A seminar with Matthew Remski in Berlin


A Natural History of Shadow and Light in Modern Yoga

April 6th – 7th 2019 from 11:00 till 17:00 with a lunch break and tea break

at Zen Yoga by Dynamic Mindfulness

This seminar is a part of the Dynamic Mindfulness Advanced Yoga Teacher Training.

Guest course fee: 300 Euros

Early Bird price 250 Euros, valid till February 1st, 2019




A Natural History of Modern Yoga: Ancients, Medievals and Moderns

Any natural history of yoga has to start with conceptions of the body and it’s purpose through time. We’ll look at Indian sources for the cosmic body, the body of sacrifice, the body as temple, the meanings of dismemberment and mortification in mythology, and then the “hydraulic awakening laboratory” of the medieval Tantric body. We’ll look at the confusing way in which “haṭha” has been translated – as “violent exertion” Is that accurate?

How do these bodies relate to modern bodies of therapy and performance? How does the perception and consideration of the body change with colonization, industrialization, photography, and the burgeoning of the Indian Independence movement?

Who was T. Krishnamacharya? Why was he teaching yoga? For whom? How many roles did he have to play? What role did demonstration have in his pedagogy? What did he teach the students who would go on to globalize yoga as a “secular religion”?

Finally, how can we see all of these influences – somatic, psychological, philosophical, and religious – in the contemporary yoga marketplace?

Throughout this journey, we’ll see a primary tension and paradox emerge: it’s hard to know what we’re actually doing in asana, because we’re unclear about the relationship between older drives towards transcendence, and the newer ideals of therapy, which imply horizontal learning relationships and informed consent.



Disciplined Movements, Spontaneous Movements

How do we learn to move as babies? Why is asana education in general so different from this natural process? What happens when someone tells you what your body should do, what it should be like? What happens when you internalize an authoritarian mode of movement-instruction?

Related to the transcendent/therapeutic paradox is a fork in the road of modern yoga. The majority of methods advocate for intensely disciplined choreography. But there are lesser-known methods that advocate the reverse. In this discussion, we’ll look at the practices of spontaneous movement, in which asana is understood as an effect of awakening rather than a cause, and chart the relationship between how spontaneous movements are taught today and the pedagogical intimacies of the early haṭha period.

In researching how modern practitioners navigated the physical and emotional costs of practice in terms of disillusionment and injury, Matthew has also had the great pleasure of interviewing thought-leaders who are revolutionizing practice to address these very stresses. Woven throughout and concluding the weekend will be the findings of lead researchers and teachers in biomechanics, neurophysiology and breath, psychology, cognitive/academic/language issues, and ultimate existential concerns.


About Matthew Remski and What Are We Actually Doing in Asana

Matthew Remski

Yoga teacher and author Matthew Remski has interviewed close to 200 yoga practitioners, teachers, and scholars about discomfort, pain, injury and healing in modern yoga over the past two years. He’s recorded his initial findings in over 30 articles that have attracted over 300K readers. The book he is currently writing under the title of What Are We Actually Doing in Asana weaves subject interviews, personal memoir, and intensive research into the somatics of the modern yoga movement to create a natural history of shadows and light. In this weekend of presentation, discussion, journaling and self-guided movement, participants will explore the tangled but fertile landscape of what yoga practice has meant, means, and could mean in the future.

You can read up on the #WAWADIA project here: