On Friday I was invited to attend the restorative yoga workshop with ashtanga yoga teacher Elonne at Shanti Cape Town. Elonne is a lovely gentle spirit, who has just come from Ghana and the Ivory Coast where she was giving yoga workshops to local students and teachers. Originally, from the States and now the program director and senior teacher at Samahita Retreat, Yoga Thailand in Koh Samui, Elonne has spent years studying with a number of different yoga teachers and masters. Her main teachers have been O.P. Tiwariji, Paul Dallaghan and Richard Freeman and are her main sources of inspiration and guidance. This has given her a fabulous foundation and insight into yogic philosophy where she is able to explain yoga concepts well with ease in a clear and compassionate manner.
We started off with an explanation on the history of yoga, the 8-limbs of Patanjali and how they came about – the first two being about the way you treat yourself and others, then looking at asana (including in that all the forms of hatha yoga) and then continuing with pranayama and how pranayama is said to be the highest tapas/discipline because it leads us to the bridge of pratyahara (the 5th limb, withdrawal of the senses). That “bridge” of pratahara takes us from the limbs we can control to those that are out of our control.
We also spoke a lot about pranayama and the importance of having a daily personal pranayama practice as well as the school where Elonne learnt her pranayama teachings from, namely from O.P. Tiwariji and Paul Dallaghan, following the Kaivalyadhama tradition. Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute was founded by Swami Kuvalayananda, who apparently taught Gandhi, Pandit Nehru and other influential men as well as having influences and advised many of the well know names in yoga today like Swami Sivananda and Krishnamacharya etc.
The session then ended with some gentle restorative yoga postures to settle and calm body and mind as well as a savasana, again reinforcing the importance of ending your practice with a period of stillness and contemplation to remove fatigue from the body, mind and nervous system.
Elonne is only visiting Cape Town for a short period and is offering her last workshop on Monday morning. For those who have a chance to go, should definitely give it a try. Otherwise, we look forward to welcoming her back in Cape Town sometime soon again. For those who are able to make it to Thailand, you can visit the website here. A short article on her trip to Ivory Coast and Ghana will follow.
Many thanks to Elonne as well as Ulrike for organising this weekend filled with yoga.