Doug Keller

Doug Keller’s background reflects a lifelong commitment to the vast field of yoga. After receiving degrees in philosophy from Georgetown and Fordham University and teaching philosophy at a college level, he pursued a practical experience of yoga at the ashram Gurudev Siddha Peeth in India — which in turn also led him to the practice of hatha yoga as part of his overall experience of yoga. 

From years of study, practice and teaching, he has produced widely used and highly respected books on asana, yoga as therapy, pranayama and yoga philosophy, and he teaches hatha yoga workshops and trainings in both North America and Europe. 

He was a regular columnist for Yoga International Magazine for three years, and has also written on therapeutic topics for Yoga Journal. His popularity as a teacher comes from his ability to deepen people’s experience of yoga through clear, simple and direct instructions that are easy to practice and remember. And he does it with lightness and light.

September 29 - October 1, 2023

These classes are Yoga Alliance approved, and these hours can be applied towards your continuing education.

Attending each day will accrue a total of 20 hours.

$475 in-person

$250 online

No Refunds after September 1st, 2023

Rediscovering Yoga’ The Wisdom of the Vayus: Empowerment in Modern Wellness and Yoga Practice

Doug is returning to the Yoga Space with an expansive yet eminently practical journey into the contemporary relevance of the ideas, practices and tools of hatha yoga for modern wellness.

The yogis had a vocabulary of empowerment, which they called the ‘Vayus’ or ‘powers’ of Prana, the life force. The terms may seem arcane, but they contained profound insights into the complexities of our Autonomic Nervous System, which is at the center of contemporary health issues — particularly those involving inflammatory conditions.

The Vayus represent the states of the nervous system which support our health. When coupled with the concepts introduced by the hatha yogis, we are given a map for practice which makes eminent sense in the light of modern understanding. Notably, the concepts of the Sun and Moon ‘nadis’ introduced by the hatha yogis have special bearing on our evolving modern understanding of the the vagus nerve and its profound role in nearly every aspect of our physical, mental, and emotional health.

The beauty of this understanding of Prana and the Vayus, as significantly transformed by the hatha yogis, is that we are encouraged to focus more on our powers than our problems — to focus on the resources built into us that we can bring to bear on our challenges, if we know how to enlist them.

The sessions of these three days of the intensive will be organized around the theme of these Vayus, and will explore experientially the direct influence of our yoga practices on the realms of wellness described by the Vayus. We’ll cover not only asana, with insights into the therapeutic wisdom of yoga, but also devote time to a subtle and profound exploration of the experience of pranayama that will reorient your understanding of these practices, as well as of meditation.

September 29
11am - 6pm

Space, Sensation, and the True Meaning of Alignment — Vyana Vayu

An understanding of Vyana Vayu can transform our contemporary understanding of ‘alignment’ in yoga practice. Vyana Vayu has to do with sensation - including the body’s mechanisms for pain management - and the experience of spacious, expansive awareness in the body that is the foundation for healthy function.

The key to working with Vyana Vayu — and to understanding ‘alignment’ in a new way — is to focus on improving ‘joint play’ during movement. This perception of space in the joints is the mechanism by which our nervous system governs muscle tone known as the ‘arthrokinetic reflex’.

This is vital for understanding pain management through yoga, as well as overcoming stiffness and weakness through collaboration with the way our nervous system actually works, rather than struggling with stretches and one-size-fits-all concepts of alignment. 

The asana focus will be on practical principles for the shoulders — particularly for addressing limitations in movement as well as pain problems. This will include work with the wrists, thumbs, and elbows — and we’ll introduce a useful and accessible understanding of ‘marma’ points for working effectively in these areas — and we’ll link the same concepts to working productively with the feet as our foundation for movement.

The day will also include pranayama, as an experience of the flow of Vyana Vayu through the pathways of Prana in the body that influences the states of the Autonomic Nervous System.

September 30
11am - 6pm

Equilibrium: Samana Vayu and the Balance of Prana and Apana for Wellness in the Low Back and Sacrum

The most familiar idea in yoga is the idea of the balance between Prana and Apana, between being stimulated into action, and being centered and grounded. Yoga seeks a dynamic equilibrium between the two, which empowers ‘Samana Vayu’ — where ‘Sama’ means equilibrium, or in modern language, homeostasis.

We often think of asana as static — a ‘pose’ with a particular alignment — but it’s movement that makes asana sing, and movement is at the heart of the balance of prana and apana, and the state of sama or equilibrium. Our asana focus will be on the health of the low back and sacroiliac joints, connecting breath and movement through a stable yet fluid core.

This will include exploration of the kinds of imbalances and pain problems — especially in the low back and sacroiliac joints, as well as sciatic pain — that can arise from postural and movement habits, as well as structural issues in the body, and how to address them in practice

A deep understanding of Samana Vayu, and how yoga practice supports it, goes even further into its role in healthy function of our hormonal and immune system, which is profoundly tied to the health of the ‘gut’ — the center of Samana. The hatha yogis were the first in the history of yoga to focus on the health of the digestive system, including through asana practice, and that understanding is key to working with deeper realms of health.

The asana practice will refine our appreciation of the bandhas, which will take us into pranayama practice that further explores the role of bandhas, and the power of ‘Sama’ or equilibrium that comes with natural, spontaneous stilling of the breath.

October 1
11am - 6pm

Intention and Empowerment: Connecting Udana, the Power of Intention, with Vyana, the Power of Sensation and Feeling

Udana Vayu concerns the power of intention and its role in regulating the health of the nervous system as well as the body. The other Vayus come together in practice ultimately to empower Udana, our core power of intention — and the cultivation of Udana will in turn strengthen the other Vayus for maintaining health.

The asana practice will build upon themes from the second day with regard to the core, going deeper into principles for reinforcing healthy, functional movement through asana — and we will also turn to the neck and shoulders, refining our understanding of neck alignment and movement while focusing more deeply on the role of the vagus nerve and other cranial nerves in pain problems and yoga practice.

Ultimately this will take us into a deep dive into intention or ‘sankalpa’ in yoga. The power of intention is a key to happy, sattvic states of mind that are resilient in the face of stress, and adaptivity of the nervous system which supports a healthy immune system and reduction of inflammatory conditions. Asana refines our connection to the body, and with that, our connection to our own power of intention. 

Pranayama likewise relies upon the refinement of intention with regard to the flow of the breath, taking the practice beyond the realm of breath technique into the realm of dharana, meditation, and deep relaxation. Our exploration of this will include consideration of mantra and vibration, and the significance and value of ideas of marma and the chakras for entering deeper realms of yoga in meditation and Yoga Nidra.

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