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Unfold Fold

Photo: Lovis Osternik

Folding-unfolding no longer simply means tension-release, contraction-dilation, but enveloping-developing, involution-evolution… The simplest way of stating the point is by saying that to unfold is to increase, to grow; whereas to fold is to diminish, to reduce, to withdraw into the recesses of a world. Yet a simple metric change would not account for the difference between the organic and the inorganic, the machine and its motive force. It would fail to show that movement does not simply go from one greater or smaller part to another, but from fold to fold.”

-- Deleuze, The Fold

This Wednesday is a special day: our last class at Gallustrasse 4. This practice is all about unfolding and folding. We don't fold in repetition but by encapsulation: every new fold contains the space acquired in its previous ones. At first, opening the front of the body, creating space, being energetic and solar with poses like Virasana, prone backbends and anjaneyasna. Then folding, turning inward with utthita hasta Padangusthasana, malasana, eka pada malasana and marichiyasana. Core awareness is a key component to both, inversions and arm balances will be offered with variations. Enjoy my fellow yogis!

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Twist and Open

Photo: Sophie Delaporte

"The raucous, anarchic, noisy, variegated, tiger-striped, zebrastreaked, jumbled-up, mixed-up multiple, criss-crossed by myriad colors and myriad shades, is possibility itself. (...) We cannot predict what will be born from it. We cannot know what is in it, here or there. No one knows, no one has ever known, no one will ever know how a possible coexists with a possible, and perhaps it coexists through a relationship of possibility. The set is criss-crossed by possible relationships.”

— Michel Serres, Genesis

A posture is a set of relations, a possibility. In this session, transition through several hip openers and twists. Explore your body's ability to swirl on itself in and out, finding symmetry and balance. Move consciously through a sequence to open your hips and your spine as preparation for grasshopper. This challenging well-rounded class will leave you feeling empowered, with a twist!

 

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Voyage to the Core

Photo: Erwan Frotin

"At our core lies our innermost wisdom. So the knowledge from outer perception and inner wisdom should always be in contact in your postures. At that time there is no duality; you are one; you are complete. You exist without the feeling of existence. The challenge from the skin should tap the Self, our Soul, and the Self has to ask, "What more have I to do?" The external knowledge incites the Self to act." -- BKS Iyengar, Light on Life

Reconnect to your breath and practice. This week, find a strong core work with focus on strengthening your shoulders and arms, followed by a strong standing sequence and some arm balances. We break down the proper alignment of chaturanga and the mental strength needed to do them in bulk. Plank and chaturange variations along with a navasana sequence (boat pose) are explored. From there a nice pigeon prep sequence is followed to set our bodies up for our peak: flying pigeon. End your practice feeling ready for anything. Practice on fellow yogis.

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On your hands

 Photo; Viviane Sassen

Photo; Viviane Sassen

“All things are in flux; the flux is subject to a unifying measure or rational principle. This principle (logos, the hidden harmony behind all change) bound opposites together in a unified tension, which is like that of a lyre, where a stable harmonious sound emerges from the tension of the opposing forces that arise from the bow bound together by the string.” 
― Heraclitus

This class is all about handstands. Learning about the instability of life, notice your body re-adjusting itself every second to keep you standing. Yet, where does your mind go in the moment of movement? Transition from standing to inverting and from binds to extensions with a fluid outer body, a strong core and a focused mind. Enjoy my fellow yogis!

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Extension Expansion

 Photo: Olafur Eliasson

Photo: Olafur Eliasson

If extension is from the intelligence of the brain, expansion is from the intelligence of the heart. While doing asana, both the intellectual intelligence and the emotional intelligence have to meet and work together. Extension is attention, and expansion is awareness (…) When one stops straining and the brain is passive, it becomes spiritual yoga. When you have extended to the extreme, live in that asana, and experience the joy of freedom in that asana. While stretching, you must always create space and extend from your center. Compression is bondage, and expansion is freedom.

— BKS Iyengar, Light on Life

This class is all about extension and expansion, from the centre out. A fusion geared to get your electromagnetic field bright and shiny. A Tibetan breath inspired sequence with strong standing postures and some inversion practice. Leave the room feeling bright and maybe a few centimetres tallerr!

