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Noah Maze in Cape Town, a Yoga Awakening Africa review.

October 20, 2012

Right, so my Friday evening was booked. I was invited to attend the Noah Maze workshop organised by Anton and Ilana from Gururamdas in Cape Town at Erin Hall in Rondebosch. Anyone in Cape Town on Friday would have known that the last place anyone wanted to be was out and about in the pouring rain and freezing cold. Alas, heading off to see this Colorado based yoga teacher to do his thing was still very intriguing and got me up and out of my warm cosy house.

 

The great thing about workshops like these is that the room is always packed with excited and enthusiastic like-minded yogis who are all prepared to go on a 2 hour journey together even though they are squished together like little sardines. The bad thing is that if you are a little late mat choice isn’t really an option and heading to the back of the class to the “peanut gallery”, (my preferential space), so that I can pop into child’s pose unnoticed when it all gets a little too intense wasn’t an option this time round. Alas being directly under the beady eye of the teacher in the front row and right in the middle sent my adrenalin and stress levels overboard as I knew that I had no option but to ensure I stayed focused and partook in the whole session as best as I could!

 

So Noah is definitely a force to be reckoned with. This high energy, fun loving and entertaining teacher brought pure joy, (okay, well to be honest, a little bit of anguish and pain, squashed and squeezed toes, jelly arms and shoulder and a wee bit of exhaustion), to this little meek and mild restorative loving student. We spent the time together focusing mainly on all the Warriors, (I, II and III), and moved into them slowly and repeatedly as we transitioned through the ashtanga based Surya Namaskar, Salute to the Sun. It all sounds fine, but he ensured that there was a lot of focus on the toes, rolling over the toes, not tucking them under, try that once and you will be okay, do it for 2 hours in 50% of the postures as you flow and then tell me if you can still feel your toes afterwards, (mine are still hot a day later!!!), and working tirelessly with the arms, by drawing the shoulders upwards towards the ears to get more length in the spine. So there were definitely some new concepts and ideas for me to mull over and test out. This is what I love about attending yoga workshops, you get to work with the same traditional postures that one always does, but changing the focus can bring about a whole new dimension to one’s understanding and practice.

 

Noah has a great personality, he speaks openly and honestly from his heart, (with pure love for his wife and kids, sorry girls, yes another one of the good ones is taken!). He has a vast knowledge of the traditional yogic stories and the background to the underlying meaning of the many yoga postures. Very cleverly he is able to relate these age old tales in a way that is fun and pertinent to our times, making it more applicable and easy to understand, (while moving from one postures to another). His understanding of the body and what he would like his practitioners to achieve in the postures is described meticulously and with a deep knowledge and understanding of the human body so there is no time for the mind to wander as you are always reminded to engage this part, lengthen that part, open here, hold, hold and hold…

 

Noah also has a light-hearted way of teaching and engages with his students on a regular basis. In the end I didn’t really mind being in the front row as a little bit of banter back and forth, made for an entertaining and engaging session. In this lifetime, I am sure that I will NEVER EVER enjoy trying to get into the peacock, the closest I will ever get to is a collapsing and screeching hadida variation of it, but that’s okay, at least I’m trying and without this workshop I probably never would even imagined to give it a try. Like Noah says, we shouldn’t stick to postures we like, we need to focus and look at those ones we don’t often practice as they can be our biggest teachers and show us where we are resisting and holding back, (not just on the mat, but in life as well). However with that said Noah did redeem himself when he took us through a crescent moon series to open into the hips, heart and hamstrings, giving me at least a good set of postures that I LOVE to end with!

 

So for those of you who enjoy a strong vinyasa based class or are keen to try something different, I’m sure Noah’s workshops are just up your alley. It is a great way to work deeper into postures, develop a strong alignment and open up to new ideas and ways of working with traditional postures.

 

I’ll definitely be back next time he’s in CT!

Thanks to Noah, Anton and Ilana for a great session, your dedication and love for yoga is monumental!

With gratitude.

Namaste`

Nina.

If you’ve missed his workshops, you can check out his website for online classes.

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