Itha108is a Greek island retreat set in a place of outstanding natural beauty, providing a space specifically for peace, relaxation and practice.
Ithaca, home of Itha108, is one of the smallest in the Ionian islands that is radiating with Grecian authenticity. It’s shores play host to a long Homeric and mythical history whose many mysteries are sensed amongst animated panorama and secretive coves. Itha108 overlooks the sea and the eastern coastline of neighbouring Kefalonia from an elevated wilderness of olive trees and exposed rocks that provide the elements around which it is built, allowing its natural beauty to speak for itself. An emphasis on indoor-outdoor living ensures full use of the land and its treasures that extend to sweeping and hidden beaches below.
Yoga and meditation are not methods of anaesthetising your experience in life, rather yoga and meditation techniques are tools of managing those experiences. The anger, the anxiety and grief of the life experience are all real just as the joy, curiosity and happiness are real. However. they are also passing waves that do not define who you are. This practice explores who you are behind these emotions and focuses on discovering the essence of you.
Grief is a part of love. It hurts because we love. And just as we fall in love and want to share it with everyone, on social media, at weddings and parties and so on, our grief too wants to be expressed. However, in society today we find it hard to know how to express grief, support those who are grieving and find tools to help us bear what is ours to carry. Nothing will ever fix or solve our grief as it is a natural, normal and healthy reaction to loss. When we experience loss, grief fills our life with darkness. This darkness never goes way, we just learn how to expand our life around the darkness.
What can I expect? This workshop will include: – lectures – journaling – Yoga asana – meditation practices
What will I gain from the workshop? There are many tools to help with managing our grief. Zephyr will share some ways that the principles of yoga and Buddhist psychology can help manage grief through writing (vichara), applied yoga-asana and meditation practices. This holistic, mind-body approach will allow you to kindly open the grief experience, physically moving the body to release some of the build-up of sensation or awaken the feelings by creating sensation, a useful method of encouraging the hurt to untangle. Students will also use seated practices and guided meditation to help find more resilience by allowing us to tend to our grief with more understanding, compassion and trust.
Who is it for? Anyone struggling with feelings of grief after loss or who wants to explore this complex emotion.
Go to my recent blog about Grief and Loss to read and find more support in the meantime. Click here.
Workshop with Graham Burns, Raquel Alves & Zephyr Wildman. Three of Yogacampus’ most experienced and popular teachers – have come together to offer this two day immersion into yogic theories and practices which will allow you to unveil and brighten the light of your own heart.
The heart is a complex and enigmatic organ. At the purely mechanical level, its beating keeps us alive. But it is also commonly seen as the seat of powerful emotions such as love and compassion. And in early Indian philosophy, the space within the heart (sometimes called the ‘cave of the heart’) was seen as the abode of our essential self, our true nature, who we really are at the deepest level.
Reaching awareness of that true nature of the self is the essence of yoga, and the heart has always had a special and revered place in the yoga tradition. Patañjali speaks of a ‘heart lotus’ as a focal point for meditation, and most (if not all) of the esoteric models of the yogic body which grew up in the Tantric traditions locate an important energetic centre at the heart which can be accessed through yoga practice. In Buddhism too, the heart centre is important, and is sometimes seen as the home of the ‘clear light of bliss’.
Yet, how often in our everyday life (and even in our yoga practice) do we allow our head to rule our heart, so that that clear light fails to shine as brightly as it might? Would it benefit us and others if, instead of being ruled by our head, we were able to access that light and allow it to shine?
We are really excited that Zephyr, Graham and Raquel – three of Yogacampus’ most experienced and popular teachers – have come together to offer this two day immersion into yogic theories and practices which will allow you to unveil and brighten the light of your own heart. Each of them brings their own unique perspective and specific areas of expertise to help that light shine, and you will enjoy:
• Discussion of the significance of the heart and the heart centre in Indian philosophy generally, and in the yoga tradition specifically. • An exploration of the physiology of the heart, and the psychology associated with it. • A range of profound practices throughout the weekend – including āsana, bandha, mudra, prāṇāyāma, meditation, and yoga nidrā – all aimed at helping you unveil that light. • Plenty of time for question and answer.
