Yoga - Know Your Edge

Lote3 session proposal


This proposal was inspired by following the EdgeRyders post and comment thread: The Burning Edge. The post speaks of the edge as it is experienced externally - when I meet the world around me. There is another edge - an internal experience. What can we learn from experiencing our inner edge about our meeting with our outer edge? Can changes we make in how meet the edge inside effect how meet the edge outside? Could it be that some changes are actually better made inside than outside?

Yoga, though perceived as a physical activity is a science of mind. Physical postures are one branch of a more extensive Yoga tool-set. Their objective is more about change in the mind then change in the body. Physical practices offer an intimate reflection into the workings of the mind. To make changes on a physical level there has to be a change of mind: there needs to be attention to how we act, intention to act differently, teachings to guide us in a different direction and practice to transform teachings into experience that can be assimilated.

We will meet every morning for a 90 minute session. During these sessions we will introduce basic concepts of Yoga practice: movement, breath, attention and intention. In the spirit of the event, the focus of our work will be experiencing our own personal edge - where and what it is, how we perceive, how we approach it, how we relate to it. Each session will end with an opportunity to exchange reflections and question on participants personal experiences of their own edge.

Each session will build upon the teachings of the previous session. This will make it possible to experience more breadth and depth. By the end of the event participants will have acquired a basic skill set that will enable them to leave with a practical practice they can continue to work with on their own.

Personal Prerequisites

  • If you can breath you can participate.
  • If you decide to participate please come from the very first session. Be willing to commit to joining every morning. It will be difficult and ineffective to join midway.
  • No prior knowledge of Yoga is required (if you have any, you would probably benefit greatly from coming with a fresh open mind).
  • No physical abilities are required (even though we will be practicing as a group you will be moving safely within your physical abilities).

What to Bring

  • Clothes that are comfortable for you to to move in.
  • An external layer of clothing you can shed or put on to make yourself comfortable in the climate of the practice space.
  • A yoga mat if you have it ... not mandatory.

Session Requirements

  • The number of participants is limited only by the space.
  • The space should be closed and preferably quiet (insulated from traffic of all kinds - human and machine).
  • Since not everyone will have a yoga met - it would be preferable to have either a wooden floor or carpets to lay on whatever floor is there.
  • Each participant needs space to be to lie down comfortably on the floor.
  • It is valuable to have at least a 30 minute gap between the end of this activity and following activities - so that people can make a peaceful transition from the practice into the day.
  • It is better to practice before breakfast.

Yess! Im so in!

I am so in. Ronan this is a great idea. And I think [Susa] and [Eimhin] are also interested in this and knowledgable about bodywork. You see I posted the link to the original Burning Edge post on Ouishare I about how we really don’t talk about much about how we can help one another to improve the emotional/ psychological resilience of ourselves and people we care about beyond chronic coping. One of the first comments that was posted:

Ariane Conrad I so agree Nadia. Among the youngest of us, when we’re activists in our teens and 20’s, we don’t take this stuff seriously. I continuously remind my younger clients that it’s a LONG GAME, this life thing. Small nagging injuries need to be addressed. Learning to focus and quiet the mind among those of us who tend towards distraction and manic thinking needs to be addressed. In answer to your question, I think one tactic is to actively invite/welcome the people who focus on individual sustainability-- body, health, breath, balance…-- into our midst. They often share our values but are focused on individual as opposed to social/global transformation. I am so lucky to have discovered a meditative/body practice and its community in hooping (hula-hooping. don’t laugh. it’s true.) which has led to my knowing dancers, physical therapists/bodyworkers, yogis-- whose teachings have been invaluable for sustaining me. 

I would love to follow up the sessions with a reflection on how we can make better use of our online behaviours to prompt us to take better care of ourselves, one another and people in our extended social networks. Maybe even looking into implementing our insights into how we go about building Edgeryders as a community and its tools. And documenting the discussion as well as the conclusions drawn into an article/ visual how to guide to share after the event, maybe as a chapter on personal resilience in the Edgeryders Guide to Making Meaningful projects happen. What do you think?

Bring a notebook :slight_smile:

I used to always suggest to people to bring a notebook … but they never did :frowning:

So, YES PLEASE, bring a notebook, we will make time for reflection and writing. If you or anyone else wants to then articulate, post and share about your experience and reflections then please do so.

HOWEVER as I read your words I can feel an activist kind of energy already building up: “to take better care of ourselves, one another and people in our extended social networks” :+) I invite you, in this session, to slow down … slow way down … start with yourself and stay with that for a while. Even in “taking care of yourself” we will be revealing just a tip of an iceberg. My personal focus in this session would be my community, your personal focus should/can be yourself :slight_smile:

I would even invite a focus where, even if for a short time, we will replace the question “what can I do for my community?” with “what I can do for myself (to also better serve my community)?”.

Though as a teasing thought I offer you this : the first (by order of mentioning in the core Yoga text) two of the eight-limbs of Yoga are “Yama” and “Niyama” - our attitudes toward the world around us and our attitudes toward ourselves. Then come “Asana” - physical practices (which, despite being the public face of Yoga, are allocated the smallest part in the text) and “Pranayama” - breathing practices, followed by a gradual build up of what can be generally described as practices building up towards meditation. Why in this order? We can talk more about this when we meet in the practice space (and I forget to, remind me :slight_smile:

May our efforts in this session become seeds of future skills that we can expand on and call on to support ourselves and others :slight_smile:

ha you’re so right. Ok yes, Ill bring a mat and notebook and just be there.

Yup, I’m up for it…

Definately, those morning pre-mind full b-m-s wake up and activate sessions are the way to go.

@iamronen, I have also trained simple yoga a bit back in the day, lots of breathwork via training with Aragorn in his ‘windstyle’ technique since 2008, and took up a daily practice in tai-chi with Master Gregory James at the beginning of this year. I’ve been into object manipulation and geometric physico-spatial explorations for a little over ten or eleven years now also. I’ll attend the sessions as you set them out happily, if you want to collaborate let me know. (still I know how short 90-minute sessions are for this kind of thing)

@Ariane Conrad, I’ve even skill shared with and hosted workshops with some of your hooper crew (Spiral, Brecken, Ann Humphreys, Rico and a few more), all beautiful people, and powerfully skillful, I love that stuff!

The body/breath stuff is inherently non-verbal in its consistent practice. This is the best thing about it and also the functional key to it. The verbal is symbolic, and the symbol is not the thing in itself, but a representation. This is why we practice, it dissolves the gap between the symbolic and the essential in such a way as to open the direct experience to the living flow.

The old words, inspiration and exspiration, are what we now refer to as inhale exhale, but at a deeper level of awareness that has diluted over time. ‘In Spiros’ and ‘Ex Spiros’ refer to the taking in of the spirit and the breathing out of the spirit, a replenishment of what the modern practitioners refer to as the ‘energy body’, the taiji (ring-pole), or the torus, the fundamental centre-principle, the holofractal dan tien.

@Alex Fradera picked up a bit of poi with Ronan this year while out learning tai chi in India earlier this year after we spoke about the possibility the the last Lote. It was a learning situation for all of us, and not solely happy-out either. I personally found the experience emotionally and psychologically challenging, as did many among the practitioners, and this was something that brought people together at levels we usually avoid…in our weaknesses, in our inability, and working through our own pain and complexities.

The way I see it is the way I experienced it, I started with the mind…my aim was to get over the fact I was emotionally wrecked by learning my way out…off to college to learn philosophy, I knew I could think and so I stuck with that strength…from there I felt like I was being squeezed into my brain and so, after a little experience in object manipulation, I decided to use that as a practice to bring myself down from the mind-clouds…via the object. Focussing on the object took my intention and attention slowly from the internal object…personal identity and individual will, to the external object and the space in which it exists…from there, after a few more years, I eventually understood (experientially as a physically intuited fact) that ‘I’ was not my body, that my body was as much an object as the objects I had learned to master and thus began the practices of dance, and then yoga, through which the breath came into focus as the essence of the outer machinations…the ‘spiros’. And from this, then, I came to tai chi, which is really opening up vistas of understanding for me at this (very early) stage.

