Adam Keen Purple Valley Tenerife

The basis of this time together is to inspire or re-inspire you in your practice. In part, this means applying a general blueprint, with consideration and kindness to your individual body. We are all at different levels with the postures, but the inner technique is the important thing and, in this, we’re all equal.

Our aim is that everyone leaves feeling not only clearer about their practice, what they’re doing and how to move forward, but, also, simply better and reinvigorated towards the practice. We hope to do this by presenting a broad context around asana as well as different options as to how to pursue it. 

It’s also useful in all of this to offer a wider context of how asana practice fits in with yoga philosophy and meditation, that it’s not simply exotic gymnastics. This year, Adam has teamed up with long-term meditation teacher Magnus Fridh who will lead daily meditations after Adam’s workshops,

In our retreats, everyone is welcome as part of the group. You will be made to feel at ease and at home whatever your background. There will also be time for beaches and exploring the culture, art and history of Goa with newfound friends.

What You Can Expect:

  • A friendly and inclusive group with a range of ages and abilities.
  • To make discoveries in your practice
  • Delicious and nutritious meals.
  • To experience India in a comfortable. way
  • To make new friends and engage with a support group.
  • Lots of laughs.
  • To return with renewed enthusiasm and energy for your practice.

This two-week retreat includes five Mysore classes, one led class per week, as well as four afternoon workshops per week, each of which includes either asana technique, history, or philosophy as well as meditation.

 

Course schedule

Fruit, coffee, tea: 10.00 am

Brunch: 10.30 am

Dinner: 6.00 pm 

Morning Classes

Sunday to Thursday, 8.00 a.m: Mysore class

Adam gives yoga assistance in a safe and non-intrusive way. He does not believe in forcing people into postures, rather, uses verbal and light physical touch to open up new directions for the individual to follow as they wish. This practice is based on individual exploration, kindness, and fun. It is not an exam or military exercise. All are welcome to the Mysore class. Adam is happy if you need practice sheets, or he or Theresa will show you the postures. 

Friday 8.00 a.m.: Led Primary

This is a unique led class as it features both the vinyasa count as well as fundamental pointers for each posture. Everyone will be made to feel welcome and safe in participating in this class as options are given so everyone can do the whole series in a way that suits their own bodies. Adam doesn’t believe in stopping people, the ‘perfect’ posture, or, dictating exactly how something should look.

Afternoon Workshops (1 hour 15 minutes with Adam, 45 minutes with Magnus)

Meditation classes:

Today, the world is more restless, fast-paced, and stressful than ever. With the new reality of long-term sick leave, anxiety, burnouts, and thriving stress clinics and rehabilitation centres, we all need to make time to find inner stillness. With this in mind, meditation is essential, a true gift, and a tool to keep you equanimous amid life. If you are a yogi and more focused on asanas, this will deepen your yoga experience. You will add a dimension to your practice that will support restraining the fluctuations of the mind and establish a steadiness and mental balance.

Magnus will focus his meditation classes on:

*The liturgy of meditation

*The breath as a tool for nervous system regulation

*The exhalation as a gateway to stillness

*The concept of mindfulness and psychological flexibility

*Shamatha and Vipassana meditation

*Compassion and psychological security

At the end of the retreat, all students will have a clear understanding of meditation, an experience of profound inner stillness and the inner natural state of the mind, and how to maintain a steady practice in everyday life.

Sunday 27th, 4.00 pm: Fundamental Openings

There are a relatively small number of fundamental movements that yoga asana requires we grasp to progress. On the other hand, these openings are subtle and not necessarily straightforward to understand on the level of the body. However, this is not just about practice – a good grasp of theory is also required. 

And, from the basic standing postures where they’re first presented in their most simple form, they get increasingly complicated. Therefore, we shall look at these postures, consider them in detail, and find they translate into a deeper understanding of what’s going on in various problem postures further on down the line. 

Monday 28th, 4.00 pm: Basic Principles of Primary Series Forward Folds (And How They Help You in All Series’)

The Primary Series is said to be about forward folds. However, it would be more effective to view it as about backstretches. The back and spine are what yoga asana is concerned with (not the constant (over)stretching of the hamstrings). 

Further still, no two forward folds are the same. Depending on the position of the legs, each position is unique in both its demands and benefits. In this workshop we shall go through the seated postures of the Primary series, considering in depth what is happening in each one. 

Tuesday 29th, 4.00 pm: Arm Balances

The Ashtanga practice often involves putting all/most of the weight on one’s hands. However, as is often the case, although it demands strength, it doesn’t always build it. The practice is more slanted towards flexibility than strength. 

So, here, we shall address this, not only looking at how to use the strength-building elements of the practice as effectively as possible but, also, at what other things we could consider doing outside practice. After this, we will move on to try our luck in a range of arm balances from the Primary, Intermediate and Advanced series to suit (and challenge) all levels of ability. 