The workshop is open to all levels of yoga experience, except complete beginners. However, some experience of prāṇāyāma and meditation will be helpful.
Certification You will receive a Yogacampus Certificate of Attendance.
This 2-day workshop aims to break down the various yoga anatomy theories that have been passed down for generations against more recent medical findings to help students and teachers alike communicate in safer and more effective ways.
As Yoga has matured in the West, our community has been fortunate enough to have help and guidance from complimentary professionals such as Physiotherapists, Osteopaths and others in the medical field who have studied our practice and helped to create the modern, westernised Yoga culture. A fusion of technology, techniques and integrated information in the last fifty years has brought Yoga and Kinaesthesia together and created more understanding of the way our bodies move during our practice along with the benefits and dangers.
As much as this new understanding has helped our practice evolve, ’Old school’ language and ‘wives tales’ that are still floating about our yoga communities and being passed on to students, still exist. Our community is guilty of claims of health benefits that sometimes can be untrue and dangerous. The medical community has been taking notice and unfortunately complaints that yoga has started to cause injuries, due to poor teaching, limited anatomical understanding and unsafe adjustments are now common. Understanding of kinesiology and anatomy need to be on the forefront of any Yoga Teacher’s curriculum in order to create safe sequences and informed practices for all of our students.
This will be an interactive workshop to test the theories of do’s and don’ts on each other and to come to an experienced conclusion that should leave each yoga student better-informed. The goal is to create an approach to give teachers the skills to be safer and more effective in their community.
This course is for students and yoga teachers who want to improve their use of language in their classes, understand basic anatomy, bio-mechanical movements and health benefits to enhance the living tradition of Eastern Yoga in the modern world.
Yoga refines our movement and breath. In its therapeutic applications, asana and pranayama become the tools by which we address patterns of movement, breath and being that are at the root of chronic pain, limitation and even disease. Because of the way we’re built, and the lives we live we all face challenges individual in our life and practice, often with chronic pain. Our own structure and patterns of movement often lead us directly into these problems, unless we recognize and change them. Even when we exercise regularly or have a regular practice, we allow some muscles to dominate, leaving others weak and unused. This can eventually lead to pain and injury, even for the experienced practitioner.
Each morning will involve an exploration of the structural alignment, anatomy, muscles and function of the area that is the days’ focus plus time to review the prior days learning. In the afternoon we will apply the morning’s tuition through practice, utilising yoga asana, pranayama, kriyas and basic massage techniques.
Day 1: Foundations and Introduction to the 5 Koshas
A.M.: Students will be introduced to the concept of the “Middle Path” through a lecture on the philosophical and practical approach to working therapeutically with people’s injuries, ailments, mental health, chronic pain and addiction. Using the modality of the Koshas, we will dissect each sheath individually with applied philosophy to treat an individual or class effectively. The emphasis for Day 1 will be on creating the foundations to be referenced throughout the 5 days and include an overview of;
common structural problems
patterns of movement
Pranic problems in the body and mind
P.M.: The afternoon will continue with a customised sequences inspired by the Koshas to start to gain tools to treat common imbalances and pain.
Day 2: Postural Integrity and the Spine
A.M.: With a thorough comprehension of the Koshas and a holistic approach, we will now begin to look at specific alignment issues and causes of pain with a focus on the spine and postural integrity. Evaluation of posture will be our focus for the morning, however it takes more than just “good” posture to maintain “good” health and balance. We will explore methods of assessing problems with movement, the three diaphragms and we will also discuss the myofacial planes. We will assess techniques for dealing with Flexion and Extension Syndrome, while putting a special focus on understanding the focal points of weakness and stability and how they are affected by our lifestyle and genetic predisposition.
P.M.: After a morning of theory and observation, we will put into practice some application techniques that have been effective in reducing chronic pain and common conditions of the spine and posture.
