These special 2-hour Master classes with Stephanie Keach are the ultimate way to discover the sanctuary of your own heart as you transform your body. Stephanie weaves an eclectic blend of styles into her teaching: Vinyasa Flow Yoga, Core Strengthening, Zen Philosophy, Compassionate Humor and Ecstatic Chanting. You will build core strength through ancient yogic purification, energizing and healing practices. Your body and mind will thank you and reward you in countless ways!
This 2-hour yoga class is led by instructor Stephanie Keach. Her teaching does not seem to be consistent with a particular school of yoga; rather, it echoes many different hatha yoga styles. Given this, the content and sequencing of this practice is quite unusual, especially in that it includes few standing postures beyond down dog and standing forward fold. Rather, Stephanie teaches a relatively small number of postures overall but offers a number of challenging variations for each. Consistent with this being a master class (recorded from a 5-day training), Stephanie frequently uses Sanskrit names for the postures, and she weaves in additional yogic elements such as pranayama (breathing) and bandhas (locks).Stephanie has the class begin in a reclined position, where she spends a full 17 minutes warming up the spine and abdominals with moves such as spinal rock, bridge, yoga situp, and frog situp. A second long sequence follows, this time moving from a cat/cow flow into variations including one leg to the side at 90°, half-bow on hands and knees, and lunge/hamstring stretches. Next comes a challenging down dog series: from a three-legged down dog position, Stephanie adds a twist as well as a hand to sacrum move (these postures were a bit difficult to visualize given the audio format). Following this, Stephanie introduces bandha work into the practice. From horse stance, she instructs the class to breathe out using lion’s breath and then to engage uddiyana bandha. This is repeated three times with work in wide-legged standing forward fold between rounds of uddiyana; the final standing forward bend moves towards a wide-legged split and then ends with side stretches. Returning to cat/cow, Stephanie cues thread the needle with several variations to more deeply open the shoulders. A nice long rest in child’s pose follows before Stephanie makes you suffer to hold squat while performing wrist stretches. This prepares you for crow pose, and then dolphin and child’s pose conclude the first half of this audio practice.The second part of the class opens with a toe stretch. A lengthy pigeon series follows: Stephanie begins with a pigeon flow, eventually moving into a long hold of forward bend in pigeon. She then adds a quad stretch and concludes with a twisting pigeon. After the work in pigeon, the practice transitions to a seated position for seated forward fold and then a brief backbend in staff pose. Next comes an advanced hip opening series which moves from basic work with rock the baby to placing your leg over your shoulder and eventually culminating in Astavakrasana, or eight-angle pose. Following this, the class begins to become more restorative, starting with Baddha Konasana and then shoulderstand. After rolling out of shoulderstand to a reclined position, the final active posture is a cross-legged reclined twist, and subsequently, Stephanie sets up savasana. She allows for a short (5 minutes) relaxation and continues cueing throughout most of this, first prompting a full-body scan and then providing reminders to relax deeply. With about 8 minutes left, Stephanie slowly moves the class out of savasana, pausing in a side-lying position to engage in the bumblebee breath. Finally, she gathers the class in a circle for several minutes of a singing meditation before concluding the practice simply with namaste.This class is clearly intended for experienced yoga practitioners; although there are no inversions and only a single arm balance, the pose variations which Stephanie presents will greatly challenge the flexibility of most students. Stephanie is an easygoing, encouraging instructor whose teaching is infused with a playful sense of humor—she knows she is working you hard, yet she encourages you to hang in there as long as you can. If you enjoy intensive, full-length yoga sessions and prefer a live class setting, this master class is likely to be a valuable tool for your home practice.