of society, all cultures and all religions. Try to share it sincerely and kindly with as many people as possible.”

Andrew is also a magician and uses magic and illusion in his workshops to cast light on some of the philosophical principles of yoga. In his workshops, Andrew heartily, happily, humorously and intelligently inspires students to create their own healing, joyful, evolving, sacred, lifelong yoga practices.


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