Day 3: Feet, Knees and Hips.
A.M.: Working from the ground up, we will learn to see the body in action and how the interconnected lines of intelligence inform our patterns of movement and pain. Literally the foundations of our bodies health and balance, we will evaluate the alignment of the feet and legs and discuss how to assess alignment highlighting common problems, misalignments and causes of pain.
P.M.: The metaphor for the Middle Path as our centre of balance is well illustrated in the application of techniques for this afternoon’s session. By looking at the feet, knees and hips as the foundation for the spine and the connections the spine has to the rest of the body, we understand that this foundation is critical to supporting that well being and balance for the entire body.
Day 4: Pelvic Girdle
A.M.: We will discuss and develop techniques for assessing problem areas and imbalance within the uniqueness of every pelvis. A keen attention to detail will aid the student to look at the alignment and observe and identify misalignment. We will discuss common problems and causes of pain, and most importantly how the pelvic girdle influences structural alignment for the rest of the body.
P.M.: Hands on practice of applying the mornings lecture and developing techniques that build alignment, flexibility and stability of the pelvis to alleviate misalignments and pain due to every day lifestyle problems.
Day 5: Shoulder Girdle
A.M.: We will observe how improving range of motion can ease chronic pain in areas around the shoulder, neck and head, especially when the individual has experienced injury in these areas. We will pay close attention to evaluating posture and what it tells us about the state of the shoulder girdle. Observing the alignment and correctly ascertaining the causes of imbalance are crucial to this area as its range of motion and susceptibility to injury make it one of the more complex areas of focus.
P.M.: Applying yoga asana and basic massage techniques that help to extend the range of motion with a specific injury related approach (e.g.,frozen shoulder, rotator cuff injury) will be unique to this afternoon’s application.
Related Video In this interview with Conscious2, Zephyr shares her story of finding purpose in her life through yoga, and how yoga helped her move through deep grief and into fulfillment and joy. Get to know more about Zephyr here.
A bit of ‘awakened sleep’ will offer a chance to rest and take in all the benefits of the physical practice (Part 2). The 61 point practice will have us working with our resentment and learning how to manage the opposite feelings and emotions that arise. The final stage to the practice is a forgiveness intention opening us to isvara pranidhana and letting go of that resentment that holds us in negative attachment. As we surrender and trust, grace arises leading us towards peace, contentment and serenity.
‘What asana is for the body, pranayama is for the mind’ to achieve the ‘state’ of yoga we practice yoga directing our attention to the shaping of the breath while refining the relationship between the body and mind. This practice will focus on breath retention, suspension and progression in order to purify and create clarity in our ability to occupy our embodiment while enduring negative thoughts and emotions that may come up. Calm and ease brought into existence during dis-ease can be an incredible life hack. Come back to this practice anytime the world is feeling a bit overwhelming and centre yourself within the wisdom of your inner-teacher.
This practice will apply Kriya Yoga (Tapas, Sva dhyaya and isvara pranidhana) as we move, connecting to the strong feelings, thoughts and reactions that may have come up during the work focused on addressing our resentment.
Zeph continues on the subject of cultivating the Love and Kindness for ourselves with this series entitled Pray it Away which includes the Meditation, Practice and here, the Preamble. The series, used together, urges the Yogi to see ones practice as a garden of sorts in which you can plant, cultivate and nurture a bit of loving kindness and connect with the desire to be happy and to decrease the suffering. By cultivating Love and Kindness for ourselves but at the same time acknowledging the suffering and embracing it as a teacher, it can release you from the downward spiral of suffering and dis-ease. As a teacher it creates choices that can draw you closer to spirit or, push you farther away. That is where Yoga and Meditation become really powerful. At that point, having the courage to Pray it Away (the suffering) and breathe these mantras in (cultivating the Love and Kindness) and choosing the path back to balance and relief from the dis-ease, wherever it may have come from.
Embracing the suffering, understanding its roots, recognising the choice and finally finding the positive Love and Kindness to cultivate and meditate upon is the goal of the Love and Kindness series.