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Tiffany Cruikshank Inversion Elixir forearm prep by Carrie Stiles

“When we start to find that integrity we find grace. When we allow ourselves to soften and be supported in that pulsation of life and body we tap into the subtleties and step into our truth. The clearer we can get the more effortless that experience of grace.”

~ Tiffany Cruikshank

My yoga journey came full circle this week at The Bali Spirit Festival. My first yoga class was with Tiffany Cruikshank over six years ago at Yoga Pearl in Portland Oregon. Here we are across the world in paradise.

I had the pleasure of taking three of Tiffany’s super fun classes this week and writing some articles about her for the Bali Spirit Blog.

Tiffany has been a major motivating force and inspiration for me throughout my yoga journey. Her ability to holistically and harmoniously integrate her technical expertise and training into all aspects of her life inspired me to get back to my mat, and integrate yoga more deeply into my life, time-and-time again. I love that Tiffany is a kick-ass yogini, Chinese medicine practitioner, author, model and a driven businesswoman. The fact that she dominates the global yoga scene with a girl next door, approachable attitude makes her all the more adored.

Tiffany opened the festival with characteristic spunk, style and vigor.  Her Awaken Your Core Potential spiced up the morning with an invigorating, unique vinyasa flow. Tiffany’s movement as medicine mantra and lighthearted attention to alignment kicked things off with a bang.

Tiffany closed the class reflecting on our ability to be committed with integrity to our bigger purpose in life. Her words of wisdom resonated with the sweaty global Bali Spirit yogis. They found their way into Savasana a bit perplexed at the rapid and unique flow they had just experienced.

Inversion Elixir

On day three of the festival Tiffany twisted, inverted and modified us into unconventional configurations. Tiffany’s creative and daring approach to contemporary vinyasa variations kept festival-goes on their toes. Teaming up in partners for alignment cues and support allowed students to defy gravity.

Stay present and detach from the outcome.

Tiffany explains that inversions have the tendency to lure our ego in. We want the pretty picture. We want the perfect pose. Yet, the essence of the inversions is really about detaching ourselves from that outcome. The pose becomes easier as soon as you detach from the outcome. Then you can enjoy playing with the advanced postures.

The process of getting there is interesting, entertaining and fun when you let go of the results. Tiffany’s emphasis on taming the ego when attempting advanced postures grounded participants during this gravity-defying session. Students pored forth from the Main Pavilion following the workshop oozing off their mats at the end of this sweat soaked practice.

Tara Judelle joined Tiffany’s final Bali Spirit class. The Yogaglo duo wrapped up day four of the festival by kindly reflecting on their most transformational experiences along their respective yoga journeys.

 

Dr. Madhusuri Prakash’s work explores indigenous cultures, grassroots movements, cultural diversity and Environmental Education. Her books include Grassroots Postmodernism–Remaking the Soil of Cultures and Escaping Education–Living as Learning within Grassroots Cultures.

This video was shot during Navdanya‘s remarkable Gandhi and Globalization course, which explored the economic crisis, the ecological crisis and the political crisis in the context of Gandhian philosophy and politics embodied in Swaraj, Swadeshi, Sarvodaya and Satyagraha.

 

I ventured into Goddess territory on Mount Meru, ‘er I mean Pyramid Yoga in Ko Phangan Thailand, to worship the sacred feminine with the Yogini Devi Yoga Teacher Training pantheon. Devi was in full bloom deep in ashtanga vinyasa flow, joyous in bhajan with bhakti spirit and dancing mystically in the jungle immersed in the sacred feminine. More to come …

“Before the beginning of the universe I alone existed with nothing other than myself. That self-nature is called by the names of consciousness, wisdom, and the supreme Brahman.” ~Devi Gita

I was blessed to spend a month witnessing the enchanting Vera Futorianski’s transformation during Vikasa Yoga Retreat’s April Yoga Teacher Training in Ko Samui Thailand. Please watch Vera’s sincere and heartfelt response to completing this chapter of her inspiring journey.  Connect with Vera on Facebook.

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Ashtanga brings out the intensity and dedication in us.

The series takes practitioners deeper into the evolution of asana. Yet, the Ashtanga practice remains illusive to me. Ashtanga has always been on the periphery of my wild, spontaneous Vinyasa practice.  I tend to approach my beloved, movement-obsessed asana practice like a light-hearted, joyful child rather than a serious disciplined Ashtanga yogi. Many of my teachers, like superstar yogini Tiffany Cruikshank, were trained in Ashtanga, but teach Vinyasa Flow.

When will Ashtanga come to me? Perhaps a trip to Mysore is in my future, although Kino’s Youtube Channel is just a quick cruise around the internet.

