Monday, July 10, 2006

Danny Paradise and Reema Datta

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday I was at the workshop with Danny Paradise and Reema Datta. It was great. I can highly recommend these nice and very advanced gurus.

The first day focused on the 1st Ashtanga series, the second day on the 2nd series and the 3rd day on the advanced A series. We did many many variations. This was consciously part of the workshop. The Ashtanga series are considered as suggestions. It was the recommendation not to take it as a dogma. We should feel free to adopt the practice to our daily needs or to our needs when aging, or to our needs when powerful and so on.

Specially on the third day, but also during the other days Danny and Reema performed asanas. Danny said: Now I show you something that you can do when you are old: Then he made handstand, folded in padmasana, leaded the legs to the right side and to the left side and then back to handstand. So good. I saw the first time of my life a perfect Kapotasana performed by Reema (a perfect Indian beauty). I sat down and watched what they did, my chin fell down, my eyes were fixed to the show. It was magnetic.

I couldn't do everything, but I could do more than I thought.

The stories/theory in the beginning were interesting:
-those who practice yoga for years will be able to have a quick death without long suffering before death was one of the subjects. Yoga prepares for death.
-Another subject was to see the Ashtanga series not as a dogma, but as suggestions.
-Yoga is a science, not a religion.
-Yoga gives enorm strenght and flexibility - a peak is perhaps at the age of 90.
-Yoga leads to happiness.

We did pranayama after the "theory". The first exercise was to stand up, knees bent, hands on knees, then to inhale, exhale and then to lift up the belly as far as possible, to bring it back to normal and to lift it up again. Not easy. This exercise has a cleaning effect. It is especially good to do it in the morning. Classic pranayama exercises were executed. Then the asanas followed, beginning with the standing positions and many variations.

I asked why so many Ashtanga yogis are injured from time to time: Danny said: it is greed and not being attentive enough. It is easier to get injured if pushed by a teacher. Strong adjustments help to get further faster at the cost of getting injured. So, let's be patient and attentive.

A daily home practice should be built up slowly. It is fine to do at first "only" 6 surya namaskaras and padmasana. Asanas can be added piece by piece.

I was so proud that I had the courage to book the whole workshop (At first I was not sure if I was able to do asanas of the advanced series). Only about 15 people booked this fantastic workshop. Half of them were teachers and rather advanced ( I think 10 of them could do hanumanasana easily). I belonged to the 5 people who struggeled with many asanas. But this was OK. I tried what I could do. I even got a compliment that I did well.

I am very motivated and inspired. I like the idea to see the series as suggestions. I'm sure that I will add asanas (variations) to my practice. I've lost a little bit the respect of the "difficult" asanas of the advanced series .

The 2 gurus didn't stop teaching after 2 1/2 hours. They went on and on with the class. They both teached with passion. The adjustments were soft. They should show the direction, but without pushing students too much. We practiced about 4 hours each day. That's also one reason why I didn't find time to write.

I wanted to watch the last 2 soccer games, too. Now the world cup is over. The pizza is in the oven. Life can go on.

Today I didn't practice. I didn't even think to practice. I wanted to give my body a rest time. The three days were very challenging for me.


Wayne said...

This sounds like a *wonderful* workshop. It is always interesting to hear from those yogis/yoginis that have been practicing many, many years. Lately I have been trying to be more patient and attentive in my own practice as Danny suggested and it has helped very much.

Thank you for sharing about the workshop!

Ursula said...

I cannot praise this workshop enough, because I don't have the words for such an event. It will be the highlight of the year.

samasthiti said...

My teacher told me yesterday basicly the same thing. That ashtanga is not a ridgid unmoving practice, that it like life is organic and changing. We should not be so dogmatic and ridgid in our approach.

Ursula said...

It also implies the idea of freedom.

Danny was very open to other yoga styles than Ashtanga. Each person is looking for something else, why not offer it if it is already there.

They think of the yoga movement as a grass root development. It will spread and spread all over the world and everywhere it will develop a unique form and a unique approach.

CJ said...

I've also been to one of their workshops and it was inspiring and very good. Reema's charity "the Usha foundation" sponsor my yoga group.

We lost the world cup and our captain head-butted the italian...schade :(

Ursula said...

Except a few exceptions, the games and the party were peaceful. I saw Z., too. I can only understand this and a few other events like this, because it was all in all very emotionally.

Danny and Reema are fantastic people. Nice to hear that you liked the workshop, too.

Tiffersll said...

Great info....thanks for sharing!

liz said...

Hey Ursula, what a wild foul eh? I COULDN't believe that he did that... quite possible that decided the game right there

Interesting on the injuries- I am always injured and I'm sure it is becuase I push myself too hard

Sue said...

Thanks for sharing your experience at the workshop. Sounds wonderful!

Sorry about the soccer talk, but the Italian deserved the headbutt from the French captain, he (the Italian) looked like he pinched the French captain's nipples! Ouch!

There was a video of it on youtube, but it got removed because it violated copyright.

Richard said...

Great post. Peaking at age 90 works for me!

Quentin said...

Reema Datta came to Sivananda Bahamas for Singing and Dancing for Sat-Sang while I was there for Ayurveda Yoga therapy course. (I was not able to attend her yoga class during the day.) Also she did classes during the day. Sivananda usually only allows Sivananda sequence as designed by Sri Vishnu Divananda that has 12 basic poses with variations of the 12 added for more advanced. Just curious at this workshop with Danny Paradise was her Yoga Ashtanga or Sivananda style? Danny Paradise is one of David Williams students and learned from Sri P Jois. However he changes the Ashtanga sequence, as many certified or authorized yogis do now.
PS I have the Sherath DVD and I do not believe he has Ashtanga meditative flow and asana practice as well as many well known students of P. Jois.

Ursula said...

Thanks for your comment, Quentin.