Teaching yoga in Nicaragua…a new commentary for Ashtanga???

As many of you know, before Nicaragua, I taught Anatomy and Alignment for 2 years on the Ashtanga Yoga TTC in Goa. I immersed myself into teaching the Skeletal Muscular System and was able to bring a very technical approach to how the Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga was taught, encouraging students to be mindful about the integrity of each and every posture.  I loved teaching this part of the curriculum. The recognition of a new muscle in my practice drove me learn more and more in this area.  I could (and still do) talk for hours about origins and insertions, stretching and strengthening, antagonist pairs, prime movers and more.  I couldn’t get enough of it.

When an opportunity arose for me to teach Yoga Philosophy, I jumped at the chance.  I was aware that my knowledge of the Ashtanga Yoga was biased towards the physical nature of the practice.  I felt connected to my spirit but certainly wasn’t debating spirituality in my teachings.  This is a huge part of Yoga Philosophy.  And so, I immersed myself in the realms of the subject.  I studied from an array of commentaries on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  I delved into the background of why they were written.  I spent hours deliberating over translations and how translations were evolving over time.  Most importantly, I debated with students how best to apply these to daily life.  From the concept of the soul to the endlessly debated topic of karma, I lived and breathed Yoga Philosophy.  This added a whole new depth to my teaching of Ashtanga Yoga.  The physical aspect started to play less of a role as I focused more on how to calm the mind, minimise the mind’s activity and access your true spirit.  That is the main objective of yoga, right?

And now, as I continue to teach here in Nicaragua, I have added a new dimension to my teaching.  My focus on myofascia unites both the physical and spiritual aspects of yoga.  If we talk about fascia, we talk about mapping the body’s continuity, bringing about wholeness and unity.  If we treat the body in totality rather than a series of muscles and bones, we encourage better communication within the body through the nervous system.  We feel through our fascia.  We find stillness when the fascia is healthy.  If we can find stillness in the body, in turn, we can find stillness in the mind.

I am truly passionate about teaching Ashanga Yoga through Myofascia Release as it has allowed me to develop a whole new commentary.  I believe that I have brought together 4 years of vigorous studies and developed a practice that showcases my interpretation of Myofascia Release.  Whether you practice Ashtanga Yoga or not, it improves your wellbeing both physically and spiritually.  I am reaping the results in my practice and am working with students, here in Nicaragua, who are very new to yoga.  Already, they are  showing improved wellbeing.

My studies continue.  A journey is very much in progress.

Next scheduled Myofascia Release Courses are:
29th April @ Los Clavos Surf Camp, Nicaragua
25th June @ Finca S’Almudaina, Majorca, Spain

I am currently the resident yoga teacher at Los Clavos Surf Camp, Nicaragua.
Join me soon!!

Ashtanga Yoga, Nicaragua….What’s In A Name??

I just finished hosting an Ashtanga Yoga Retreat here in Nicaragua titled An Exploration of Stretch and Strength.  It was a huge success and I believe that my guests left with a whole new passion for Ashtanga Yoga that they hadn’t necessarily arrived with.  I suppose it is fair to say that if I can get kids to enthuse about learning algebra (under duress) then it should be pretty easy to share my passion of Ashtanga Yoga with adults who share my love of yoga.

We practised a modified Primary Series each morning.  Afternoon workshops were delivered on release techniques and strengthening exercises, all geared towards the advancement of Ashtanga Yoga.  We released the front, back and side lines and then identified postures that relied on these lines.  We strengthened the glutes and then mapped out the use of the glutes through the Primary Series.  We spent a full session on shoulder stability and the use of the armpit bandha.  It was Ashtanga Yoga at it’s technical best.

And yes, by the end of the week, there was significant progress not just physically but mentally as well……practice became more focused, the mind became stiller.  Students reaped the benefits of practising Ashtanga Yoga with me and yes, they really liked it.  But still I dare not market my product as A Week of Ashtanga Yoga, Nicaragua!!!

So, what is in a name??  Why does a retreat called An Exploration of Stretch and Strength have so much more appeal than Ashtanga Yoga Retreat?  Julia’s Breathe and Release Camp…a great name but the reality is that I would still teach a whole heap of Ashtanga Yoga and all that is related to it.  Why does the mention of Ashtanga Yoga have a similar stigmatism attached to it, a similar stigmatism attached to it as the mere mention of algebra…..I can’t do it; it’s too hard; it doesn’t make sense; I’m going to fail.

So, what to do?  An Exploration of Stretch and Strength, Nicaragua…..I think this just about covers it or is it false advertising.  Your thoughts please!!


My very first Ashtanga Yoga student in Nicaragua!!

Julia and CarolinI just said goodbye to Carolin, my very first Ashtanga Yoga Student in Nicaragua.  Here is a small interview from her about the week:

So, what’s been happening this week at Los Clavos Surf Resort?? 
Julia specialises in Ashtanga Yoga which I hadn’t knowingly done before. We practiced the Primary Series throughout the week, a 90 minute early morning class. Before lunch, we had the Alignment Class during which we focused on Ashtanga Yoga postures in heaps of detail.   This was a one to one class. Later in the afternoon, we had a Restorative Flow or a Release Class with the other guests staying at the resort.

Had you practiced Ashtanga Yoga before coming to Nicaragua?
No. I had done Vinyasa Flow and Power Yoga. These are based on Ashtanga Yoga postures but I never completed the full Primary Series. I was used to freestyle, dynamic sequencing rather than a set series.

What significant differences have you experienced in your yoga practice since coming ti Nicaragua?
I now have much better alignment in  my postures and can bend deeper into them. With Julia’s help, I know how to improve an Ashtanga Yoga practice. Also, she really helped me to bring awareness to my breath.

And how is Los Clavos Surf Resort, Nicaragua?
Fabulous. It’s a super beautiful spot, far away from civilization and directly on the beach. The setting of the yoga space is magnificent and it is easy to focus on your Ashtanga Yoga practice as you can to listen to the birds, the ocean as well as your own breath. It feels like the world stands still.  It really is an amazing spot in Nicaragua.

What are you 5 best things about the week?
Yoga, Eat, Sleep, Repeat (does that count as 4­?)
Feeling the improvement in my practice
Meditation on the beach

If you had to rename the ‘Intensive Yoga Week.’  What would it be?
Julia’s Breathe and Release Camp HAHA

Anything else? 
Los Clavos Surf Camp, Nicaragua is amazing!!!