I’ve been asked so many times by students: ‘why don’t you make a video so we have something to follow?’. A shadow yoga DVD is already available, so there is little point in me trying to replicate it, but I did decide there was some merit in posting a clip for my students so they can see the way I practice, after all, it is me they’re learning from. I thought it would also be appreciated by anyone browsing my site, wondering what shadow yoga is about.
So here it is. I hope it gives a sense of what the form looks like as a self practice. Demonstrating a move here and there in a led class doesn’t really capture that.
The clip shows the latter part of the third Shadow Yoga prelude form ‘Kartikkeya Mandala’ or ‘Garland of Light’, and includes the shadow yoga variation of Surya Namaskar. It’s a beautiful form and a pleasure to practice.
For most people, the arms and shoulders, and legs and hips, hold a great deal of tension. So much so that the movement of prana around the body becomes restricted. To attain the benefits of seated asana these areas must be relaxed so as to allow unrestricted circulation of the internal winds (vayu). This isn’t possible if it’s blocked up in the shoulders for instance.
Kartikkeya Mandala reduces these restrictions by refining the movements of the limbs, unburdening them from the heavy imposition of the muscles. Of course muscles are being used, but they must not dominate. Over work of the muscle chokes the flow of the life force. This is a difficult aspect of ones yoga practice to come to terms with, especially if, like me, you have always relied on your physical strength to attain results.
The video was shot almost straight through, taking as few breaks and re-takes as possible with the intention of giving a realistic representation of a self practice, or as realistic as it can be when someone’s pointing a camera at you.
I am very grateful to Brian Doherty for shooting the video, to my friend Nicky for the use of the space, and also to Al Gromer Khan for giving his blessing in the use of the beautiful soundtrack you hear.