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2-3 Sept – The week that’s been

September 5, 2011

3-4 September – Yoga in Cape Town.

Where was Yoga Awakening Africa and what happened yoga-wise in Cape Town this weekend?

So the weekend started off with finalizing our monthly newsletter on Friday evening. As usual, there always seems to be some technical difficulty with getting it out. So after a late night resolving all the problems and finally publishing the September issue and a good hike early Saturday morning I headed off to a SARYTA workshop hosted by Aldi Groenewald, one of my favourite local teachers, at Ulrike’s studio, Shanti Cape Town, in town. Aldi started off by introducing us to the Gayantri Mantra and we practiced chanting it for a little while in a slightly different way than I have become accustomed to over the years. We then each had to pick a folded paper out a pouch, and on it was either a “y” for yama or “n” for niyama. We spent some time contemplating our personal growth with the yamas and those who had a niyama, were then contemplating and exploring our spiritual progress. After a while we opened our yama/niyama paper, and spent a bit more time contemplating our particular yama/niyama. This practice really brought us into a quiet and sacred space, where we then slowly started to progress through a vinyasa-like sequence, keeping our awareness with our particular yama/niyama as well as experiencing the breath in our whole body. Aldi, has such a gentle and beautiful way of guiding one through a sequence, with mindful adjustments being made to each student as the sequence slowly progressed into more challenging postures. What a treat! We then ended the session by chanting the Gayantri Mantra 108 times in a beautiful rhythmic style, bringing about complete stillness and peace. As usual with the SARYTA workshops, we ended the afternoon with snacks, tea and a good catch up with all participants. Thank you and Namaste` Aldi for a super wonderful and special afternoon.

Sunday lead Yoga Awakening Africa to Yoga Zone in Cape Town, to attend one of Ana Forrest’s workshops. Knowing that Ana is well known for giving strong asana classes, I was a little hesitant to attend. However, I made the effort and decided to take up the challenge. And boy what a challenge it was. The theme of the workshop was Struggle Free Yoga, (I thought this was probably the safest, i.e. least hectic one to attend of all her 5 workshops that weekend). I think I was a little wrong, as struggle free didn’t relate to restorative yoga in form shape or way, but to letting go and breathing deeply while holding really strong postures. Ana has resilient personality and she says it as it is, there is no fluffing about – when you are meant to place your hands on your buttocks, your hands go to your butt or ass. She expresses herself in a way that is clearly understood by all, no sugar coating, and she is always happy to adjust, take students a little further and challenge them to go deeper and hold longer. The idea during the practice was to move away from old habits of breathlessness, struggle and panic while in postures and to learn to relax the core and move from a space of fear to excitement and enjoyment. There was a lot of focus on tucking the tailbone under, lengthening the back of the neck and releasing the sides of the neck and shoulders, as well as working with the core, (apparently a hot favourite of Ana’s as I soon learnt!). The two hour workshop was definitely a challenge but in a good way, (even though I must admit that I did look at the clock once or twice to see how much time was left!!!). So not only was the workshop a wonderfully physical challenge, it was a great mental challenge as well. Many thanks to Ana and all her assistants, (Kate and Alana), who kept coming around and helping us work correctly and more deeply with each of the postures.

Many thanks to both Aldi and Ana for a wonderful yoga filled weekend.

For more information on where Aldi teaches, please email her on and to find out more about SARYTA workshops email Marjolein on For information on Ana visit her website

This coming weekend Yoga Awakening Africa will be heading off to some classes in the Southern Suburbs. Follow us on Facebook to find out where we are heading as we hope to see you there!

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