Yoga & Alternative Practices
"Health is wealth, peace of mind is happiness,
yoga shows the way"
Swami Vishnu Devananda
According to the Indian sage Patanjali "yogash chita vritti nirodha", that is, yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind, of mental fragmentation. The style of yoga practiced will vary according to the teachers and programme for the week, so please check our course calendar before you book.
Iyengar yoga was developed through the pioneering work of B.K.S. Iyengar, who freed the classical yoga postures (asanas) from their Indian mystique and with the use of props made them suitable for Westerners, who want to have a clear understanding of what happens in a yoga posture. A typical Iyengar yoga class focuses on precision of movement, correct alignment, and the study of the ‘muscle and mind’ actions and resistance necessary to enter a state of concentration. Breathing awareness is emphasized in every asana in order to deepen the experience. Through consistent practise the student overcomes his or her physical and mental/emotional limits and develops a deep awareness of the body, power, control, patience and physical and mental harmony. During the workshops different groups of asanas will be proposed to the students.
Hatha yoga classes comprise of a series of asanas (physical postures), usually held for some time, pranayama (breathing techniques), and meditative techniques (sitting in silence, concentration techniques), through which deep relaxation and the development of awareness of the body and mind in the present moment are encouraged. This is gradually transferred from within the class context into everyday life.
Your Body and Soul are full of natural, spontaneous energy... vibration... intuition… and aliveness. There is no judgment or reaction, no expectation or guilt, and no past or future. Through authentic, free movement in these 2 hour classes, we will release the deep tension and limitations that block our freedom and vitality. We will shake off the mind’s heavy burden of past experiences and their associated judgments. Through self expression, we will reach a new form of dialogue and union with ourselves. We will play with ourselves. We will challenge our ego and our comfort zone, light up our "story" and feel lighter. Through dancing, singing, playing, breathing and touching we will feed the parts of our body and soul that we have buried, forgotten and ignored. In short, we will reveal and awaken their natural states of being.
The class will include: African dance , contact improvisation, bioenergetics' exercises, voice work, breathing work, massage, physical theater, meditation, self expression.
In this journey there is no teacher and no technique to memorized. We are not here to learn any new theories. We have collected so many theories that our minds seem to have lost their ability to be alert, silent and open to pure creation. This physical - emotional - mental journey to find your true self is your own pure creation. Federica will be your guide and hold an open space for you. In her words: “I’m here to remind you of your power. I’m here to offer you tools to get through mental and emotional traps. Together, we will find your inner Light and Clarity”.
Yin Yoga (sometimes also referred to as "needleless acupuncture") affects organ health in the same way as acupuncture by applying constant pressure along the meridians, which activates and stimulates the body's energy channels, while also clearing energy blockages. To achieve this, poses are held for at least 3 minutes. In this way, it facilitates the distribution of chi into the cells and organs of the body and guides us into a harmonious synthesis of action and stillness. It significantly contributes to the flexibility of joints, strengthens the immune system, releases excess tension, brings a feeling of ease and lightness in the body, and increases overall well-being and vitality.
Yin Yoga helps to balance the overabundance of yang (active) energy with yin (passive) energy. This gives one the opportunity to slow down and direct the focus of attention within, rise above thinking and simply feel the goodness of being alive.
This movement practice emphasizes inner alignment with the present moment, rather than striving to achieve external forms and shapes, and is s uitable for all ages and physical fitness levels.
A community atmosphere is integral in creating the warm, group feeling of our holidays, but is also in line with yogic teachings of selfless service and "inaction in action" (acting without attachment and expectations regarding the outcome). You are therefore more than welcome to offer a little help with household tasks during your stay, if you would like to do so, or even come as a karma yogi and get your stay and classes for free! Contact us for more details if you are interested in the later option.
Tai Chi Chuan
Tai chi chuan can be practiced as a martial art, as a meditation, or therapeutically intending to develop and balance vital energy or chi. The majority of practitioners use it as health exercise to promote vitality and reduce or mitigate stress. Millions of people around the world enjoy the smooth, harmonious movements of the form – connected postures that flow into each other. Seemingly simple moves are available to all because the emphasis is less on muscle and more on connectedness. This does not mean that it does not affect the muscular system, especially of the legs and core muscles. The coordination of the limbs with the spine and pelvis is central in tai chi. Integrated, circular, without pauses, moves are designed to stimulate the circulatory, lymphatic, nervous and musculoskeletal system.
In this workshop at YogaOnCrete you will discover and practice the short form (16 movements) of Wu style tai chi. The Wu style tai chi from the beginning emphasises on nurturing yin, soft energy and has the reputation for its therapeutic properties, especially on the joints and spine. Proper body alignment, balance around the central axis and the great attention given to the core or tantien have beneficial effects combating stress while adding vitality to your life.
