” …Knowing what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and how much of it to do. ” From Chaya Yoga by Sundernath (Shandor Remete)
Matilda teaches Shadow Yoga, a form of Hatha Yoga established by Sundernath.
The Shadow school is grounded in Sundernath’s life-long practice and mastery of Hatha Yoga, and in his in-depth study and clear understanding of the ancient Hatha Yogic texts. These texts assert that correct activity undertaken in fixed forms cultivates freestyle and thereby the natural unfolding of an individual’s latent powers.
‘Correct activity’ here refers to an understanding of, and intelligent response to, the various maps of the human system, of which Marmasthana is an example.
The teacher exists solely to guide the student through such terrain. No two paths in this process of revealing the natural state inherent in each individual can ever be the same. However the practical processes required to uncovering it are nevertheless methodical and demand an attentive guide.
At Art of Hatha Yoga, students are taught the chalanas (‘churning’ warm ups), and vyayamas (or restraining drills) which are carried out via Suryanamaskar (sun salutes) or via set sequences called Preludes. These amount to apparently basic but highly effective preparatory work which ground students for further practice long down the track.
Without such preparatory work, obstructions in the system are difficult to overcome and the benefits of yoga are not realised. Asana is only introduced once students have gained proficiency in such preparatory work.
For this reason, whether experienced in yoga or not, all students new to Shadow Yoga must undertake lessons either as individually prescribed in private tuition or in introductory group class courses which work the first Prelude, known as the Balakrama.
Please read on below for further information relating to Sundernath’s school of Hatha Yoga.
The Shadow Yoga Preludes
The Shadow Yoga Preludes reflect the rhythm and forms expressed in the martial arts, and in Katakali and Bharatanatya (traditional dance forms of southern India), all of which draw on the intelligent patterns and shapes found in nature.
Just as the complete form of each plant and animal is encoded in its seed, so too the Prelude forms contain the patterns and processes required to uncover steadiness and ease in asana. In this way, devoid of aggression or agenda, the natural state inherent in each individual is unveiled.
The first Prelude, or Balakrama, means ‘Stepping into Strength’, thus indicating the importance of developing a sound foundation via correct activity. The Balakrama is therefore appropriate for people of all levels of experience and is the starting point for all students new to Shadow Yoga. The Balakrama relieves the peripheral system of stiffness, builds the strength of the blood and bones, and in turn purifies the respiratory system.
The second Prelude is Chaya Yoddha Sancalanam, or ‘Churning the Shadow Warrior’. This Prelude develops co-ordination and the leg strength procured by consistent practice of the Balakrama. The second Prelude enables students to develop a deeper understanding of how to centralise energy so that it is not unnecessarily dissipated by the demands of the activity. Chaya Yoddha Sancalanam effectively works to free the shoulders and hips of obstructions, thereby further strengthening the quality of respiration.
The third Prelude Kartikkeya Mandalam, or ‘Garland of Light’, can be considered once proficiency in Balakrama and Chaya Yoddha Sancalanam has been cultivated and maintained for some time. Kartikkeya Mandalam is characterised by deep spiralling movements. This Prelude facilitates the development of asana practice and cultivates a deeper awareness of the movement of breath.