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On Counterpositions

Photo: Sol LeWitt, Incomplete Open Cubes, 1974 · SFMOMA

"The word decision derives from the Latin caedere: to cut, to cut the links. To decide one’s own counterpart means to consciously struggle for autonomy, but in a way in which, through this gesture of cutting, one also realizes an inner belonging to what one is detaching from. In this sense, the notion of agonism—the counterpositioning of parts—functions as a critical mirroring of oneself via the other, to the extent that it is possible to say that to make a collective claim of political autonomy one must first declare one’s counterpart."

— Pier Vittorio Aureli in “The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture”.

After 30 hours of body geometry training, this week we find inspiration in David Regelin’s approach to yoga. All bodies and minds are all different. The purpose of your practice might change from day to day, from one movement to other: are you about to ground yourself firmly or rather fly high? Is your body feeling wide open or tight? Therefore, alignment does matter yet it is not dictated, instead, it is latent and fluctuating. This week, discover your body, aligning your postures in different manners, that might seem unfamiliar or even at first uncomfortable. Develop an awareness of your own postural pattern, make your postures result out of a sequence of intelligent choices. Upraise your understanding of alignment by counterposing options as a critical mirror of different ways of articulating your postures.

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On Repetition

 Photo: Olafur Eliasson in Versailles

Photo: Olafur Eliasson in Versailles

"Consider, on the border between these two cases, the repetition of a decorative motif: a figure is reproduced, while the concept remains absolutely identical ... . However, this is not how artists proceed in reality. They do not juxtapose instances of the figure, but rather each time combine an element of one instance with another element of a following instance. They introduce a disequilibrium into the dynamic process of construction, an instability, dissymmetry or gap of some kind which disappears only in the overall effect."

―Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition

Mindful repetition is not repetition of the same but a process of learning that relates to what has been acquired. We will approach repetition in two ways. First as a set of highly-dynamic movements with a number that uncovers your limits. Second, as a set of asanas that will be stacked, one after the other, creating a growing "ladder flow". At first align and stay, with every loop, revise and deepen. Expect movement, sweat and rythm. Enjoy my fellow yogis!

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Yoga is Now

 Photo: Benoit Paille

Photo: Benoit Paille

"Yoga is a word freighted with definitions (…) Perhaps the most important have to do with the ideas of “progression” and “new.” This is the ancient meaning: “To move from one situation to another; to understand what I have not understood; to gain that which I lack.”

The movement is in itself Yoga. Like all journeys, there must be three stages: (1) The place where we begin, (2) the choosing of our destination, and (3) the effort to arrive. It is not an easy journey. Difficulties, frustrations, and disappointments will arise. We are likely to falter. That is why it must be a movement of continuous effort and gradual progression. Always, it is movement into the new, into the previously unknown and unexperienced." 

― T.K.V. Desikachar in Health, Healing, and Beyond: Yoga and the Living Tradition of T. Krishnamacharya

We open the year with a now-ness flow. Yoga is moving from one situation to another, into the previously unknown, the new now-ness of the present moment. Choosing a starting point, how to proceed along the journey, and arrival at a chosen destination are intrinsic to the art of vinyasa krama. This progression overflows with opening breathwork, a strong standing sequence for strong legs, and an inversion practice to remain in the now, now and now.

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The Light Bringers

Photo: Lee JeongLok

“Be around the light bringers, the magic makers, the world shifters, the game shakers.

They challenge you, break you open, uplift and expand you.

They don't let you play small with your life.

These heartbeats are your people.

These people are your tribe.”

― Danielle Doby

This week, we are honoured to open our FIRST CLASS OF THE YEAR with Alina's Ashtanga inspired flow. A class to challenge you, break you open, uplift and expand you, with poses inspired by the first and the second series. Expect a strong flow, both in body and soul.

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Class cancelled on the 03.01.2018

My dear Yogis!

THERE IS NO O YOGA TONIGHT, but we are back next week. I am taking some well deserved holidays and preparing some newly inspired classes for you. Thanks so much for all your messages and inquiries. Alina will open up the year with a sweaty Ashtanga inspired class on the 10.01.2018 @20:00. Just the way you love it, strong and precise, don't miss out. See you on the mat. Much love! xO

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Closing Cycles

photo: Anish Kapoor

(...)
This is the day
you realize
how easily the thread
is broken
between this world
and the next

and I found myself
sitting up
in the quiet pathway
of light,

the tawny
close-grained cedar
burning round
me like fire
and all the angels of this housely
heaven ascending
through the first
roof of light
the sun has made.

