Saturday, July 18, 2009

Workshop: Matthew Sweeney

Whew! It's been a super busy week and I just couldn't face getting on the computer again when I got home. I finally have a quiet moment this cold Saturday morning and I'm watching the Tour de France while I catch up on my blogs.

I attended a workshop with Matthew last year and was very impressed and inspired. When I saw he was coming back to the Yoga House this year I made sure it was on my calendar. He did not disappoint. I've cheated and cut and pasted the workshop description because really, it WAS EXACTLY this.

What I particularly liked, was while Matthew does instruct and teach the Ashtanga sequence, he acknowledges that it is NOT for everyone and that there are times and places where other sequences are necessary. Matthews background covers several styles of yoga (including Iyengar) which I felt really made him a well rounded, exacting, instructor.

For example, the Friday night Vinyasa session is a PERFECT way to end the week and start the weekend. Many Ashtanga workshop weekends start with a Primary practice on Friday night, then you come back Saturday morning and do it AGAIN, then do a partial session Saturday get the picture and by Sunday afternoon you are just exhausted mentally and physically. NOT SO in Matthews session. Several of us commented how relaxed and refreshed we felt after Friday nights sequence.

Saturday I loved how we focused on technique. This is what I want from a workshop and why I signed up again this year. Sunday morning was another Vinyasa sequence. I had to depart after the morning session to drive back to Duluth and pick up my hounds from the kennel. I didn't mind. My mind was full of concepts, ideas, and notes and it was nice to be able to just drive and digest.

If you enjoy a vinyasa or Ashtanga style class, enjoy working on the mechanics of a yoga practice, you would probably enjoy one of Matthew's workshops.

From the Yoga House workshop description: This weekend workshop is an informative and practical exploration of Ashtanga Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga. It will include traditional Ashtanga Yoga, therapeutic Vinyasa sequences and Yoga philosophy. It is a unique opportunity for both novice and advanced Yoga enthusiasts to practice under the tutelage of an international and advanced Yoga teacher.

Matthew delivers these workshops with enthusiasm and a fun-filled atmosphere to allow you to explore the joy of Yoga. The latest aspects of Matthew’s workshop series include flowing led practices and insightful guidance on various hints, tricks and techniques for some of the more intricate aspects of Asana practice. These sessions are useful for Yoga practitioners from any tradition and are not just aimed at traditional Ashtanga Yoga students.

FRIDAY, July 10 6:30 - 8:30 PM
Gentle Alternative Vinyasa Sequence (I) Chandra Krama: The Moon Sequence
Beginning with a short introduction about the workshop and Vinyasa Yoga this class will commence with Moon Sequence. Feeling tired? Depleted? Injured? Or otherwise a bit low? This sequence is a gentle flowing Vinyasa form accessible for all levels. Although this sequence was originally intended for practice on the full moon, the new moon and during the menstrual cycle, it is appropriate at any time for women and men. The sequence focuses on the hips, groin, lower spine and abdominals, which will feel awake and alive after moving through the postures. It takes pressure off the neck, shoulders and wrists (common from the standard jumps in the Ashtanga series) and is useful as a regular alternative to the intense heat of the traditional Ashtanga. Whether old or young this sequence is great for any age. Some Yoga experience is recommended.

SATURDAY, July 11 9:30 – 12:30 PM
Jumping Through and Jump
This class will explore the methods and techniques necessary to implement greater ease and ability with jumping through and jumping back. This class will begin with a warm up based on the traditional series and then explore the jumps in Surya Namaskara followed by the jumps in and out of the sitting postures - both cross-legged and straight-legged. These useful techniques have been comprehensively developed over many years and are applicable for students of any level. ing Back

2:00 – 4:30 PM
Vinyasa, Back Bending and Mula Bandha

This class will begin with a short Vinyasa warm up. This will be followed by exploring variations of back bending and drop bac ks. Simple hands on exercises will be provided to increase awareness of the articulation of the lower spine, pelvic floor and psoas muscles. This session will also include some practical advice for understanding and applying the mula bandha, or root lock and will conclude with a group discussion on Yoga Philosophy.

SUNDAY, July 12 9:30 – 12:30 PM
Alternative Vinyasa Sequence (II) Simha Krama: The Lion Sequence

This sequence is the second series that Matthew has designed. The Lion Sequence flows from the Moon Sequence, introducing postures that expand upon concepts begun in the latter series. It involves exploration of different standing postures, therapeutic back bends, a shoulder opening sequence and a playful approach to various inversion postures. This sequence can be a useful alternative to the traditional Intermediate Series where you may find certain postures (or the whole sequence) becoming either too painful, impossible or simply inappropriate for you.

2:00 - 4:30 PM
Headstand, Handstand and Meditation

This class will begin with a short warm up, followed by an exploration of headstand and handstand. A combination of easy to follow techniques and a fun atmosphere of learning will infuse this session. This class will finish with the subtle aspects of Yoga including Pranayama (breathing exercises), Meditation and a final question and answer session.


Anonymous said...

gosh this sounds so wonderful! i checked matthew sweeney's website and his workshop schedule is only posted through 2009. i wonder when he will come back this way...

glad you had a good workshop!

mangotree said...

I too am a fan of MS, I did his workshop (we didn't do the Lion sequence, but everything else was like in your description) and then two weeks of Mysore classes with him this May in Paris and I am already saving up for one of his one month courses next year. I love that he's both grounded in the tradition, but allows for some improvisation. And full of useful tips for beginners like me.