New York - Full Primary Series
September 21/22 & 29, 2019 - 11am-4pm
Cost: $425 or $375 if paid before August 21
For students with proficiency in Full Primary

New York - Half Primary Series
September 21 & 22 only, 2019 - 11am-4pm
Cost: $320 or $280 if paid before August 21
For students practicing Half Primary

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The Art of Giving and Receiving Adjustments
For Students, Teachers and Aspiring Teachers

Adjustments are at the heart of traditional Mysore Style Ashtanga practice. Some students respond very well to verbal instructions, but for others, physical guidance is much more effective. In this workshop you will learn how to give adjustments and also how best to receive them.

Deepening Practice Through Receiving Adjustments

Adjustments help the student to move intelligently, to selectively use the appropriate muscles and to relax tension in those that restrict movement in the desired direction. We often find it difficult to access the right muscles or leverage to move into a posture - this is where adjustments come in. Adjustments can allow students to feel as though they are doing an asana correctly where they would otherwise be struggling.

Through feeling grounded and safe, the body can surrender to intelligent guidance and move into or towards a desired “perfect” asana. Once a posture has been deepened through an adjustment it is more easily accessible through independent practice.

We will work to cultivate calmness and being present in the moment - not struggling or using forceful effort, but moving with intelligence, grace and a proper sense of purpose - avoiding grasping, greediness and stress.

Through repetition and moving back and forth between adjusting and being adjusted, participants will learn to see different perspectives on practice as well as gaining insight into the teacher's point of view.

Participants will gain deeper insight into their own practice as we focus on individual postures, receive adjustments from different participants, give feedback and discuss whatever questions arise.

Healing Hands - The Art and Science of Yoga Therapy

Before each session we will remind ourselves of the purpose of yoga and asana practice - which is therapy. We will remind ourselves how to help the student feel safe and respected.

When giving adjustments we utilize natural forces that can assist us - such as the force of gravity and the fluidity of the breath: we use our body weight instead of strength and instead of forcing the student’s body we use the students breathing as the vehicle which facilitates deepening of the posture.

Moving the body through its natural range of motion does not require force but understanding and guidance, sensitivity and correct perception - these are the qualities we will work to cultivate.

In this workshop we will explore the techniques used for helping students get deeper into the asanas while maintaining stability, strength and a sense of ease or comfort. Adjustments should give the students a sense of release, freedom of movement and safety while at the same time leaving them grounded and stable.

Each session will commence with a meditation on the principles of the Yama and Niyama - non-violence or compassion, kindness, nurturing support - what motivates us as teachers and as students - non-ambition or non-greed, being present in the moment - non desiring - respecting the body - seeing the body as sacred - cultivating pure intentions - not controlling or restricting the body but creating space for movement and freedom. Meditation will be connected with pranayama practice.

Guy was a student of Pattabhi Jois for many years and this has provided a foundation for his technique but also an education about how not to teach: many students were injured and many students were sexually assaulted by KP Jois. In this workshop we will explore how to be gentle, kind and nurturing, how to avoid harming, abusing and controlling the student, how to cultivate freedom of movement by providing steadiness and a calm stable foundation, while at the same time helping to evolve a practice in the best possible way.

Guy has been teaching this way for over 25 years and will share his knowledge and experience about how to be effective, safe, respectful of the student and the student's boundaries. In addition to studies with KP Jois, Guy has also studied and integrated many different healing modalities - massage therapy, trigger point muscle release, reflexology, tui-na, reiki etc.. He regards asana practice as therapy.

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Teaching Method

Course participants will adjust each other, learning a number of different ways of assisting each posture, with plenty of time for repetition, feedback and discussion. We will create a safe context to learn adjustments, introducing methods which utilize breathing, the use of body weight instead of strength as both counterbalance and means of adjusting.

New postures will be introduced each day, but we will start by practicing all the adjustments learned to date. Adjustment practice will be in groups of 2-3 - each participant will take turns to adjust, be adjusted and to observe. After each member of the group has taken a turn for each posture, participants will rotate and work with a different group. In this way students will have the opportunity to adjust each participant in each pose each day. (It is possible that due to time constraints some poses may be skipped on some days to allow for deeper work on specific asanas).

We will work on all the important asanas which are normally adjusted in the Ashtanga Practice and will learn a number of ways to adjust each pose, taking into account common injuries and alignment problems. It is our intention to develop a thorough understanding of the techniques for adjusting through repetition. In this way participants will get plenty of experience both with adjusting each pose and with receiving adjustments in each pose and experiencing and discussing the rationale behind each asana and adjustment. By the end of the course students will have both learned the adjustments and had the opportunity to practice each asana repeatedly.

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Who is it for?

While the workshop focuses on how or why one adjusts a posture in a given situation - these reflections give participants a deeper understanding of their own individual practice. This is reinforced by receiving many adjustments in the postures during the training. 

