Conveniently located for students throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in Berkeley's vibrant Fourth Street neighborhood.
We opened Hatha Yoga Shala as a center of self-cultivating arts, to create a supportive setting and context for our yoga school where we offer a comprehensive courses and training programs for the discerning student.
Foundations of Shadow Yoga
Shadow Yoga Prelude Forms
Special Focus Yoga Courses and Workshops
Yoga Practitioner Training
Private Yoga Instruction
Yoga Teaching Mentorship and Apprenticeship
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 and Nrtta Sadhana are 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.
Mark has been teaching Hatha Yoga since 1990 and is an acknowledged Shadow Yoga Teacher. He has studied closely with Sundernath (Shandor Remete) the founder of Shadow Yoga since 1994, as well as Emma Balnaves. 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.
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 Sundernath (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.
About the Practice
What is Shadow Yoga?
Shadow Yoga, as developed by yoga master Sundernath (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 Shadow Yoga Preludes prepare the student for the smaller, more subtle and refined movements of the Nrtta Sadhana. The forms in the Nrtta Sadhana contain the karanas for self-cultivation and restoring the body’s natural energetic responsiveness.
"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
The videos below give a glimpse of the Shadow Yoga Prelude Forms and the Nrtta Sadhana demonstrated by our teacher Emma Balnaves, co-founder and director of Shadow Yoga and Nrtta Sadhana.
Stepping into Strength
The first 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
The second prelude develops more sophisticated integration of the limbs to help free the movement of the life force.
Garland of Light
The third prelude 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.