Mark Stephens in Portugal
São João da Madeira 20-23 October, 2022
Join us for 4 days of workshops and masterclasses! Come to learn how deepen and enhance the practice of asana (ain your personal practice and as a teacher) discovering its power to nourish, strengthen, open, challenge, heal and transform. Yoga Alliance accredited 25h YACEP.
THE INTRICACIES OF YOGA ASANAS
Asana is the primary practice across the global yoga landscape. It can nourish, strengthen, and open; it can challenge and frustrate; it can hurt, heal, and transform you in every aspect of your life. This series of workshops and master classes focuses on practicing and teaching asanas in ways that makes them more accessible and sustainable to all. Honoring that every bodymind in unique, with differences in intentions and conditions, we will refine our approach to a wide selection of asanas.
The Intricacies Workshops
These sessions are designed primarily for teachers and teacher trainers, and are open to anyone interested in seriously deepening and refining their personal practices. We start with the idea that some teachers say just let it feel good, while many others tell you exactly what to do and how to do it. Looking very closely at a wide variety of asanas, we will explore the conversation between student experience, expression, and a teacher's informed guidance. We will peer through the prisms functional anatomy, biomechanics, and kinesiology; inquire about habits and samskaras; discuss different theories regarding human tissues (such as bones, cartilage, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia), alignment, energetic actions, and stress; and consider alternatives ways of offering verbal cues, visual demonstration, and hands-on cues designed to more greatly empower students in their personal practices - as practices of kriya ("action" - in which the student, not the teacher, takes primary action.
These classes are designed and taught for all levels of students, offering options for beginners to seriously advanced students and teachers. They model how to teach, including how to teach multi-level classes while guiding the practice in accessible, sustainable, and meaningful ways for all.
Thursday 20 October
6:00pm to 8:00pm
Master Class - Focus on Hip Opening
- This mixed-level class will take you deeply into your hips with slow, patient, methodical, sustained and potentially revelatory techniques. First, we will sit, breathe, visualize, and set clear personal intention. Second, we will explore a gradually deepening array of very specific actions in the hips, mostly while supine. Third, we'll explore with great specificity a variety of standing hip opening asanas in a flow-style with many options for different conditions and intentions, offering a deeper exploration of the hips. Lastly, we will rest, then sit.
Friday 21 October
9:30am to 12:00pm
Workshop: Essential Elements of Asana Practice and Pedagogy
- A presentation and conversation on the essential elements of asana, including how we breathe, move, stabilize, gaze, persist, detach, align, energize, modify, support, touch, listen, and love. Related topics include fear, amusement, courage, compassion, wonder, and calmness.
1:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Workshop: The Intricacies of Standing Asanas
- Focus on the fundamentals of standing starting with detailed elements of pada bandha, pelvic neutrality, mula bandha, natural spine shape, the shoulder girdle the head and how specific breathing can support these; close consideration of standing asanas with externally, internally, and neutrally rotated hips; standing balancing asanas; modifications, use of props, and creative variations; hands-on adjustments; and matters of sequencing.
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Master Class: Focus on Grounding and Levitating
- This classes explores the relationship between grounding and expanding, roots and extension, applying awakened core and open hips to a variety of playful arm balances before transitioning into the deeper realm of the heart with slow progression into a series of backbends. There will be options for all levels of experience and ability.
Saturday 22 October
10:00am to 12:00pm
Master Class: Waking Up with Pranayama and Meditation
- First, we will simply sit and tune in. Second, we will go very slowly in gradually expanding, balancing, and refining how we breathe, exploring a variety of pranayama techniques, with just a little bit of movement. Third, will sit and play with a few ways of cultivating simpler yet more expansive consciousness and joyful awareness.
1:00pm to 3:00pm
The Intricacies of Surya Namaskara - Remix and Refinement
- There a few simple remixes and several principles rooted in biomechanics and neuroscience that can make these precious gems of yoga better for all - safer, more accessible, more sustainable, and more beneficial. While bowing deeply to ancient wisdom and the creativity of Krishnamacharya, Sivananda, and others, we will explore new methods and techniques for practicing and guiding Surya Namaskara A/B and Classical Surya Namaskara, considering how best to practice them as students and guide them as teachers. Begins with a lecture on the philosophies, mythologies, and histories of human being ritually bowing to the sun, especially in doing yoga.
3:30pm to 7:30pm
The Intricacies of the Core and Arm Support Asanas
- Focus on the fundamentals of a wide variety of practices for cultivating the abdominal core and connecting the core to hand and arm support postures, starting with a brief discussion of the core, hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders and neck. We will again peer through the prisms functional anatomy, biomechanics, and kinesiology; inquire about habits and samskaras; discuss different theories regarding alignment, energetic actions, and stress; and consider alternatives ways of offering verbal cues, visual demonstration, and hands-on cues.
Sunday 23 October
9:30 am to 12:00 pm
Master Class: Asana, Pranayama, Meditation: An Integrated
- In the whole yoga, our practices integrate the eight limbs of yoga, yet there is far more in the many strands of practice deep in the roots of yoga and tantra. Here we will start with a brief discussion of that idea, then explore an integrated practice of asana, pranayama, and meditation. We will visit every asana family (standing, core, arm support, backbends, twists, seated & supine hip openers and forward bends, and inversions), with options for all levels of ability. We will explore several pranayama techniques (including vritti, viloma, kumbhaka, and nadi shodhana). We will sit and explore both "classical" and tantric approaches to meditation. If there's time and interest, we can sing.
1:00 pm to 5:30 pm
The Intricacies of Backbends and Spinal Twists
- Here we will explore student-teacher dialogue, the conversation between student experience and a teacher's informed guidance, in the context of looking closely at a wide variety of Backbends and Twists, starting with a discussion of the spine and its relationship to the pelvic and shoulder girdles. We will again peer through the prisms functional anatomy, biomechanics, and kinesiology; inquire about habits and samskaras; discuss different theories regarding alignment, energetic actions, and stress; and consider alternatives ways of offering verbal cues, visual demonstration, and hands-on cues. Postures will range from very basic to advanced.
Rua Eça de Queirós 449,
3700-110 São João da Madeira
Registration and payment
(workshops + master class)
Pack of 4
California yoga teacher and author Mark Stephens integrates insights from vastly diverse sources found in ancient-to-modern yoga, tantra, science, mythology, and philosophy. Practicing yoga for over 31 years, teaching for over 26 years, and training teachers for over 21 years, his four comprehensive yoga textbooks, Teaching Yoga, Yoga Sequencing, Yoga Adjustments, and Yoga Therapy, plus Yoga for Better Sleep, are available in many languages. He lives in Santa Cruz, California and teaches globally. Learn more at markstephensyoga.com.