Ashtanga Yoga For Life

A retreat with Adam Keen

6 May to 13 May 2023

Adam Keen Purple Valley Tenerife

Ashtanga yoga for life...

Everyone is welcome to this week, where we will explore how to make the practice work for you whilst maintaining a commitment to the traditional method. There is no ‘incorrect method’ if you are connecting to yourself more deeply through your breath. Learn how to work with injuries and obstacles to find a renewed enthusiasm for a daily practice that nurtures rather than punishes you.

A holistic attitude will be conveyed in all we do together, from the practice classes and workshops to the yoga philosophy. This is an inclusive space where everyone will be treated and embraced as they are, not as they ought to be.

Mornings will be Mysore style classes, followed by a short break and a workshop before brunch on four days.  The rest of the time will be free to relax, connect with each other, with nature and catch up with yourself away from your daily routine.   Simply breathe deeply and enjoy the beauty of this magical island of Tenerife.

We will come together for dinner and share our experiences.

This retreat is open for all levels of practitioners – from beginners to advanced.

Adam Keen Purple Valley Tenerife
Adam Keen Purple Valley Tenerife

Retreat schedule

7am-9.30am: Mysore Classes (6 days)

Adam teaches traditionally as he learnt Ashtanga yoga in Mysore. He sees Ashtanga yoga as he experienced it, defined by subtle, inner techniques and not the literal and rigid interpretation of the sequences.

All practitioners will be approached individually so that the system is made to work for you instead of you for the system. This means a gentler and more holistic approach to physical assistance (if you want that).

In addition, there will be options around sequences which are viewed as an ideal or blueprint. Adam’s approach also means an honest discussion around injuries and how to work with them in the practice so that they do heal.

All are welcome to the Mysore class; Adam is happy if you need practice sheets, or he or Theresa will show you the postures. This is a great way to begin an Ashtanga practice, for it's only natural in the self-practice scenario that a person may start to grasp the power of their experience of breath and deeper embodiment in a way that feels right for them.

Workshops: 10.00am – 12:00pm

Sunday: An Introduction to ‘The Inner Stretch’

We have been used to seeing yoga as stretching out of ourselves instead of pulling together. However, we need both; the flexibility of a stretch and the less discussed importance of including compression in the practice of asanas.

This workshop will focus on how, by linking the diaphragmatic breath to what we are doing, we discover two phases of work in the postures, the active and the passive. These two aspects directly translate to strength and flexibility.

However, they can only really be understood with recourse to a subtler understanding of the technique of bandha, as it affects the diaphragm as the fundamental muscle of our body. Using some familiar asanas, Adam will explain in more practical terms what breath and bandha mean in terms of an efficient yoga practice.

Monday: Improve Your Jump Through & Jump Back (Even if You Think You Have Short Arms)

Moving on from the previous workshop, having grasped the diaphragmatic breathing, we shall now revisit the jump through and jump back. Whether you can do it or are working on it, this workshop will take a different perspective on a movement that is envisaged as a core strength.

Adam will explain how a deeper understanding of the breath can facilitate this movement more sustainably and more efficiently. To do this, we will look in more detail at scapula mobility and what it means in practice using the Surya namaskar vinyasa sequence as an example.

We will also consider the importance of the lateral stretch across the body and how this movement can be applied to create vital strength in the back. Don’t worry; it’s rarely a question of your arms being too short.

Everyone will leave the workshop with a version of this movement that works for them and where they know clearly where they’re going in their development.

Wednesday: Intermediate For All

Originally, the early students to Mysore were very quickly taught through the Intermediate Series, even if they hadn’t perfected Primary.  There was no need to stand up from backbend first; it wasn’t even at the end of Primary at that stage.

This not only helped their backbend ability inordinately, but it also built a general strength and stamina and lent an energetic balancing found lacking in those stuck on Primary too long.

In contrast, the Intermediate series can be safely approached, made accessible and adapted for all. Not only is this a more effective way to practice, but it also allows for more variety and inspiration in a practice of the Primary series alone that can be somewhat repetitive.

Adam will lead the class and demonstrate the full version of the postures, offering options that capture the essence of each pose for all levels in the class. This highly enjoyed workshop is often nothing less than a revolution. Even the seasoned Intermediate practitioners will learn a different approach to familiar postures.

Thursday: Why Yoga Philosophy Matters

An informal, practical, and sometimes irreverent look at the yoga philosophy is found in the entire books of the Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras. We will reconsider how we might interpret this ancient wisdom to suit the lives we see in front of us today. In addition, we will clarify some of the terms that have often become misinterpreted or confused.

Adam is known for his thoughtful reflections on the wisdom behind the practice and his democratic approach to it. As a group, there will be time to discuss such questions as what it means to live a ‘yoga lifestyle’ and ‘ego and yoga asana’.

This will be the most entertaining and relatable talk on the underpinnings of yoga that you probably have experienced. You will also better understand the broader context and tradition from which yoga asana springs.

Adam Keen Purple Valley Tenerife
Adam Keen Purple Valley Tenerife

Teacher 

Adam has taught Ashtanga yoga for almost 25 years. Coming from an academic background in philosophy and a professional one as a chef, he is knowledgeable, practical, and relatable in his approach. Many consider him humorous too.

Adam is one of a few students who completed the Advanced A series in Mysore with Sharathji and received Level 2 Authorisation in 2012. However, he is equally at home teaching all levels and gives all students the same attention and interest. He is democratic in his approach and kind and believes that the practice should not feel like an exam.

Instead, it is his firm belief that the practice can remain traditional and be suited to the demands and needs of each body without contradiction. This means that everyone will be considered on their terms as they need as opposed to being fitted into a generalised template.

Adam and his wife Theresa run the online yoga platform Keen on Yoga from their current home in Bali. He hosts the Keen on Yoga Podcast & YouTube channel, interviewing many of the world's most renowned Ashtanga teachers and philosophical academics.

Practical details

Maximum number of students is 25. 

Morning classes will be taught with maximum 16 students in each class.

Cost: £950 GBP per week for shared accommodation and £1250 GBP  for single accommodation. The price is all-inclusive (includes accommodation, all meals and yoga). There is an option to pay a deposit of 50% of the full amount to secure your place. The deposit is non-refundable and the balance must be paid at least 4 weeks prior to the start date.

To book this retreat, follow the link below and complete the form to make your payment. 

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