Balancing act: Yoga teacher Todd Crews used to suffer from back pain, but he says having started yoga he now “has no pain at all in his body.”
Balancing act: Yoga teacher Todd Crews used to suffer from back pain, but he says having started yoga he now “has no pain at all in his body.”
"Heart-opening" may sound like some form of serious surgery, but for yoga-enthusiast Todd Crews it is one of the metaphorical concepts he hopes locals will discover at an upcoming yoga workshop.

Mr. Crews has invited his former yoga teacher from Miami to hold an anusara yoga workshop at Newstead over the weekend of April 23 to 25 called Align With the Divine.  

"Anusara is about building strength as well as flexibility," Mr. Crews explained. "It's the most popular and fastest growing form of yoga and encourages heart opening.

"It is built on the five universal principles of alignment - opening to grace, muscular energy, inner spiral, outer spiral and organic energy.

Looking for the good

"The idea is based on looking for the good in everything.

"The whole intention of doing it is to help you enjoy yourself and live life a little more freely."

Mr. Crews is an American married to a Bermudian who has been living here for seven years.

"When I first arrived in Bermuda I was a tax accountant at KPMG," he said. "I was having a lot of back pain from sitting at my desk, which is why I started yoga.

"Now, after seven years, I don't have any pain in my body at all."

Mr. Crews began teaching yoga in Bermuda five years ago and in 2009 started his own practice called Mindful Movement.

During the last couple of years he has been focusing on the study of anusara yoga.

The poses in anusara yoga are considered to be "heart-oriented" and are expressed from the "inside-out."

So, rather than trying to control the body and mind from the outside, the poses originate from a deep feeling inside.

Anusara yoga was created by John Friend in 1997.

Mr. Crews has attended several anusara workshops led by Mr. Friend and completed an anusara immersion workshop over the summer months of 2009 in Miami with instructor Peter Barber.

Mr. Barber, a certified anusara yoga teacher, is a retired attorney and has been teaching yoga full time since 1996.

He has trained extensively with many of the best-known teachers in the United States and has been a student of John Friend and anusara since 2000. 

Losing weight

His yoga class was named "Best in Miami" by the Miami New Times. 

"You can definitely use anusara for losing weight," Mr. Crews said. "A while ago I was practising every day and I found I lost 10 pounds without trying - and I don't have much weight to lose.

"It's about lengthening and elongating the muscles."

He added: "The biggest misconception about yoga is that it is only for women and that it's very gentle. It's actually very strength-building."

The workshop is aimed at those in all levels of yoga.

Participants can sign up for the whole workshop or just for single lessons.

However, there is a discount if you sign up for the entire workshop.

If you pay before April 6 the cost is $240, compared to $280 afterward April 6.

Single sessions are $80 per person and Newstead is offering rooms for $151 per night and a 10 per cent discount on spa treatments.

Participants should bring a mat, block, strap and a stiff blanket.

To register email or go to his website at:
Align With the Divine: an Anusara Workshop

- Friday, April 23, 6pm to 8pm

Open to Grace:

In this spiritually uplifting session, you'll explore the elegant anusara system of yoga and practice a
variety of fun asanas. End with a delicious deep relaxation.

- Saturday, April 24, 9:30am to 11:30am

Backbend into Bliss:

Learn the biomechanics and gradual, step-by-step sequencing that make back bending a smooth, joyful celebration of the heart.

- Saturday, April 24, 2pm to 4pm

Hip Openers and Forward Bends:

Release deep-seated tensions in the hips and legs.

- Sunday, April 25, 9:30am to 11:30am

Hand Balances and Backbends:

Learn the skills necessary to experience greater freedom, power, and lightness in your life on and off the mat.