Adrian teaches yoga for physical, mental, and emotional health–and strongly believes that yoga should be taught holistically, not merely as physical exercise. His teachings emphasize not only the physical practice of yoga (asana), but also pranayama (breathing exercises as a way to channel energy, to calm the nervous system, and to still the mind) and meditation. Plant based nutrition and Eastern philosophy are also areas in which Adrian has studied and feature as integral parts of his teachings.
Integrating Western science & medicine with Eastern traditions is an essential characteristic of Adrian’s teaching style. It’s imperative to convey these valuable insights in ways that are informed by what we know today about anatomy, physiology, nutrition, neuroscience and psychology–to name only a few fields which have enjoyed extensive and rich dialogues between East and West.
Though literally meaning “a seat” in Sanskrit, the word “asana” has come to refer to the physical practice of yoga. There are many good reasons to practice asana, including but not limited to the following:
- Increasing strength
- Building bone density
- Developing flexibility
- Improving circulation
- Preparing the body for meditation
All of these are fruits of a consistent asana practice. At its best, the practice of asana itself is a form of meditation–a means for cultivating intelligence about the body-mind connection, as a platform for developing self awareness, and, ultimately, as a means for letting go of the mind’s expectations about how things should or should not be.
Adrian teaches asana classes that are dynamic and fluid but that allow space for intelligent alignment and are accessible for people of all levels and ages. Informed by modern anatomy and physiology, this approach to practicing yoga incorporates movements designed to increase the movement of energy throughout the body while minimizing the risks of injury. While not committed to a particular “style” of yoga Adrian approach to asana is most heavily inspired by Ashtanga and Yoga Synergy, all of which descends from a style of hatha vinyasa yoga that originates with Sri T Krishnamacharya. Adrian sees his role not only as a teacher but also a coach who helps his students to develop a personal practice that’s appropriate for them and that will be sustainable over the long run.
While asana practice is a valuable tool for developing physical health people should approach asana as a way to practice pranayama and meditation, an emphasis that was handed down to Adrian from his teachers: Simon Borg Olivier, Richard Freeman, and Mary Taylor.
Pranayama can be thought of as breathing exercises designed to regulate and enhance the movement of energy throughout the body. Pranayama practice has positive benefits for the functioning of the body’s various systems–nervous, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, and more. Moreover, pranayama helps to still the mind, serving as an entry point for meditation practice. Practicing pranayama should be an integral feature of of any yoga practice.
Our mind needs exercise just like our bodies and as the mind becomes more disciplined through repeated practice we enjoy a number of positive benefits, including reduced stress, greater emotional balance, and higher levels of contentment–to name only a few of the many benefits of a regular meditation practice.
Adrian has studied meditation with several renowned meditation teachers, including Sally Kempton, Jack Kornfield, B. Allan Wallace, and Tara Brach. To deepen his practice Adrian is currently undergoing a mindfulness meditation teacher training with two of these teachers: Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach. Depending on the context, his approach to teaching meditation may be secular, accessible and appropriate for people of any religious background, including atheists; at other times, it might explicitly draw on the lineages that inspires him, mainly Buddhism and Kashmir Shaivism.
As we develop self awareness through yoga we become more conscious about what we put into our bodies. Food is energy that can serve to either nourish us or to undermine our health. Adrian has a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition through Cornell University’s Center for Nutrition Studies. Based on the work of T. Colin Campbell as well as other leading scientists and doctors throughout the United States, the emphasis is on eating a whole foods, plant based diet. Adrian’s interest is not in converting anyone wholesale to a specific ideological stance, such as going vegan or vegetarian, but in presenting people with scientific evidence with which they can make informed, better decisions about their own approach to eating. Specific workshops and retreats will focus on nutrition, and how the way we approach food is intimately related to our yoga practice.