Capoeria-inspired Creative Dance
These classes aim to explore a relaxed and present state of body and mind, our relationship to ourselves and others and the connection to our environment, guided through rhythms. The movements are loosely based on Capoeira Angola, also involving elements from Dance therapy, Contact Improvisation, Afro-Brazilian dance, Yoga, Chi Gong and Tai Chi. The rhythms are influenced by Afro-brazilian culture. The classes will focus on the following elements:
In relation to the individual:
- breathing and motion
- inviting the various parts of the body to engage
- working from the ground
- travelling through space
- expression and creativity
In relation to one’s connection with others:
- communication through the body
- conscious choice and change
- revealing the harmony
- staying centred
Thus, the classes offer participants a time to re-awaken oneself through a sensory journey of self-expression, moving, feeling, dancing, playing, releasing one's natural state of being, offering you a time to quieten the mind, free your inhibitions, let go and ‘inJoy’!
Primitive Expression Dance Therapy
Primitive Expression is a simple, enjoyable technique of bodily expression and group experience accessible to all; its aim is the rediscovery of the sources of movement and the roots of dance in impulsive rhythm and energy. It is accompanied by the beat of drums; it combines motion, rhythm and voice through the suggestion of movements with a symbolic content, drawing inspiration from images and ideas taken from nature, mythology, folklore, or everyday life.
- During this week-long workshop at YogaOnCrete participants will be able to:
- Rediscover the natural rhythms that constitute the body (heartbeat, respiration) and the ways in which these structures become movement and then dance.
- Re-situate themselves in space, time and vis-à-vis the other members of the group (social aspect of dance).
- Channel emotions, thoughts, desires, impulses through forms provided by a given ‘anthropological’ repertoire of movements. These forms gradually acquire a different meaning, defined by the participants.
- Build up an artistic creation which, beyond its aesthetic result, will define and represent them on a psychic level.
... Federica touches you with hands that carry the energy of a shamanic ritual. Arms spread beneath the Sun ... Hands receiving wisdom from the African sky, feet grounded in the Earth ... Leaving behind a trail of pain, illusion and silence.
Treatments offered with our on site or visiting therapist (depending on the therapist available at the time of your course):
- 90-minute holistic massage
- 60-minute holistic massage
- 45-minute biodynamic craniosacral therapy
- 45-minute ginger compress and reflexology
- 60 or 90 -minute thai massage
Holistic massage is a person centred treatment guided by principles of sensitivity, awareness and quality of touch. It involves deep, rhythmical stroking and kneading of the body's soft tissues, that relax and balance the body and mind. Holistic massage rejuvenates and speeds up the body’s natural healing mechanisms, it has a profoundly calming effect on the neuromuscular system bringing about deep relaxation, restoring energy and settling emotions. Massage is a therapeutic tool in its own right for aiding our ability to deal with stress. Excessive stress is a major contributor to disease and general ill health. It can cause energy to be blocked and muscles to tense up (in the ‘fight or flight' reaction) and it can bring about mental and emotional anxieties, as well as a feeling of being unable to cope. As the rhythmical, soothing nature of the massage strokes releases muscular tension, the effects of stress are eased away, helping your mind to become still, leaving you calm and refreshed. Holistic in nature, it aims to treat the whole person, not just the symptoms of disease, anxiety or excessive stress, and is adapted to meet each person's unique requirements. Also, receiving this profound treatment is a deep self-observation or journey of self-knowledge, and can also be seen as a form of meditation and a powerful way of letting go of worries, fear and pain.
After the treatment you will immediately notice some of the effects of the massage. Many people report improved joint mobility and feeling taller, as well as the common sense of well-being.
Benefits include: Relief of tension, stiff joints and relaxation of tight, sore muscles; Encourages better circulation; Awareness of body and breathing to improve posture; Promotes relaxation, thus reducing the effects of stress and anxiety; Induces deep sleep; Aids digestion; Increases energy by invigorating all the body systems, and therefore reduces fatigue; Promotes mental and spiritual clarity.
Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy
Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle and subtle whole body approach to the human experience that aims to promote healing. It works with our Core, the Core of Our Being.
Physically, it influences the central nervous system; brain and spinal column, as well as the fluid that bathes it. This fluid is called the cerebral spinal fluid. From our skeletal system and the bones of the cranium to the ebbing and flowing of our endocrine system, this cranial modality is effective, yet gentle.
Emotionally, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy can affect very deep and primary patterns, while providing the client with the resources and space to explore their emotional landscape. Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy provides a deep sense of resourcing within the client. This resourcing provides a safe container for emotional issues to resolve.
Spiritually, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy can open doors to both our hearts and soul, for profound life change.
Ginger Compress and Reflexology
The Ginger Compress treatment loosens and dissolves stagnated toxic matter by stimulating blood and body fluid circulation, which helps to detoxify the body. The compress is typically placed over the stomach area to treat intestinal stagnation by increasing digestive strength and clearing built up mucous, and over the lower back to warm and strengthen the kidneys (the kidneys store vital essence and govern aging, sexual energy and willpower). It may also be used on other areas of the body for pain, inflammation, swelling and stiffness. To enhance your ginger compress treatment, it will be accompanied by a Reflexology treatment.
