A fun and intriguing yoga class presented by FreeFly Yoga
I've been a yoga follower for roughly 12 years now. I use the term "follower" because to use the word "devotee" implies that I practice it religiously, so frequently, in fact, that it has become part of my routine.
I'm going to be honest it hasn't.
It's not that I haven't wanted to incorporate yoga into my life. I know the benefits of yoga (improvement of flexibility, staving off poor posture and stress reduction are probably my 3 top reasons, as a desk-bound office worker, for taking up yoga) and when I was diligent with my yoga practice, I felt amazing.
But as I've moved from place to place and I needed to find different yoga studios, I've come across some amazing yoga teachers, but also quite a few meh ones too. They're the ones you can't connect with, the ones who ignore you (even as you're struggling), or worse, the ones who offer you no guidance to the next level of your practice.
But the yoga practice presented to me by Daniel Myers at the Freefly Yoga studio, known as Budokon Yoga, was fascinating, fun and much more of a workout than I had originally anticipated.
What to expect at Freefly Yoga Located at the Andrew "Boy" Charlton Pool on Mrs Macquarie's Road, the studio's surroundings already place you in a pretty serene setting. Getting to the studio means making your way through the Royal Botanic Gardens. Participating in a class allows you to appreciate the beauty of Sydney Harbour (we're talking floor to ceiling windows on one side of the studio) while you're chilling out in a downward dog.
FreeFly Yoga offer the following styles of classes:
ACROVINYASA This style combines components of vinyasa, inversion training and acroyoga and is great for partner work. General Manager of FreeFly Yoga, Elena Korolkova, speaks of this style's powers to heighten human connection, because it enables you to trust your partner during the sessions and movements, as well as being a source of trust to your partner.
This style works in much the same way as other restorative yoga classes. It incorporates Pranayama breathing, Yin Yoga and meditation. This class is good for focus, relaxation and mobility of the joints.
FREEFLY FOUNDATIONS Concentrating on the features of strength, focus and flexibility, FreeFly Foundations takes its cue from Hatha yoga, and allows participants to practice solid asana. Each class offers a different peak posture, where you will be taught to prepare for your peak posture and then warm down afterwards.
FREEFLY VINYASA Work on your cardio, as well your agility in this blend of proneyama breathing exercises and time-honoured Hatha Yoga practices. You will achieve "meditation in motion" as you work through postures inspired by Budokon, Ashtanga and Power Yoga.
What is Budokon Yoga?
I attended their Budokon Yoga workshop, which was a different kettle of fish altogether. Unlike many yoga styles where a posture is held for a certain length of time, Budokon Yoga, which combines Hatha and Martial Arts, encourages a continuous, circular flow of movement. As Daniel explained to us, Budokon was less about the momentum and more about slow, controlled movements.
It was clear to me from the moment I stepped into the studio that it would be a class like no other. Rather than relaxing World music (think sitar and pan pipes) through the speakers, participants are treated to dynamic modern music upon arrival. The warm up included a session of moving around the room "like an animal on the prowl", meaning, lithe and limber and light. It showed me that moving like humans once did is no longer a trait us office-bound people are used to, and that yoga can help us regain this ability. Crouching, leaping up from all fours, moving sideways across the room these were all movements we were once so comfortable with as children, and now, as adults, we move only our fingers as we type out a text message or scroll through a tablet screen. Yoga movements here were also slightly different to yoga I had practiced in the past. The Downward Dog movement in Budokon relies a lot more on slow, deliberate movements, particularly with a back arch, which I have not experienced in other forms of yoga.
I found the martial arts aspects of Budokon Yoga intriguing. In both movement and teaching, it allowed the class to focus on why we were moving the way we did. One movement mirrored the act of "drawing a sword from its sheath", another movement the act of "blocking an opponent". I noticed a woman in class who was clearly a tai chi devotee move through the stances with ease, whilst others (OK, maybe just me) focus intently on Dan's guidance from the front of the room. He promoted us to move "silently" and "beautifully" - not necessarily in the aesthetic sense, but from a serene sense.
But this doesn't mean that Budokon Yoga is a very serious activity. In fact, there were many giggles and laughs during the class, particularly when we were taught to "fall" and catch ourselves as we landed. Partner work was done here, and my partner, a particularly agile man who was probably an acrobat, encouraged me to let my instincts guide me when I fell, so that my arms would do what they knew they could do, and shoot out and soften my landing.
The workshop and the studio itself offered another side to my yoga practice, and one I am keen to explore further
ACROVINYASA level One Fiji Retreat When: 15th 22nd October 2016
Staying at the Safari Lodge on Nananu-i-ra Island, Fiji, this retreat leads guests through 7 workshops where you will learn the basics of transitional based acro yoga. The focus is not just on you, but also your partner, and you will grow to understand how to work with not just your own body, but also another body. This retreat is suitable for all levels.
Accommodation for Island Lodge dorms start from $1,495
To book, head to www.freefly.yoga/events/av-l1-fiji/
Spectrum Now Festival Connection between people and AcroYoga performance When: 15th March 2016 Time: 7:00pm 8:00pm Where: Andrew 'Boy' Charlton Pool, 1C Mrs Macquarie Rd Sydney, 2000 Cost: $20
As part of the Spectrum Now festival, Daniel and Elena will not only perform an AcroYoga flow to demonstrate connection between people, they will also be giving a talk on the importance of human connection, and how the practice of Acro and Partner Yoga encourages a deeper connection between two people. Through breathing techniques, sense of touch, strength and flexibility, a partnership is able to achieve postures and transitions together.
To book, head to https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=28048