The name Shadow Yoga is derived from the 6th chapter of the ancient tantrika treatise ‘The Shiva-Svarodaya’ (the birth of the breath of life revealed by the god Shiva). This chapter, entitled ‘Yoga of the Shadow Man’, dealswith the intricate manifestations of the shadow and their significance both inside and outside the human organism.
The Ashtanga Hrdaya of Vagbhata, a primary ayurvedic text, also contains a chapter on the shadow which deals with diagnostic principles. There is also a story about Allama Prabhudeva, the initiating guru of Gorakshanath (one of the famous forefathers of Hatha Yoga), in which he describes the human body as nothing but layers of frozen shadows. According to Hatha Yogic anatomy the body is composed of three discrete bodies and five sheaths, (coverings or shadows). The practice of Hatha Yoga has evolved with the purpose of dissolving these shadows.
The teaching of the Shadow School is based upon the ancient Hatha Yogic texts, which state that all fixed forms should be designed to develop the practice of freestyle. Freestyle is a necessary step in the cultivation of longevity and enlightenment. The texts also suggest that the set forms should contain within them the following bodily positions and movements for the proper development of the vital breath.
Standing, sitting, lying, sideways, inversions, turning – twisting, pumping, weighing, forwards, backwards, spiral. These twelve kinds of positions and movements have been adapted from the range of human activities including martial arts, dance and crafts of life, and from the plant and animal kingdoms. The appropriate combination of these activities with suitable rhythm and positioning brings about the unfolding of the inner powers hidden in the individual.
(Info & Photos by www.shadowyoga.com)