An Introduction to Karuna Yoga

by Ian Bysh


I’m getting quite excited about the workshop I’m going to be running at RHY on Saturday ‘An Introduction to Karuna Yoga’. I’ve been secretly planning it, which means I’ve been doing a lot of the poses for the workshop to see what I could discover. I will do my best to pass on these discoveries on Saturday. 2pm to 5pm, should you be interested. My workshop comes in two parts. In the first we’ll concentrate on asanas. In the second, we’ll investigate some pranayamas, and in all probability end up chanting.

In the asana section, we’ll be looking closely at a sequence of three standing poses – trikonasana, ardha chandrasana and virabhadrasana III. Oh there’s so much to extract from these lovely three poses, and when you sew them all together in one powerful flow your joy will be unsurpassed. Mr Iyengar always said to teach nothing but standing poses until they can be done flawlessly, but I think we might stretch a point and look at other poses, too, and depending on how we get on, we might get as far as the mother of all poses. I anticipate some partner work, and we will definitely take apart one if not two of the standing poses.

Maha yoga pranayama is the grand yogic breath, and this is where we will set out towards in the second half of the workshop. When I first encountered pranayama it was as part of my teacher training. I didn’t like the sound of it at all. I wanted to do lots of yoga – you know – poses. The thought of sitting just breathing really didn’t fill me with any kind of pleasurable anticipation. But then, Philip Xerri took the pranayama classes. He is an immensely knowledgeable man with a kind and gentle air about him; and the practises that he imparted are very powerful. I wasn’t bored like I thought I would be. And in the end, I rather enjoyed myself, enough to sign up for his 18 month pranayama teacher training course. Changed my life it did. There are some really groovy lobular breathing exercises to do, all of which come with their own mantra and mudra that I think it would be good to share.


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