Shadow Yoga

Quote from the Shadow Yoga website: "The teaching of the Shadow School is based upon the ancient Hatha Yogic texts, which state that all fixed forms should be designed to develop the practice of freestyle. Freestyle is a necessary step in the cultivation of longevity and enlightenment."

And: "...These twelve kinds of positions and movements have been adapted from the range of human activities including martial arts, dance and crafts of life, and from the plant and animal kingdoms. The appropriate combination of these activities with suitable rhythm and positioning brings about the unfolding of the inner powers hidden in the individual."

Shadow Yoga: Invite the guest
(Shandor Remete)

The "Dasha Chalana" Warmup routine (Eight Churnings) is a warmup for the joints, executed before the prelude forms shown below.

This routine helps remove blockages in your joints that occur after longer periods of not moving, e.g. sitting on a chair for work or sleeping at night. Women start circling with the right ankle, men with the left.

Shadow Yoga: Warmup "Dasha Chalana"
demonstrated by Emma Balnavez

Shadow Yoga is a practical exploration of the ancient Hatha Yoga system. The foundation of the practice consists of 3 fixed forms, called prelude forms.

Fixed sequences are a necessary preparation, just like a piano student will have to play the scales first. The first sequence, "Balakrama" (Stepping into strength), utilizes squats and various leg work to build the foundation for the traditional Yogasanas. Like a house is built starting with the foundation, the body has to be developed beginning with the feet and the legs.

Shadow Yoga: First form "Balakrama"
demonstrated by Emma Balnavez

The prelude forms first focus on activity for the feet, ankles, knees and hips while emphasizing rhythmic breath and bandha engagement to feel and gain some control over the inner body.

The legs are the powerhouse of the body. When the legs are properly prepared, the internal energy can be felt and manipulated from the feet into the pelvis and via the spine into the arms and hands. The movements of the prelude forms naturally develop a rhythm which is the basis for unfolding the energetic principles present in every body.

Shadow Yoga utilizes many non-traditional poses to overcome the stiffness most students have today from a lifetime of sitting. Surya Namaskaras (sun saluations) are an integral part of these forms but are done with spiralling movements rather than jump-backs which more effectively help to unfold the body's natural movements.

Shadow Yoga: Third form "Karttikeya Mandala"
demonstrated by Emma Balnavez

When the student reaches proficiency of the prelude forms, the full practice format adds traditional Yogasanas to the daily practice. At this point the student is ready to enter more refined practice formats such as Nrtta Sadhana (the "Rhythmic Dance of Shiva" and its practice). Eventually, the student only does what needs to be done on any given day to restore the inner balance (freestyle).

Making it to this level takes patience and persistence. Learning the prelude forms typically takes 3-7 years of daily practice depending on the student's background and ability.

Learn Shadow Yoga

Traditional Yogasanas
demonstrated by Shandor Remete