Reflexology is a relaxing and gentle holistic therapy that aims to heal the whole person, rather than just the presenting symptoms. It involves the application of pressure to specific reflex points or ‘reflex zones’ on the feet or hands that correspond to all major organs, glands and body parts. Through the manipulation of these points, this therapy aims to relax and balance the body, improve circulation and promote the body’s own natural healing processes.
How will you benefit from Reflexology?
Reflexology can help replenish the whole body by encouraging it to naturally restore its own health balance. Reflexology is considered ideal for: Back pain; Migraine; Infertility; Arthritis; Sports injuries; Hormonal imbalances; Sleep disorders; Digestive disorders; Stress-related conditions.
Please note that reflexologists do not claim to cure, make diagnoses or prescribe courses of treatment for specific illnesses.
Federica’s Holistic Massage experience comes from studying many forms of body work over the past 10 years. A professional dancer, Federica has a wealth of body awareness. She trained as a massage therapist in the U.K., developing her integrated, holistic therapy based on research in the fields of kinesiology, psychology and anatomy. However, it is her practical life experience that truly defines her technique. She trained with shamans in West Africa who passed down to her the amazing healing techniques she incorporates in her style of holistic floor massage. Federica combines this knowledge with deep intuition and pure compassion to give you an unforgettable massage. Federica is also a certified Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist.
In Federica's words, "as a therapist, I let go of any intention to try to 'fix' the patient receiving this treatment. Instead, I witness the natural process of self-healing unfold. We never look at what is wrong. Instead, we give power to the natural state of health. To allow the work to happen, I cultivate a meditative, silent state of presence. It is very special to be free from expectation and just let my heart guide the journey. Together with my patient, we are spectators of the gentle miracle of life. We walk with the unknown. To me, Craniosacral Therapy is an art of compassion. To my patient it is an empowering experience. It is a deep, restful experience for the patient's entire system."
"I have allowed myself to be pampered by this season’s resident body-worker Federica, whose shamanistic massage technique was handed down to her in Africa. Her technique incorporates a choreography of massage. It is a fluid performance, where she draws on her experience as a professional dancer as well as the physical study of the body. You are asked to be completely passive and only to breathe in a relaxed manner, as she stretches, rotates and massages your limbs. It is an intoxicating experience and after my treatment I float out of the room to fall into my bed and sleep deeply for an hour."
Sandra Ramacher, writer and journalist, Australia
"Dear Federica, you are so great. It may sound strange to say this but that time with you was one of the best experiences I have had in a long time. You have magic hands and, this sounds weird, but your massage felt like somebody actually cared about my feelings. It has been a long time for me to have that feeling. Thank you. I have been raving about you to everybody. My left arm is now completely free from pain and I can actually lift things above my head again - after 6 months of strained muscles. My neck is free and I am trying to breathe."
Fil, film maker in Sydney
"The best masseuse in town! A perfect blend of various techniques which result in you feeling absolutely fabulous at the end of the session - a warm and generous practice."
Carine Smith, lawyer in London
"I try and balance the pace of my own life, as a working mother with two small children. Federica's wonderful healing massage was a moment of inspiration – I found peace and calm for the two hours I spent with her. A wonderful treat to give to yourself!"
Estelle, business in London
"Federica’s massage reveals a strong and intense release of body-energy and made my mind free to float."
Enver Loke, life coach in Amsterdam
"Fede became part of my holistic approach to my wellness in 2010. She massaged me with a touch that healed, words that soothed, encouraged body pressures that shifted and unblocked and body movements that encouraged. Her beauty and serenity, skills in massage, movement and dance as well as her ability to listen and connect with people ensure her as a true healer. With gratitiude I look forward to our next connection."
Janette, gardener in Australia
"Federica, she is the most naturally gifted healer I have met."
Nevek, osteopathic doctor in Australia
"I’m an engineer! I really find it impossible to find appropriate words to describe or do justice to the therapeutic benefits your massages had on me. I can honestly say these massages were an experience like none other I have had before or since. They took me to another place and provided me with enormous relief from my physical and emotional pain. Above all, you introduced me to a new path and provided me insights to address my health problems that no doctors or psychologists had been able to do."
Graham, engineer in Australia
"Having been trained in massage myself and experiencing many forms, I admit to being a fussy client. I was totally amazed by this teqnique and it was nothing like I have experienced before. I felt like a baby in Federica's arms as she moved my body with such confidence and knowing. I found myself relaxing deeper than I have in a long time. Her awareness and compassion brought me to tears. I left floating."
Norma Strang, director of Bikram Yoga Byron Bay, Australia