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21 Nov 2016
November 21, 2016

Our November Iyengar Yoga Workshop!

November 21, 2016

Sophia's Yoga WorkshopSophia Argyris reaching upIyengar Yoga is a method developed by B.K.S Iyengar that focuses very much on alignment to help students gain the greatest benefits from their practice, as well as giving a much deeper understanding and awareness of how our bodies work.  B.K.S Iyengar was the first to introduce the use of props such as blocks and bricks to allow everyone to practice yoga safely and beneficially, no matter what level of flexibility or strength they have to begin with. However, Iyengar yoga is much more than the props that we use, it is about really learning the best way to practice for your own body, how to improve flexibility where there’s stiffness, how to create strength where it’s lacking, how to spread awareness through the entire body. What seems like a tiny detail (such as how your hands or feet are placed) can have a real impact on the body as a whole, and Iyengar yoga teaches us to feel this and respond to it. We tend to hold the postures for longer than in other yoga practices, every asana is a meditation, a step to greater understanding, and greater physical and emotional stability.

I have been teaching Iyengar Yoga classes for the Summertown Clinic for about two years, and on the 12th of November I taught my first workshop at the studio at the North Oxford Golf Club. We were fully booked, which meant there were ten students booked in, all of whom had been practicing yoga for several years and were ready for some more challenging practice.

In the morning session we worked mostly on increasing flexibility in the shoulders and opening the chest, which is so important in this age where we spend a lot of our time working at computers, often closing the front of our bodies. And of course in the colder weather this tendency to close up becomes even more prevalent! So we worked to open this area, and we then looked an inversions such as Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Downwards Facing Tree posture, more commonly known as a handstand), Sirsasana (headstand) and worked towards Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock posture, or elbow balance). Some of the students had practiced all of these before, some had only practiced Sirsasana previously, but all of them approached the practice of these challenging asanas with positivity and a desire to learn. We followed this with some seated asanas, working on increasing flexibility in the hips, and finished the morning session with Savasana (Corpse Pose, or relaxation).

After a sociable lunch in the café at the Golf Club we returned to the studio for an afternoon of restorative practice and Pranayama (breathwork). The first hour was spent in various restorative asanas that continued to encourage an opening in the chest area, to prepare the body for Pranayama by creating space for deeper breathing, at the same time as encourage softness and relaxation. To maintain softness in the whole body, particularly shoulders, face and throat, when practicing Pranayama is very important. Once we had completed these recuperative asanas we progressed to a short session of seated Pranayama, followed by some in supine position, before once again closing the session with Savasana.

I really enjoyed teaching this workshop, the four hours (two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon) flew by, the group were lovely and very committed, and the atmosphere was very positive. I look forward to further days like this in the future!

Here are some comments from some of the students who attended:

It was a great experience. It has inspired and motivated me in my practice. Thank you for such a varied and interesting day. It was lovely to discover so much I didn’t know, even after about 3 years of practice. I learned a lot of new asanas and understood more about how to do them and the benefits. Your explanations and the attention you pay to each one of us always impresses me. It was lovely to eat together and get to know the others too. The blissful afternoon session was all new to me. I found it really complemented the hard work done in the morning.”


For more information on future workshops or to book an appointment with Sophia Argyris please call our friendly reception team on 01865 558561.

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