My Experience in Brad's Class
Brad Hay gave a great class in the tradition of mostly classical yoga on 4.16.14. He taught a form of Rod Stryker’s parayoga, which employs the usual yoga postures but holds them longer -- allowing the breath to remain deep and centered at all times. This, as much as the poses chosen, was responsible for the effectiveness of the class. As a presence, Brad was intense, focused, and goal-oriented to the point of humorlessness — a very high Pitta-dominant demeanor.
Purpose / Theme / Results
The stated purpose of the class was first to increase the "Digestive Fire" and secondarily to increase Prana in the body. Class began with breath awareness, then Kapalabhati. Poses gradually became more strenuous, but were held long enough — often 20-45 seconds — to keep the breath deep and calm. As the poses were chosen to increase the digestive fire, the focus was on compressing and twisting the abdominal region in particular, along with the usual “core” workout moves. Though the focus was on abdominals, care was taken to introduce variations that incorporated side bends, spinal extensions, and a little backbending to balance out the session. Though the poses were quite strengthening in nature, particularly for the thighs, there was no sweating. The asana and breathwork were perfectly in line with the goals of the class.
The Instructor’s Presence That Day: High Pitta
Brad is an extremely fit, well-formed male capable of performing asana in what appears to be near-perfect form. He is quite intense and precise in his instruction — all normal behavior for high Pitta constitutions, but likely to be a bit off-putting for Kapha-dominant individuals. Brad has a fairly strong Australian accent, spoke very quickly, and used many Sanskrit terms, including Vedic chants and mantras, but did not explain their meaning or their importance, other than Jhataragni = Digestive Fire. I personally understood what he was talking about because I have also studied with Rod Stryker and have learned the same concepts, but I’m sure a lot of this was lost on any participants who did not have the same exposure. Still, there is only so much you can do in a hour-long class, and Brad made himself available afterwards for any quesions, but you'd need to be an intermediate or advanced practitioner to fully appreciate everything that is going on in this class.
Compatible with 3Gems Principles?
Absolutely! In fact 3Gems practices are designed for beginning to intermediate students to get them to the point of strength, mobility, concentration, and breath control where they can take advantage of this sort of masterful class.