Beryl Bender Birch At 6th Annual Telluride Yoga Festival

Beryl Bender Birch

Beryl Bender Birch At 6th Annual Telluride Yoga Festival

Beryl Bender Birch

Beryl Bender Birch

Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft, can you be extremely hard and strong, Zen proverb

The lady is everywhere you want to be at the 6th annual Telluride Yoga Festival, Thursday, July 11– Sunday, July 14.

On Thursday, July 11, Beryl Bender Birch leads an all-day workshop themed “From Sweat to Samadhi: The Miracle of the Astanga Yoga Methodology.” The core idea of the intensive is based on the notion of Samadhi or the True Self, the Holy Grail of Yoga. We achieve that goal simply by paying attention:

“Get your attention in present time and the future will take care of itself,” explains Beryl. “This is what we learn to do in our asana practice, in pranayama, in meditation, and in every moment of our lives we work to pay attention and be present. That is what I call ‘doing the work.’ And that makes your yoga practice a 24/7 activity and it is that effort that begins to expand our awareness and initiate our transformation. We must transform ourselves, as well as the planet; our communities, our species, all species, need our best effort.”

Another of Beryl’s classes focuses on yoga nidra, a process that gradually withdraws our awareness from the outer world and turns it inward (pratyahara). Through yoga nidra, deep relaxation occurs and the door opens to the three inner limbs of yoga: concentration, meditation, and realization.

The classical path of Astanga (or Raja) yoga is an ancient and powerful system of energy medicine for healing body, mind, and spirit. The eight limbs of this classical methodology offer techniques that can increase prana, awaken the body’s energy systems, and transform our lives. The practice of pranayama helps train the mind to focus on one thing. It requires a cultivation of attention on the breath and is a gateway to meditation. Once we can link our minds to our breathing, the mind quiets down and we are able to see more clearly, which leads the way to greater health and happiness. Beryl’s class entitled “The Powerful Energy Medicine of Pranayama” focuses on life extension and enhancement through the breath.

Her “Yoga Meditation for Stress Relief” offers a simple yoga breathing technique (to turn on the relaxation response) to relieve anxiety and depression in just 12 minutes a day.

Beryl’s fourth class is arguably her signature workshop. After all, she was the author of the best-seller, “Power Yoga.” In “Power Yoga: Yoga for Athletes,” Beryl will put the concept she revolutionized into a practice, the “hard and soft” philosophy she taught athletes, that, when practiced correctly, develops not just flexibility, but strength, power, and focus as well.

BBBbeach14About Beryl Bender Birch:

Beryl Bender Birch began her studies of yoga after moving from New York City to California in 1971, which at the time was a pretty rockin’ place and the epicenter of the human potential movement. She met and studied with many of the West’s first teachers to come from the East, like Swami Satchidananda, Swami Vishnudevananda, Chogyam Trugpa Rinpoche, Yogi Bhajan, and Munishree Chitrabhanu. As a result, Beryl, a former student of philosophy and comparative religion, became an avid student of yoga and the study of consciousness.

In 1974, Beryl began to teach yoga and meditation to skiers in Winter Park. Six years later, she returned to New York, the place of her birth, to practice Ashtanga Yoga under the guidance of Norman Allen. (Allen was Sri K. Pattabhi Jois’ first American student and the first Westerner to master the Astanga series and bring it to the U.S.) Still ahead of the pack, Beryl introduced yoga to a group of elite athletes, teaching Astanga Yoga at the prestigious New York Road Runners Club. Throughout the 1980s, one whole decade, Beryl and husband Thom Birch remained the only teachers in the Ashtanga tradition on the East Coast, teaching Astanga yoga method of asana, pranayama, and dharana (concentration) to tens of thousands of students.

In the late 80’s, Beryl coined the term “Power Yoga” – along with Bryan Kest on the West Coast –  as a way for the Western mind to relate to the then obscure ancient practice of Astanga yoga, a workout for the mind and body.

Beryl is the founder and director of The Hard & the Soft Yoga Institute (since 1980) and the Give Back Foundation (since 2007). In June of this year she was honored with the “Karma Yoga” award from the International Association of Yoga Therapists for her vision in founding and furthering the humanitarian work of GBYF. She now teaches classical yoga all over the world, guiding and inspiring students of all levels with her down-to-earth style.

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to my conversation with Beryl Bender Birch from 2011, when she first came to town to teach at the Telluride Yoga Festival.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.