This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
I ask
my friends
to come,
this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.

This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.

There is no house
like the house of belonging.

— David Whyte, from The House of Belonging

This week, we close cycles with our LAST CLASS OF THE YEAR. A workshop-y class with strength, flexibility and balance and a bonus on core and upside down time. In this well-rounded session, put into practice the discipline of familiarity, just observe. How do asanas feel in your body, how can you respond to them with intelligence, how can you make them yours truly? Your body, the house of belonging.

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Patterns of Precision

 Photo: Model Room, Olafur Eliasson

Photo: Model Room, Olafur Eliasson

"Indifference has two aspects: the undifferenciated abyss, the black nothingness, the indeterminate animal in which everything is dissolved - but also the white nothingness, the once more calm surface upon which float unconnected determinations like scattered members: a head without a neck,an arm without a shoulder, eyes without brows. The indeterminate is completely indifferent, but such floating determinations are no less indifferent to each other. Is difference intermediate between these two extremes? Or is it not rather the only extreme, the only moment of presence and precision?"

-- Gilles Deleuze , Difference and Repetition

Work with clean lines of energy and patterns of precision through this strength building slow-flow that will get your legs burning. Ease into reclining twists and hamstring opening. Mobilize and stabilize your spine with lateral bends, forward bends, twists, and backbends. Explore movement in six different ranges of motion and work at creating a sense of both, lightness and strength.

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Salute the Sun

Photo: Olafur Eliasson

“And what lights the sun? Its own fire. And the sun goes on, day after day, burning and burning. The sun and time. The sun and time and burning. Burning. The river bobbled him along gently. Burning. The sun and every clock on the earth. It all came together and became a single thing in his mind.” 
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

This week we will explore the touchstone of Hatha yoga: sun salutations, also known as Surya Namaskar. This class incorporates Surya A, B, C, D, and Maha Surya to align the seven main chakras in the body from root to crown. Learning the key points of sun salutations creates a strong foundation for all elements of classic Hatha yoga. Spice up your sun salutations taking it from earth to air. Explore different tools to make your jump forward and back smooth, soft and light.

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Patterns of Movement


Photo: Tomas Saraceno

"Consider, on the border between these two cases, the repetition of a decorative motif: a figure is reproduced, while the concept remains absolutely identical ... However, this is not how artists proceed in reality. They do not juxtapose instances of the figure, but rather each time combine an element of one instance with another element of a following instance. They introduce a disequilibrium into the dynamic process of construction, an instability, dissymmetry or gap of some kind which disappears only in the overall effect."
―Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition

Mindful repetition is not repetition of the same but a process of learning that relates to what has been acquired. A set of asanas will be stacked, one after the other, creating a growing "ladder flow". At first align and stay, with every loop, revise and deepen. Expect movement, sweat and rythm. Enjoy my fellow yogis!
 

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Follow the Line


Photo: Bence Bakonyi

(...) most of our fundamental attitudes to life have their physical counterparts in the body. Thus comparison and criticism must begin with the alignment of our own left and right sides to a degree at which even finer adjustments are feasible: or strength of will will cause us to start by stretching the body from the toes to the top of the head in defiance of gravity. Impetus and ambition might begin with the sense of weight and speed that comes with free-swinging limbs, instead of with the control of prolonged balance on foot, feet or hands, which gives poise. Tenacity is gained by stretching in various Yoga postures for minutes at a time, while calmness comes with quiet, consistent breathing and the expansion of the lungs. Continuity and a sense of the universal come with the knowledge of the inevitable alternation of tension and relaxation in eternal rhythms of which each inhalation and exhalation constitutes one cycle (…)
-- Foreword to Iyengar's Light on Yoga

Have we observed carefully how we move through this world in our bodies and minds? Observe your foundations, experiencing how your body gets in contact with the world. Come back to the mat with a beginner's mind, practicing with a lightness of being yet with persistence and full awareness. Your capacity to lift up relies on the act of grounding, what you give is what comes back. Push against the earth solidity, root to rise, follow your line.

