M. asked me why Crete ( she noticed that I'd mentioned there was a much cheaper option of the (now only slightly) shorter course with Manju at Stillpoint yoga in London, oops.
Well how about this...
it's Crete, spiritual home of British (and perhaps European ) Ashtanga.
And if we have a 'spiritual home' of British Ashtanga then we need a patron saint, well that would have to be Derek Ireland, although I suspect we'd hear Derek's big basso laugh that the obituary below refers to at being called a saint.
I had planned on packing a few fresh pairs of Nike pro shorts for the trip but I see from the video that other attire is, it seems, de rigueur for Ashtanga in Crete and am now off to tanga.com to pick up a suitcase full, did you say turquoise Maya?
Remember I was reviewing Petri Räisänen's book the other week, seems Petri's first certified teacher was Derek Ireland
"In his yogic path Petri has studied with many respected Astanga Yoga teachers such as Derek Ireland (his first certified teacher)".
Does it make sense I wonder to talk about different Schools of Ashtanga ? The California or US School of Ashtanga, the Hawaii school, The British School, Russian school....are there slight differences in character I wonder that reflect the different influences of the senior teachers who pass on the practice. Interesting thought....( or not).
Anyway, here's a post from 2011 on Derek Ireland.
In the video, look out for the most stunning Utthita hasta padangushtasana you'll probably ever see (2:12).
Derek Ireland originally posted Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Derek Ireland Ashtanga Led Primary CD and Pranayama CD
I don't know, teaching.... I'd like to do some more, almost feel a responsibility to do so now, to pass on what was shared with me but at the expense of my own practice? I'm accustomed to practicing twice a day, it's a luxury I know...the more students the less time there would be to practice. Ashtanga is a little different perhaps, a fixed sequence, but Vinyasa Krama takes a little planning. But then when I first started teaching, whether as a TA at Uni or as a Schoolteacher or TEFL in Japan, I would spend ages planning lessons/classes, by the end though I'd come up with something on a quick trip to the bathroom or on the way class (just sketch the outlines and allow space for improvising in class, riff off each other). I guess I spent a long time designing teacher training programs when I was a trainer but that was different, even then the courses became pretty much routine after teaching them a few times.
It's a concern though.
Of course if the time ever came when I had enough students to give up work and teach full time (hate the idea, depending on yoga for my livelihood worries me more than a little) one would assume there would be more time to practice again. I'm not convinced, it's no doubt hard to say no to anyone asking for lessons and before you know it your teaching constantly with no time for your own practice or if you do, you fit one in it's with upcoming lessons in mind.
I'd like more time to practice not less, more time for longer pranayama, for longer sits, for more study...
Anyway, I was given Derek Ireland's Primary CD, much better than an apple, thank you. Was looking forward to getting home and practicing with it on Saturday after work. As it happen I ended up with a flat and had to push my bike home, practice was the last thing I was in the mood for.
On FB I asked mentally "Derek, to be gentle" .....wrong teacher, wrong CD, Derek is old school, a fast full on practice.
That said Derek Ireland's practice runs to 1:42 which seems slow, compare it with Sharath's Primary in an hour. That's partly because there are a couple of extra postures in there, a parivtta parsva konasana variation where the arm goes under the leg and binds and then Hanumanasana and Samakonasana are squeezed in after the Prasarita series.
There's a nice focus on dandasna which gets echoed throughout and a pause before each jump through to 'set' yourself up. Time too for an extra breath or so to bind the tricky postures if you want it. It's not exactly a beginners led though, you'd need to know the practice and be practicing for a little while but it makes for a nice led and with a slightly different focus than anyone else. All the led DVD's are useful every now and again if your practicing at home, everyone has a different take on the practice. I'm still getting a lot out of Richard Freeman's but this was a refreshing change.
I'd expected to suffer a bit, Vinyasa Krama is a slower practice but perhaps it's two weeks of green smoothies but I found the practice comfortable, felt strong and fit but then Vinyasa krama is deceptively demanding.
I like Derek Ireland, wasn't sure when I first saw the video below with the thong and flowing locks (that WMG seem to have blocked) but his personality comes through on his cd's, he doesn't take himself too seriously, there's a warmth and generosity and even a gentleness from the big man.
Here's a little look at one of his classes