Chris Nelson

I remember very clearly in my early thirties wanting to "slow my life down" - thus began my journey into yoga. I spent 5 years at Fausto Dorelli's Innergy Centre in London, which was an incredible grounding for my practice and for teaching. The Sivananda Teacher Training was a natural deepening of my understanding of Yoga and its origins.

The real teaching, however, with regard to the essence of Yoga, has come through my years of Satsang and silent retreats with Satyananda. There are never any specific teachings on Yoga, or any subject for that matter, rather an unswerving reference to what actually is - this present moment.

Through my time with Satyananda I have had the courage to practice and teach what was innately within me rather than that which I thought I ought to teach, perhaps based on what other teachers were teaching. There developed a growing trust for what felt right in the moment, and the form of the Yoga has become of significantly lesser importance than my quality of mind whilst practicing and teaching.

My primary interest is Jnana Yoga, or knowing myself at depth. It is this quest for depth of experience, which underlies the philosophy of Ashiyana – the invitation to come home to your own inner sense of peace.

It is my experience that when I drop the idea of being 'the teacher' and allow my intuition to guide me, innate wisdom filters through. I don’t have any specific style that I teach therefore, though I’m told that my classes are “slow and yet deep, and have a meditative quality”. After a long pawanmuktasana the standing postures are relatively dynamic, and in contrast many of the floor postures are more yin, as they tend to be held for some moments. Most of all there is a pointing towards the inner self, primarily through encouraging awareness of the breath.

My desire for a class that I teach is that it facilitates relaxation and a deep inner connection. Although alignment is discussed, I have no preconceptions about how a posture 'should' look and I realise that it is better attained through surrender than effort. I encourage everyone to relax, rest and follow their own inner guidance. Herein a class becomes an experience of "your body and your yoga".

If you accept and surrender to what you are experiencing in this moment then you are able to observe your thoughts and feelings from afar, yet still within the private cinema of your own body. This is a beautiful metaphor for how you may dispassionately observe the unfolding of your life, and become the master of your own wellbeing, rather than the victim of your unruly mind :-)