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Enlightened Asana workshop series III: Inversions

  • Pavey House 18 Waterloo St England, BS8 4BT United Kingdom (map)

Enlightened Asana workshop series III : Inversions
Saturday 18th January 2020 / 9am - 12pm
Pavey House, Waterloo Street, Clifton Village, Bristol, BS8 4BT
Teacher: Rory Viggers

Comprehensive workshops delving deep into classical yoga asana. Learn correct technique, precision, adjustments, alignment, movement, form and essence.

Enlightened Asana.

With 5 years of intensive study with Dona Holleman (widely regarded as one of the worlds leading authorities on yoga asana), her innovative insights and wisdom have significantly influenced our own practice and teaching methods. She has trained the most senior international yoga teachers from Ashtanga, Iyengar and many other disciplines. Having completed her rigorous and intensive 4 year training programme, Rory is certified to teach her enlightening Centered Yoga method (and is currently studying on her 3 year intermediate course). This approach informs our inspiration for the workshops.

The human body is a living organism logically designed and evolved for locomotion. Yoga asana must enhance the body's inherent movement, function and form. The asana needs to serve the body and not the other way around. Honouring the bodies natural anatomical laws, the workshop focus has equal emphasis on both form and essence. Like own minds, the body will often choose the path of least resistance. It will often try to ‘cheat’ and bypass correct action in order to achieve end result. If we neglect the precise rules of the body we cannot bring harmony or balance.

Precision, alignment, and correct adjustments are vital to ensure safe expression of the pose in regards to its architecture, movement and application. Through this understanding we have a stronger foundation to explore the subtle nuances of each asana.

It's not what you can do it's the way that you do it, that is important. How we initiate and express a posture distinguishes and elevates an asana from something that is pure gymnastics, calisthenics and fitness to something that embodies the practice of yoga. We will explore a range of principles to enrich the posture.

This is our third series exploring poses. As our practice and knowledge evolves, each series presents new insights and techniques to bring full vitality to the posture. These workshops are popular for both yoga practitioners seeking more in-depth insights into the architecture and expression of the poses, as well as yoga teachers and body workers wishing to learn optimum adjustments and functionality.

We explore head balance and shoulder balance technique as well as some variations. We also look at preparatory practices and application of handstand and forearm balance.

Head balance (Sirsasana) in the classical texts is often refereed to as the king of asanas. It was recommended as a daily practice to help keep the body healthy, full of vitality and youthful. On a biochemical level, some benefits of an inverted body include bringing more fresh blood to the brain, relief to the heart muscles as a natural gravitational force draws the blood out of the legs, and relief for the veins. It's a practice that brings great benefit to the whole body system.

If our asana time is limited head balance, together with shoulder balance (Savangasana), should take priority over other postures.

Head balance may look 'spectacular' but it is one of the easier postures - it is Tadasana standing on ones head. However many people do this posture with too much muscular effort because they are out of alignment with gravity. They simple 'get up at any cost' and then it becomes a question of purely physical strength rather than grace, finesse and ease. If the skeleton is aligned in the correct way, the posture becomes light and effortless. Our body has several secret weapons to utilise during such practices of which we will uncover during the morning session.

I have had to rebuild my head balance. Because the posture is so simple there is little room for error if one wishes to practice this posture competently and regularly. Establishing the correct foundation and building the head balance with precision will keep the body balanced. The base needs to be perfect.

"I was first taught this practice by holding on to the elbows with the opposite hands to establish the placement of the elbows and forearms. This is OK once or twice but as I found out the body will never be equal, never balanced with this method - the shoulders will always be uneven and 5, 10 years down the line you have created an imbalance in the body which is difficult to correct - you will not have a completely systematical base. If we move on to Sirsasana variations, any imbalance becomes more apparent. Also, where the weight is in head balance is the key - it’s often placed incorrectly."

In this workshop we will look at the correct anatomical application of this asana, breaking it down into various phases and constructing it from the earth upwards. Whether we come into the full pose or not doesn't matter. What you'll take away is an established base to build on in a supported environment. For those that wish to we will also look at some Sirsasana variations.

Shoulder balance cycle should follow head balance cycle. However, head balance shouldn't really be attempted until a competent shoulder balance practice has been established. We will look through different approaches to shoulder balance using props and different set ups as it's again a posture that is often misinterpreted and turned into a neck balance - this is not good for the body. For those that wish too we will also work through several variations and follow on practices to complete the Savangasana cycle.