Ashtanga yogis like Kino and Craig Proctor inspire me to see beyond what is ordinarily considered possible. They are limitless, break boundaries and move deeper into their infinite potential.

I share with you Craig Proctors extreme Ashtanga Yoga in this Tiny Yoga Flick, made with love in Ko Samui Thailand. Let Craig inspire you. This flick is an example of how we can go beyond what is ordinarily thought as possible.

Ashtanga shows me that we are so much stronger than we think we are.

 

George’s transformational journey began in university. In college he awakened to his life-long, yogic path. George dropped out of college and never looked back.

George is a proponent of limitlessness.

Yoga is a spiritual vehicle for transcendence, tool for moving beyond boundaries and a therapy for healing. Healing comes from intelligence, observation and intuitive choice. Through the awareness of being we can consciously choose to make successful habits. We can cease the opportunity to break the vicious cycle of laziness.

“The awareness of “being” is very important to me in my teaching. It’s practice to be able to abide peacefully in yourself and know a more fundamental sort of identity. It’s what you do differently after experiencing it to live more genuinely and go even closer to the soul.” ~ George in Successful Habits – The Opportunity to Break Laziness 

The themes in George’s practice are choosing perception, awareness and consciousness, “You can choose to be calm. You can choose to energize yourself. You can choose to love yourself and others unconditionally.”

Bonus Tutorials with George

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9RblE-PhXQ&feature=youtu.be

George is an international yoga teacher based in Bangkok. Yoga has shown him life is about the quality of our present experiences from the beginning, and through the present.

George’s awesome yoga classes open his student’s up to personal discoveries, transformation and evolution. His classes are challenging and fun. George’s classes are uniquely humorous, organic, flowing, meditative and demanding.

Oh yeah, and he is one of the few farang that speaks Thai !

Check out his super yogic blog Yogable 

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I have been on an epic journey.

My long anticipated, three month voyage in SE Asia has led me deep inside the world’s largest cave’s in Vietnam, participating in permaculture communities in North Thailand, meditating in timeless temples of poetic Luang Prabang and discovering both profound and disturbing treasure-troves of culture and history in Cambodia.

I have missed my yoga community along my solo journey, but the Buddha has kept me company. I cannot take the solitude any longer and escape from Panya Project in the back of a pickup truck with a ukulele. I ‘bee-line’ due south eager to reunite with spiritual-seekers.

I giggle with glee as I approach stunning Vikasa Yoga Retreat and Cafe for the first time.   IMG_5241 - Version 3

The immensity of the deep blue panorama dazzles me. I am struck by the expansive oceanic landscape. This is paradise. I’ve marveled at many spectacular viewpoints in my extensive exploration of 35 countries on five continents. Yet, I am enchanted like no other by Vikasa’s cliff-side perch above the vivid Gulf of Thailand.

 I’m in heaven…  

The next morning I skip down the steps to my dream-come-true yoga shala on the sea. The sea breeze twirls around eager students settling onto their mats. We arrive. We breathe. We sweat profusely. I am riveted by Vikasa’s challenging, Ashtanga inspired, freestyle flow.

 Euphoric release… 

After class we dance (or hobble) up the steep, staircase-to-heaven. Ravenous Yogis, recently arrived for Vikasa’s tri-annual yoga teacher training, swarm around the sustenance like bees to a lotus flower. We devour Vikasa’s raw food organic delicacies with tremendous delight.

The day is in full bloom after the long, decadent brunch. Yogis scramble to cease-the-time before the day slips through their gentle grasp. Carpe Diem! They scatter to worship the sun. Some regroup for a dip in the infinity pool or trot off to one of Samui’s delicious beaches.

The evening hour swiftly approaches. There is more yoga to be had in the evening practice. A vigorous practice slowly winds down. The rhythm of the waves lulls us into a final resting pose as the sunsets.  Night blossoms and the island’s decadent nightlife awakens.

I lay in my four-post bed overlooking the sea and am entranced by Vikasa’s stunning serenity. I am ecstatic and grateful to have found this place.

I think I will stay forever… 

Carrie Stiles Yogi Grasshopper Pose

The Practice Must Evolve.

“The most exciting thing about yoga is the toolbox it gives you for self-observation—to delve into what it is to be human. I think that’s a pretty challenging and profound thing.”

~ Nathan Mills

This tiny flick was created in Portland, Oregon and features long time yogi and marital artist Nathan Mills. Nathan Mills illuminates the power of yoga to transform, evolve and heal. Nathan was born with one leg three inches shorter than the other. His riveting practice inspires us to evolve our practice. The beautiful, welcoming and warm Yoyoyogi Studio set the stage for this dynamic yogi profile.

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