This is one thread of life’s development. And its something to bare in mind that this is not something that absorbs all of life. Its a small part, like ‘driving to work’, something that doesn’t require a lot of attention once you have learned what pedal does what and how to correctly shift gears and so on. At that point you are just driving to work, if people ask you what you ‘do’, you do not say “oh well, I drive to work , and I…” no, thats would be ridiculous, and its like that with practice.

The reason I am elaborating is only to show my own slow and protracted process as a kind of example, an idea of what one might see and experience while ‘learning to drive’.

Still, a good teacher will help better than the kind of trial and error I’ve gone through, and I am glad I found one after all. persistence with the Practice is the key.

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Starting every day with this ritual, yeah! : )

How nice, starting every day with this ritual!

It makes so much sense, I really appreciate the opportunity.

I’ll bring the notebook and a mat.  yeah!  :  )

Tuning in

Great Idea, I am interested. Good way to tune in at the beginning of the day

Please post details: where, when?

I am in!

This is a great idea, sorry for reacting so late… As a very convinced Ashtangi (teacher) I am looking forward to get to know another approach, especially since I have a sholder-issue and can’t practice properly with all those Chaturangas. Happy also to share some background knowledge about Yoga and anatomy. Looking forward to meet you all!

Hey, welcome back!

Great to see you here [Susa]! I’ll try to convince my mother to show up (she’s also a qualified yoga teacher – no mean feat, since she’s in her 70s and started practicing yoga at 50!), but she lives at the opposite end of the country, so my hopes are not high.

secret yoga / public yoga

Alberto’s mother may need to be encouraged.  I think we drive a delicate diplomatic balancing act if we all dedicate an hour and a half to pre-dawn yoga practice everyday in full view a community that has a latent need to label us ‘aliens’.  I will be good for our limbs and hormones, but not necessairily our collective reputation.  If our leader in this vital area was a 70 year old Italiana – well then no questions could possibly arise – bravo problem solved.

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Bembo Davies, I wouldn’t worry about anyone being intimidated  by people engaging in anything within the category of westeuropean clerical rituals. However, it will be cool to do some yoga in Italian, and may be other, perhaps social, start of the day activity. Any thoughts from Welcoming Executive Commitee?

Yes please to early morning health rituals!

What a WONDERFUL opportunity.

Really love the idea of starting each day with an optional, collective, meditative and reflective ritual. Can easily imagine that something like this could be a key ingredient in making up heathy daily rythms within Unmonastery project too…


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Also, I will have finished a ten day stint of volunteering in an Italian Vipassana meditation centre before arriving at LOTE and would be interested to continue collective morning and evening meditative practice at the conference.

Daily meditation has really helped me slow down and deal with uncertainty more calmly and confidently.

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I say Yes. Yes please and thank you!

What a gift.

Re: a mat: Maybe someone at the unmonastery can say where in Matera I could pick one up or borrow one since I don’t want to fly with one?

Namaste. :slight_smile:

On mats and location for practice

Ariane, Kathleen, Fotona and all,

Here is what we have so far: we will be borrowing  about 10 cushions 1m wide and 1.60 m long, with a thickness of approximately 10 cm: not ideal (1.60 is a bit short), but myself and [iamronen] will be arriving to Matera end of this week. I think we will have time to do some scouting, especially visit the unMonastery and check out if one room and the floors are suited for this kind of practice. And will get back to you on that one, no need to carry a mat with you, but that’s just my opinion. Looking forward to this!!


location, location, location :slight_smile:

I don’t expect we’ll have Yoga mats and they are really not that important.

I believe it will come down to location. Hopefully we’ll find a space where the floor is not cold and covered with a carpet and that will do.

For a little extra comfort, a shawl to lay down on or wrap up with when sitting may be nice to have :slight_smile:

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I saw there are quite a few yoga facilities in Matera, anyone in contact with them? I’m being a bit un-do-acratic here, and my excuse is I’m not yet in Matera to talk to them and a lack of Italian. Otherwise: source of mats, participants, and Italian speaking yoga peope?


Thanks for this information. Maybe someone feet on the ground can take this information from you and check it out?

Easier then borrowing mats would be going to the studio itself … and in return for being in the space we could offer a few places for locals to participate in the practice (heads up: english required).