About the Practice
What is Shadow Yoga?
Shadow Yoga, as developed by yoga master Shandor Remete, makes use of the methods and practices common to classical Hatha Yoga and the self-cultivating arts (both martial and dance). Great importance is placed on preparatory work as the foundation for meaningful progress. Prelude forms are utilized for training. These forms combine strong stance work with round, spiraling movements, rhythmic breathing, and bandha. This skillful, systematic preparation frees blockage in the Marma System (Vital Junctions), leading to the unobstructed circulation of the life force. This sets the stage for the inner work of asana, mudra, pranayama, and meditation.
The three Shadow Yoga Prelude Forms:
BALAKRAMA: Stepping into Strength
CHAYA YODDHA SANCHALANAM: Churning of the Shadow Warrior
KARTTIKEYA MANDALA: Garland of Light
What is Nrtta Sadhana?
"The Nrtta is that Sadhana (the way of accomplishments) through which the sadhaka (aspirant) rediscovers the rhythmic life currents hidden in the body’s folds and limbs by means of unimposed natural positioning and that is termed as karana (cause)." ~from shadowyoga.com
The three forms of the Nrtta Sadhana:
ASHTA MATRIKAS: the eight mother palms, also known as the short form
LASYA: Kali’s creative dance, also known as the long form
ANANDA TANDAVA: Shiva’s dance of dissolvement
Either the Ashta Matrikas or Ananda Tandava should be learned first. The Lasya requires the Ashta Matrikas as prerequisite.
The videos below give a glimpse of the Shadow Yoga prelude forms and the Nrtta Sadhana long form demonstrated by Emma Balnaves.
Stepping into Strength
This prelude develops the root. Strong joint and bone work builds the agni and blood, leading to a better quality of breath - increased strength and stamina follow.
CHAYA YODDHA SANCHALANAM
Churning of the Shadow Warrior
This prelude develops more sophisticated integration of the limbs to help free the movement of the life force.
Garland of Light
This is the most advanced of the forms and helps to free the spine from the imposition of the limbs. Marma is cleared from the shoulders, side ribs, groins and hips, preparing the body for the more demanding asanas.
Laysa: Kali's Creative Dance
This form builds upon the Eight Mother Palms. and is also referred to as the Long Form.
Mark is the founder and director of the first comprehensive Shadow Yoga training program in the SF Bay Area. He started his program in 1997 at Moksha Yoga Shala in Walnut Creek, and then moved it to Berkeley in 2011 when he and his partner, Judy, opened Hatha Yoga Shala East Bay.
The teaching of yoga is a process of transmission, from guide to student. The understanding and embodiment born of years of personal practice within the guide is the power which ignites this process.
Shadow Yoga is taught in a course-based, pre-registration format, so the teaching can be built up progressively from class to class. This requires a greater commitment on the part of both student and teacher, yet the reward is a more profound depth of learning and understanding.
NEW STUDENTS start with the Foundations of Shadow Yoga courses and then learn the three Shadow Yoga Prelude Forms. The preludes are training tools and a key component of the preparatory work. Once the preludes are established, students progress to the other courses and trainings.
PREPARATORY WORK involving fixed practice forms has been utilized in traditional systems of self-cultivation for centuries, yet despite its importance, it is little understood in today’s yoga. Shadow Yoga places great emphasis on preparatory work as the foundation for meaningful progress.
Through skillful repetition of the Shadow Yoga preludes, students develop patience, discipline, and refined observation. Over time, the latent powers and abilities hidden beneath layers of habits, are liberated. This sets the stage for FREE STYLE practice - one based on intuitive responsiveness rather than likes / dislikes, and personal limitations.
Our courses are taught at Hatha Yoga Shala East Bay in Berkeley, CA.
We opened the shala as a Center of Self-Cultivating Arts, to create a supportive setting and context for our Shadow Yoga school where we offer a comprehensive courses and training programs.
Foundations of Shadow Yoga
Shadow Yoga Prelude Forms
Special Focus Courses and Workshops
Teaching Mentorship and Apprenticeships
Mark has been teaching Hatha Yoga for 29 years and is an acknowledged Shadow Yoga Teacher. For the past 25 years Mark has studied closely with Shandor Remete, the founder of Shadow Yoga. Mark’s teaching is enhanced by 8 years of bodywork practice as a Certified Rolfer as well as many years of classical piano study, rock climbing, and the study of Ayurveda and Advaita Vedanta.
Judy Yu is an acknowledged Shadow Yoga teacher and has been teaching since 2011. Judy began her Shadow Yoga practice in 2006 when she met her teachers Shandor Remete and Emma Balnaves. From her first introduction to Shadow Yoga, Judy was immediately drawn to the intelligence, depth, and effectiveness of the approach. She co-directs the Hatha Yoga Shala East Bay with her partner, Mark