Moving back and forth between the two roles of adjusting and being adjusted, one develops both an objective understanding of method and a subjective feeling for technique. The workshop is suitable both as a way of deepening one’s own practice and as a training to assist others and can be attended with either intention.

Student Feedback:

"Adjustments can help students go deeper into poses and in some cases teach a student the way a pose should feel before the student can achieve the pose on his/her own."

"Guy's approach to adjustments is therapeutic. He studies his students and knows their bodies so well, even the slightest touch from Guy can have a profound effect on the practitioner. Each adjustment Guy makes is purposeful and with intention. His careful eye goes hand in hand with his gentle (although sometimes firm) touch. In this respect, I often view guy as a doctor, or physical therapist, using asana and adjustments to cure his students of impurities and misalignments in the body and mind."

"Adjustments take me deeper into the pose, they bring awareness to what I'm doing and what I may not be doing, they convey both energy and calm."   

"The traditional method of teaching Ashtanga yoga postures is by physically adjusting the student into correct alignment or simply deeper towards the posture’s true expression. Guy Donahaye embodies a unique combination of gentleness and power. From the first moment as a student in Guy's hands the sensation was one of security and trust, allowing me to relax and breathe into the posture. It is inadequate to talk only about the physical nature of Guy's adjustments. He communicates a calming spirituality, rooted in tradition, which sets one free into the present moment. For a teacher, learning Guy's approach to adjustment would be priceless. My yoga journey has included many master teachers. Guy is among the very best."

"Presence: what does it mean to be present? As a psychotherapist striving to be present in my life and work in New York City, is a contact struggle. I have been practicing with Guy Donahaye at Ashtanga Yoga Shala NYC since 2005. What Guy has helped me to understand is that presence does not mean being what I think I should be, but it is being with where I am. Practicing with Guy, I am reminded to slow down and accept my present state and then practice moving my body from that place. And when I am present, in practice and in life, it is always healing and is the best of me. And from the regular experience of my presence, which Guy facilitates, a self discipline has emerged where I am motivated to continue healing and grow."

"I have known Guy Donahaye for over fifteen years, and he has been my teacher. He is extraordinarily intelligent, compassionate, and knowledgeable about the Ashtanga Yoga method and the body’s range of movement. His hands-on adjustments are always precise, informed, and respectful. Not only does he guide his students through the practice of yoga and pranayama with an expertise that is unique and thoughtful, but each student is deeply cared for and valued. I am grateful to Guy for his many years of friendship and instruction and feel blessed to study with him."

"It is clearly Guy’s belief that we learn best through repetition, and this holds true when he teaches both asana and adjustments. Learning to give adjustments from Guy is similar to the way he teaches asana. One pose is taught at a time, and the student is expected to gain proficiency before receiving the next. Guy is acutely aware of the differences in body types and teaches not only the foundation to adjusting each pose, but also the ability to assess what kind of adjustment the student is actually in need of. It is clear he does not teach one-size-fits-all. After having studied adjusting with Guy, I have become so much more aware of the subtle aspects that can change adjustments from a purely physical action to something more energetic and tailored to the specific individual."

"I highly recommend GD's intensive adjustment clinic for all ashtanga students who are interested in deepening their practice and for teachers interested in exploring the intricacies of adjusting. Guy's years of experience as a teacher and teacher of teachers comes through as he adds his own philosophy and style of adjusting while grounding students in the traditional methodology of ashtanga as taught to him by Pattabhi Jois. Each day the clinic included instruction, practice and ongoing discussion and feedback. It was a great opportunity to practice adjustments directly on students and to learn a variety of adjustments for each pose of the primary series. Guy is a patient teacher who makes his students feel comfortable; the clinic is both rigorous and tons of fun."

"Some features of the organization of the workshop were really outstanding: 1) rather than doing every asana of the primary series, you focused on the ones that most typically need adjusting; 2) we rotated partners each day for each asana. In other workshops, when stuck with the same partner all afternoon, it was a limiting factor. Before, when paired with someone who could not drop back, I failed to learn that adjustment. 3) always reviewing what we'd previously learned 4) later, rotating asana by asana - doing a different body and a different asana, a fairly good replication of an actual class."

"The repetition of adjustments rapidly deepened my own practice. I guesstimate that we each received about 30-50 adjustments a day (about 720 adjustments during the workshop). That could be equal to or more than the number I’ve received the last 18 months. (!) This was the most valuable aspect of the workshop for me...

...It was very beneficial and generous of you to demonstrate adjustments again, and again and again if needed. There are many possible adjustments and you were emphasizing a certain style. It became apparent you see a hierarchy of asanas that are most important to adjust."

"I would say that the workshop enhances one's ability to learn non-verbally through hands-on instruction. The strength of the workshop as I see it is the time and attention that you, Guy, give to each student as they learn the adjustments. It seemed as if you were always there when needed to guide and answer questions."