Thursday 31st, 4.00 pm: The Bhagavad Gita – Tips on How to Live 

The yoga scholar Edwin Bryant is fond of saying ‘Yoga Sutras before breakfast, and Bhagavad Gita (for how to live and practice) the rest of the day’.  Indeed, the text is as relevant as ever to our modern lives if only we can move past some of the language and antiquated imagery. 

It’s not as impenetrable and hard to understand as it’s often thought to be, suggesting a problem, method (and several ways to go about it, depending on our character), and a solution (both practical and ideal). This workshop aims to help anyone wondering how to expand their interest in yoga philosophy practically and clearly as it relates to real-life concerns. 

Friday 1st, 4.00 pm: Q&A with Adam 

An open discussion on the workshops so far and anything else that’s on your mind in practice.  An enjoyable finale for the first week, where Adam always talks honestly about his background too. This is always a great time to share one’s own experiences, clear up doubts and consider new ways of approach.  

Saturday – No classes

Sunday 3rd, 4.00 pm: Common Injuries, How to Prevent Them and/or Heal from Them

Moving imbalanced bodies trying to restore balance, we’re bound to encounter setbacks sometimes. However, there are ways to safeguard against this as much as possible. Then, there are methods to deal with the setbacks you do encounter so they are most quickly overcome. 

Here we shall discuss common possible practice injuries; knees, lower back, and shoulders, amongst other less common complaints like wrists, ankles, and neck, so that we take every measure to protect against them. At the same time, options will also be presented as to how to keep practising, as well as healing, if an injury has occurred. 

Monday 4th, 4.00 pm: Hip Openings

It’s often assumed that opening the hips simply means the ability to get the knees to the floor in baddha konasana or achieve mari D. However, this particular opening is only a small part of a much more complex process of hip opening; less to do with the inner thighs than opening the sacrum. It’s no exaggeration to say that the whole practice is based on sacral opening. So, to practice effectively we need to be aware of all that this entails, for it is much more than simple external rotation of the hips. 

Tuesday 5th, 4.00 pm: Basic Adjustments 

Nobody needs to be adjusted. This suggests the unhelpful idea that we are doing something wrong and need to be put right. It’s also often found to cause injury, or, at the very least, to be uncomfortable and perhaps invasive, as someone is taken into a range of movements they cannot achieve on their own.

In contrast, basic physical assistance in asana practice is gentle, effective, and safe. Whether you’re a teacher or not, learning these basic points of physical assistance will help you in your practice as well as in helping others. Everyone can learn these physical cues, whatever their level of practice.

Thursday 7th, 4.00 pm: Common Misconceptions And Concerns About Practice

Many mistaken ideas are floating around about how to be a traditional Ashtangi. Here, we often encounter unhelpful idealism, not at all in the spirit of the original method. Ideas such as that we need to do our whole practice every day, that we must do it 6 days a week, that one posture needs to be perfected before we can move to the next, even that Ashtanga must be fast and dynamic to be Ashtanga.

However, Ashtanga has to do with a method, not specific details such as whether you jump back between every posture, or, whether you do the postures as to current notions of their ideal form. In this discussion, we hope to unpack together some of these misconceptions regarding what it means to be an Ashtanga yoga practitioner and how to balance discipline and a love for the tradition with a practical approach based on making our yoga work for us. 

Saturday 9th: Departures, check out at 10.00 am.

 

 

About the teachers

Adam Keen

Adam made his first trip to Mysore in 2007, received level 2 authorisation in 2012 and completed the Advanced A sequence of Ashtanga yoga in 2013 with Sharathji.  Hehas been a yoga practitioner since 1999, starting with hatha yoga while studying philosophy at university.

Having taught internationally and spent over ten years running a Mysore program in his native London, Adam’s style is open, non-dogmatic and eclectic while remaining rooted in an appreciation of the tradition as taught in Mysore. He has a unique way of making everyone welcome and meeting students where they are with humour and kindness.

 

 

He is a co-founder of Keen on Yoga, an online yoga platform hosting workshops and events, and the host of the Keen on Yoga Podcast and YouTube channels. Adam has interviewed and learned from most of the top Ashtanga teachers and philosophy academics in this capacity, leading to a unique overview of the modern yoga world and teaching approaches.

When not practising yoga, Adam likes to cook – in his earlier years, he was a chef, supporting himself in this profession by cooking in Buddhist and yoga centres whilst studying yoga. This took him to Purple Valley in Goa, where he was employed as the chef by his future wife, Theresa who was Director of the centre at the time.

Still a philosophy student at heart, Adam shares his thoughts and experience daily on social media, where you can find him discussing many of the questions that come to our minds, but we’re often afraid or unsure how to ask. Find him on Instagram @adam_keen_ashtanga

Magnus Fridh

Magnus Fridh started meditating in his teens and immersed himself in the subject through Tibetan Buddhism and university studies in Indology.

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, he teaches groups in yoga, mindfulness, and meditation and is also one of the founders of The Mindfulness App.

His latest book, “The Art of Stillness in a Noisy World” (Hardie Grant), is about how to find peace, tranquillity, and peace in everyday life and is currently translated into seven different languages.

 

 

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