Alongside the technical application of the asanas, we will focus on key principles, concepts, breathing methods and more to experience the practice from a fresh perspective.

This workshop is open to anyone who wishes to construct a correct foundation for these asanas, for those that may need to rebuild their asanas, and for those that have a correct practice and wish to deepen their understanding of the postures as well as exploring variations.

Learn precision and alignment of a full range of classical yoga asanas.
Understand form and essence.
Learn classical, un-orthodox and radical principles to enrich the posture.
Increase understanding and awareness of postures in a safe environment.
Learn correct adjustments and techniques to enable the full expression of a posture.
Understand the intention behind each asana.
Elevate and enrich your practice.

Each workshop is a standalone format and can be attended individually. But there is continuity across all five to make for a richer experience so we encourage this where possible. The workshops are not suitable for complete beginners.

£35 (£29 early bird booking) per workshop@
All 5 workshops = £125 (save £50)

10% discount available for students and concessions - please enquire here.
(Discount not valid on early bird price)

Enlightened Asana Workshops 2019/2020
1. Standing Poses (19th October 2019)
2. Forward bends and twistings (23rd November 2019)
3. Backbends (7th December 2019)
4. Inversions (18th January 2020)
5. Sitting Posture Cycles (8th February 2020)

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Teacher: Rory Viggers
"My current study of yoga asana and movement revolves around the Centered Yoga system developed by pioneering world leading facilitator, Dona Holleman. She is globally regarded as one of the best asana teachers. Her 50 years of practice (and up to 8 hours a day of asana practice) has helped her to perfect the asana. Having studied with Dona for the past five years, her philosophy, teaching methods and knowledge of the physical and subtle bodies form the inspiration of these workshops. I practice yoga asana daily (between 2 to 4 hours) to really learn the essence of the posture".


"Thorough, well-paced. Authentic yoga taught by one of the best teachers regionally. Thank you!!"

"Rory is one of the best teachers in Bristol, by regularly attending his classes I have been able to achieve a moving meditative experience that has inspired me to continue to grow and develop my own practise. Rory is committed to continually develop and share a depth of knowledge that continues to inspire. Thank you"

"Following a move to Clifton I joined classes following a recommendation from a friend who regularly attended Yogakutir, which speaks volumes in itself and it certainly did not disappoint. I was looking for more than just a regular yoga practice and this has been expertly delivered and further enhanced after attending focused workshops with Rory & a retreat with Dory over the last year. The years of experience & knowledge both share during each practice provided the therapy I needed - as of course yoga is far more than postures on a mat.  Yogakutir has actually changed my life and I very much look forward to continuing my journey in the coming years with their guidance & support - and they are both so lovely with it too"

”Rory was a fantastic teacher, friendly and yet professional. It felt like there was a real structure to the course over the week, that each class was thought through to build on what you'd done in the previous lesson. Perfectly pitched and inclusive for all levels. Am tempted to move to Bristol just so I can attend his regular classes!”

”I was a yoga newbie on this holiday, but that didn't matter one bit. Rory was a fabulous yoga instructor, and had a really effective was of explaining what was required for each pose and was always reminding us how to try to achieve the state of calm required in each pose. I've taken up yoga classes since my return and I can still hear Rory's voice in my head; so his guidance is still helping me long after the holiday was over!”

“Rory is a very nurturing and informative teacher. Every class was different and I felt I learnt so much and deepened my practice immensely”

"My Tuesday early morning yoga class with Rory is the highlight of my week. Its a fantastic way to start my day. I've learnt not just yoga practices but breathing techniques. Each week is different and I can't recommend the class enough."

"I love Rory's no-nonsense, gentle approach and I always leave feeling peaceful and energised at the same time."

"Rory's class on a Sunday evening is my anchor point for each week. The asanas are challenging and the relaxation is incredible. I look forward to the class immensely and feel the benefit all week - the best thing I do for me!"

"I enjoy Rory’s classes so much that if I had to move out of the area, I would find a way to get back to Clifton at least once a week."

"Rory's yoga classes are excellent. I really appreciate the variation in sequences from class to class, and Rory's attention to detail and ability to describe poses and movements. Rory, you are an inspiring yoga teacher!"

"I try to get to Rory's class every week. The practice is different each time, and I like the way he breaks things down to help with a physical understanding of the postures."

"Thank you for some wonderful classes, I feel I learn something new each time I'm at class. This is prob the most technical yoga I've done and I'm really enjoying it."