Gregor Maehle

Saturday 7th September 2024

Morning class 2.5 hours Led asana, longish break,
Afternoon pranayama and kriya,

Sunday 8th September

Morning class pranayama and kriya, shortish break
Afternoon Yoga Sutra,

01

Guided Asana Class

Here Gregor will analyse the many intricate anatomical details of the majority of the postures of the Primary Series, while maintaining as much pace as possible. The focus will be on breaking down the various phases of entering and exiting the postures into their constituents. Performing postures safely while understanding which anatomical actions will get us deep into the asanas will prevent unnecessary energy expenditure.

Through inducing precision this format also achieves that conditioning and emotions lodged in bodily tissue are released, preparing us for the higher limbs of pranayama and meditation.

02

Yoga Sutra, and Sanskrit chanting

“The Yoga Sutra entered my life 39 years ago and since then it’s been a constant companion. It took me a long time to completely understand it but once this had happened it ended all confusion I had about yoga.

Understanding the Sutra gave me complete confidence in how to apply my practices diligently and that I would succeed in due time.

The Sutra changed yoga for me from a faith and hope-based system to a science with predictable and repeatable outcomes. It is exactly this confidence and certainty that I would like to pass on to my students. The workshop will be interactive, with ample time for participants to ask questions.”

The Yoga Sutra is the operating manual of yoga. It is only when we understand the why’s and how’s of yoga that we will practice with confidence and beyond doubt. In this class we will chant selected stanzas in Sanskrit and a detailed commentary based on Gregor’s four decades of practice and study will be given.

The commentary will retain the depth of the ancient treatises but will be fun, relatable and applicable to modern urban life.

03

Pranayama and Kriya

Imagine how great it would be to have a switch that, when operated, would enable you to consciously choose between your right and left brain hemispheres, intuitive and analytical intelligence, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, fight/flight reflex and rest/relaxation, and between the male and female, solar and lunar, aspects of your psyche. How great it would be if, when required, you could switch from being compassionate to doggedly determined. Or from charged with energy to completely relaxed within a few minutes. Or from extrovert (physically present, expressive and outgoing) to introvert (reflective and absorbing) within a short time. This switch does in fact exist and it is not at all hidden. It is the prominently protruding olfactory orifice right in the middle of your face: your nose.

Pranayama includes some of the most neglected but yet most powerful methods of yoga. Pranayama is the vital link that connects asana to meditation without which the combined benefit of both cannot be harvested. Learn how to use pranayama to harmonize the doshas (humors of the body) and thus attain a state of health and balance as well as how to still the mind, enabling spiritual insight.

The kriyas are predominantly methods of purification of the body. They support the work of postures and are especially important for people who live in large cities. They aid in removing contamination from chemical, environmental, electrical, biological and electromagnetic sources.

Bhakti – Yoga of Love, workshop with Gregor Maehle

Bhakti is the yoga of divine love. In this workshop we will establish a definition of what the Divine is and what it is not. The Divine will be shown to promote intensity, creativity, novelty and co-creation with all life forms. We will also come to understand that the Divine is not a solid state but an ongoing process.

We will analyse various historical Bhakti movements and will attempt to learn from their strengths and weaknesses. We will also look at the psychological advantages and obstacles to practising a yoga of love. Finally a non-sectarian, 21st century approach to bhakti will be presented, including practices designed to improve our quality of life, happiness, contentment and the knowledge that each of us matters to the Divine. An important part of that is to learn to see the Divine in all those we struggle to understand.

The main source for Bhakti is the Bhagavad Gita, the Divine Song. The Gita itself presents a sophisticated mix of Jnana Yoga (yoga of knowledge), Bhakti Yoga (yoga of devotion) and Karma Yoga (yoga of action). We will learn to chant some of the important stanzas and then analyse the practical lessons for life that the Gita imparts.

The Raja Yoga of Patanjali is also described in the Gita. Whereas in the Yoga Sutra the focus is on Raja Yoga and Bhakti (here called Ishvara pranidhana) takes up only about 5% of the stanzas, in the Gita Ishvara pranidhana takes centre stage. In the Gita Ishvara is called Purusha Uttama (Purushottama), the Supreme Being. The definition of the Purushottama very much interdigitates with the description of Ishvara in the Sutra but friends of the Sutra can find a lot more detail in the Gita to increase their understanding of the Divine. To facilitate this further Gregor will not only analyse and juxtapose viewpoints from the ancient commentators on the Gita such as Shankaracharya and Ramanujacharya but will also integrate the insights of recent luminaries such as Shri Ramakrishna and Shri Aurobindo.

Jnana Yoga - Tantric Meditations – workshop with Gregor Maehle

This workshop is based on meditation techniques from an ancient text called the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra. This text came down through Kashmir Shaivism and contains 112 dharanas, what we today would call meditation techniques. Many of today’s popular meditation techniques were already introduced in the Vijnana Bhairava.

Most of these tantric meditations are much simpler than yogic meditation and require less effort. There are also many different techniques to choose from. Here is a sophisticated approach that offers a great variety in case a particular technique doesn’t work for a student. This makes this system very adaptable to individual needs and preferences.

This makes this system very adaptable to individual needs and preferences.

Of particular interest are those techniques that deal with realizing ones true nature as consciousness. Consciousness in this context is that what is conscious, rather than that what we are conscious of (i.e. the contents of the mind).

Realizing this leads to great inner peace and stillness. In the tradition of the Indian mystic Shri Aurobindo, however, this state is not the end of one’s spiritual evolution but the beginning of its most fruitful phase.

It makes us receptive and open to download higher forms of spiritual insight through which we become transformed into tools of universal consciousness.

Karma Yoga – How to Find Your Life’s Divine Purpose - workshop
with Gregor Maehle

Do you remember a time when you knew that your life would be amazing and that you would live to make a meaningful contribution to life on Earth and the life of others? And then what happened? Somehow our education and the process of enculturation cut us off from this sacred knowledge and élan vital. We became cynics and “realists”.

Since time immemorial human societies were organized around the idea that the life of the individual and of society have divine purpose. This workshop traces this knowledge to indigenous cultures, to the Bhagavad Gita, the Bible and the Yoga Sutra. Our loss of this knowledge is what has led to our environmental destruction and the 6th mass extinction of life as well as the current epidemic of mental disorders.

This workshop not only shows how we lost the knowledge that all life is sacred and purposeful, it also introduces layers of technique to lead us back to finding and gradually implementing our life’s divine purpose.

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