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Breathe - Feel - Surrender w/ Stephanie Nelson

Breathe - Feel - Surrender
Linking the breath with movement, opening the heart with backbending, and learn to let go and Surrender into Yin ...

Friday 6:15-8:15p
The Breath Within

2 hours with breath-work, asana, and some fun

In this workshop we will investigate the nature of the breath in the asanas and the transitions between.  In the posture, the inhalation is leading and expanding - the energy informing the physical body to create the shape it is capable of at the time.  The exhalation allows the body to release and dissolve away resistance and obstacles it encounters during this process, resetting the body for the next cycle of growth in the pose.  This continues until a time when the differences between these stages are minimal and a sense of harmony is achieved.  The body then leaves the integrated posture by transitioning into the space in between the held poses, the linking sequence of vinyasa.  It is important at this point that the breath leads and informs the opening and closing of the body so that a state of neutrality can be discovered and any tensions that have accumulated in the body during the posture are released.  Surya Namaskara is a simple example of this breathing with movement/holding/movement pattern.  We will begin here and progress to other parts of the Ashtanga vinyasa yoga sequencing for further exploration.  

Saturday 4-6p
Loving Backbends

2 hrs with asana focus

In this workshop we will explore passive and active postures and movements that help to open up the anterior body from the feet to the crown.  We will use the beginning of the Ashtanga Yoga Intermediate series as our platform of inquiry with some intelligent modification and prop work as needed.  We will explore the physical and subtle realms in our investigation, working in a safe and secure way as to help achieve ease and harmony in the body and mind.  Backbending is a way to open the heart and develop vulnerability, compassion and unconditional love, but it can be a little painful, scary, and emotional along the way.  The resulting sense of freedom and openness is worth it. We will close this session together with supportive chanting and breathwork in a circle.

Sunday 5-7p
Yin Yoga with Myofascial Release
2 hrs with gentle asana

The Ashtanga Yoga system is one that challenges the body and mind on many levels.  The physical demands on the body build heat to help remove impurities buried within the tissues using relatively quick rhythmic and flowing movements. The concentration required helps to eliminate the natural and chaotic fluctuations in our mental state that lead to unnecessary suffering.  The prescription for practice is 5-6 days a week of the set sequence of postures, vinyasa style, always right side initiated, and in the direction of the Sun.  I have found over the last 7 years that a wonderful complement to this practice discipline is to also spend time investigating the body and mind with an alternative yoga practice, namely Yin yoga.  In this approach, the body is kept cool, the poses are held for much longer periods, the breath is quiet and natural, and as such the mind is allowed more of an opportunity to connect to the inner landscape of the body.  The targeted tissues in the body are also different, possibly allowing for even greater balance and equilibrium to be achieved than either style of practice on its own.  If you are curious about this practice please join me for an afternoon of Yin yoga.

All three $120
Individual Session $45


Stephanie is originally from rural New England, USA.  She first started practicing yoga in NYC in the mid nineties while taking a break from her graduate studies, exploring several different yoga traditions, eventually discovering Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. She then returned to her scientific pursuits and completed her PhD in Immunology in 2001 in Boston, USA.

In 2002, Stephanie and her family moved to New Zealand and soon after began a 2½year teaching apprenticeship in Ashtanga at the Auckland Yoga Academy (YA500). Since her graduation in 2006, Stephanie has been teaching yoga full time. She is the founder and director of Waiheke Island Ashtanga Yoga and The Breathing Space Yoga Collective, an Experienced-RYT 500 instructor with the Yoga Alliance, and leads YA200 and YA300 registered mentor-based teacher training programs in NZ and abroad.  Stephanie is one of the 3 teachers in the Trinity Yoga collaboration, alongside her dear friends Martina Gotz and Kiri Sutherland.  She also has a keen interest in and commitment to the practice of Yin yoga as a complement to daily Ashtanga Yoga.

Stephanie regularly studies with senior Ashtanga teachers, Peter Sanson and Dena Kingsberg.  She has traveled to Mysore India and to the US to practice with the late Ashtanga Guru, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, his daughter and grandson, Saraswati and Sharath Jois. She is deeply grateful, humbled, and inspired by her teachers and her students.  She also has three beautiful children that inspire her life everyday.