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Pure Geometry

ikea_hay_collaboration_film_still-shot_01-1-2340x1316.jpg

"Every subatomic particle not only performs an energy dance, but also a pulsating process of creation and destruction…without end…For the modern physicists, then Shiva's dance is the dance of subatomic matter. As in Hindu mythology, it is a continual dance of creation and destruction involving the whole cosmos; the basis of all existence and of all natural phenomena."

--  Fritzof Capra, The Tao of Physics

Set up the sacred space in which you practice. Use your lines of energy and alignment to further that sense of sacredness, and to feel the unique geometry of your very own body. Transit and flow, twirl and twist from dancing shivas to warriors and one leg standing poses, bringing focus to movement and balance. The dance of Shiva unifies ancient mythology, art, religion and modern physics. It symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, the daily rhythm of birth and death, beginning and end. You are geometry!

Photo: IKEA/ HAY

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The Weird and the Wonderful

This passage quotes a ‘certain Chinese encyclopaedia’ in which it is written that ‘animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) etcetera , (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies’. In the wonderment of this taxonomy, the thing we apprehend in one great leap, the thing that, by means of the fable, is demonstrated as the exotic charm of another system of thought, is the limitation of our own, the stark impossibility of thinking "that".

— Michel Foucault, The Order of Things

Halloween and All Saints have always been filled with mystery, magic and superstition. We take this opportunity to explore more unusual postures of the yoga fauna and mythology. Find your flow through full body mudras and unusual shapes that ignite your imagination. Variations upon variations weave into a fairly complex sequential fabric, featuring moments with Vyaghrasana, Sirsasana and Vatayanasana. Not all freakish things in yoga are easily accessible. Approach the mat with curiosity and cultivate persistance but always with self-derision!

Photo: Marc Quinn

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Growing Taller

"And in me too the wave rises. It swells; it arches its back. I am aware once more of a new desire, something rising beneath me like the proud horse whose rider first spurs and then pulls him back. What enemy do we now perceive advancing against us, you whom I ride now, as we stand pawing this stretch of pavement?"
— Virgina Woolf, The Waves

The spine is an amazing piece of machinery, moving in many different ways that allow for the major part of body mobility. Mobilize and stabilize your spine with lateral bends, forward bends, twists, and backbends. Explore movement in six different ranges of motion and work at creating a sense of lightness and spaciousness.

Photo: Mark Dorf

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The Interlace

"The raucous, anarchic, noisy, variegated, tiger-striped, zebrastreaked, jumbled-up, mixed-up multiple, criss-crossed by myriad colors and myriad shades, is possibility itself. (...) We cannot predict what will be born from it. We cannot know what is in it, here or there. No one knows, no one has ever known, no one will ever know how a possible coexists with a possible, and perhaps it coexists through a relationship of possibility. The set is criss-crossed by possible relationships.”
— Michel Serres, Genesis

A posture is a set of relations, a possibility. In this session, transition through several variations of legs-crossed and arms-crossed and dive deeply into hips and hamstrings. Explore your body's ability to cross over itself, finding symmetry and balance. Move consciously through a sequence of crossings, that will take you from arm balances through inversions to backbends. This challenging well-rounded class will leave you feeling empowered, with a twist!

Photo: Carpeuax, Ugolino and his sons

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All About The Hips

"An affect is a non-conscious experience of intensity; it is a moment of unformed and unstructured potential (…) Affect is the body’s way of preparing itself for action in a given circumstance by adding a quantitative dimension of intensity to the quality of an experience. The body has a grammar of its own that cannot be fully captured in language because it “doesn’t just absorb pulses or discrete stimulations; it infolds contexts…” (Massumi, Parables 30)"

— Shouse, Eric. "Feeling, Emotion, Affect." M/C Journal 8.6 (2005).

All about the hips, in all ranges of motion. Stability and mobility rather than just flexibility, with some dynamic movement. Let us not talk about the hips as containers of emotions, whatever that means, but rather about “affects”: the intensity dimension of any experience. Long holds with a little burn, in as much as flow to get you warm and sweating. Externally rotated positions will be explored accompanied by some lotus variations.

Photo: Yung Lin

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