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Spirit of the Valley
The Magazine of Mountain Wellness

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OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2005 - THE HARVEST & ENVIRONMENT ISSUE

 

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Beyond Yoga

Ryan & Paige Redman Bring Altruistic Agenda Home from India

 

By Kristan Kennedy

 

 

If you’ve ventured into the Dharma Yoga Studio lately, perched high above Hailey’s Main Street, you’ll find a lot more going on than your standard downward facing dog.         

Among street sounds and Karate props, there’s a group of devotees committed to a practice some would admit they’re surprised by, as most who venture here were devotees of Ryan Redman’s old style power flow classes he popularized in the valley a few years—or lifetimes ago.         

But that was before India. And marriage. Before Ayurveda. And a journey that’s taken both Ryan and his bride Paige on a yoga trip that’s circled them, literally, all around the world.

“It’s been far and long and deep,” says Paige about their trip to and back from India. The couple left two years ago and returned in early summer. During their 18 month sojourn to Karanatka, a southern state of India, the two embarked on Ayurvedic medicine apprenticeships and studied yoga. They also got married. To say it was a life transforming experience isn’t an understatement. But how and where the couple is transferring their new Ayurvedic lifestyle back into the Wood River Valley might have some people raising their eyebrows.

Students at the Redman Dharma Yoga Studio take their new practice seriously. For three weeks running the class showed up at 6:30 a.m. for one hour sessions of beginning “Pranayama.” To those not versed in Sanskrit, Pranayama means life force. Students were asked to lie in corpse pose for one hour periods of time, practicing conscious relaxation and focused breathing. The intent? “To expand consciousness on all levels,” says Ryan.         

During yoga classes, the Redmans have taken the focus off Americanized “exercise” yoga wherein people focus on aerobic “flow” instruction and shined the spotlight on spiritual yoga. Ryan, however, deflects categorizing his style of yoga. Is it Iyengar? Is it Ashtanga?

“I’d like to just call it ‘yoga.’ I don’t want to teach exercise anymore,” says Ryan. “I want to teach yoga.”

That said, students in Dharma Yoga Studio can be seen holding shoulder poses for up to 25 minutes. Crazy inverted headstands for 15 or 20 minutes, with their necks suspending from chairs. “It’s a matter of faith,” says Ryan. On full moon days, it’s all about inversions. On new moon days students reverse their lunar energy and bow to forward bends. The room is a plethora of props. By the end of class, every metal chair within two blocks, plus blankets, bolsters, straps and eye pillows litter the floor. The Redmans have taken the focus off sun salutations and replaced it with anal retentive hip alignment.

At least on the physical plane.

The practice of Yoga, for the Redman’s, is a spiritual one and they’ve aimed to bring it smack into the center of their studio. While Paige slithers around pulling hips into place and tweaking shoulder blades, Ryan effortlessly incorporates soothing verbose lessons drawn from Pantanjali’s ancient Yoga Sutras into class. For the hardcores, mantra chanting starts exactly 15 minutes prior to classes which are held four or five times a week.           

But probably the boldest agenda this enlightening couple possesses is their agenda outside the yoga studio at their clinic called Dharma Marga Vedic Healing. There, Paige and Ryan hold Ayurvedic consultations and treatments using techniques that are thousands of years old but new to the valley.

It’s not an alternative medicine, rather an ancient healing science based on the body healing itself.  (See sidebar) Long term goals for the couple include a retreat and healing center where people can come, stay, learn and embrace their Ayurvedic lifestyle.  

Are people ready for this? 

Neither know but it doesn’t really matter because the practice of yoga for the couple is a personal ride.  

“Our ‘agenda’ if you will, is to utilize our practice of Yoga—to bring us to a higher state of consciousness,” says Ryan.    

And if we’re lucky, some of us get to go along for the ride.

For more information on the Redman Ayurvedic philosophy and yoga practice see www.healingdharma.com

           

Embarking on the Ayurvedic Journey-a personal account

By Kristan Kennedy

 

I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t drawn to seeking a full-on Ayurvedic consult because the fabulous couple “looked” incredible upon their return to Hailey this spring. Paige was trimmed and light and radiant. Ryan lithe, profound and stunning. I’m not even an aura reader but I could see halos of light around the two.

But I stalled on the Ayurvedic consult, while faithfully going to class. I knew enough, or thought I knew enough, about Ayurvedic living to know I’d be counseled to cast meat, caffeine and chocolate out of my life forever, leaving me with nothing fun to do in my life, except extended shoulder stands which I was becoming increasingly addicted to.

But I was wrong.

Sort of.

The thrust of the Ayurvedic Consultation is to determine what kind of body/energy type one is.  By checking a myriad of pulse points and evaluating pulse, tongue, medical history and lifestyle, they came up with a recipe for my ultimate wellness. There are three major categories of types in Ayurveda: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. I’m whacked in my Kapha energy and my Vata energy and the prescription for cure is testing my traditional waters. 

They told me to eat more fat. More oils. More food. Lots more food. Exercise less. They turned my eating world upside down. Instead of small breakfast and meager lunches, I was instructed to go big. I can eat meat. Lots of vegetables. I received a seasonal grocery list that’s in sync with the changing weather. It includes lots of cooked vegetables. I’ve lost most cold foods from my regime.

But there is one catch. I had to turn my lifestyle into that of the American farmer. Big breakfast. Huge lunch. No dinner. It’s definitely not the American way.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this and how much of these suggestions will become part of my life but I’ve committed to a month of it to see where it goes. The first five days were psychological torture and I caved to dark chocolate three of those nights. Last night however, I was clean.

We’ll see where it takes me, rather like the Redman’s new yoga classes. I’m committed to willingness and change it seems, even if it means changing everything around me.

Well, maybe…..

I’m still highly “attached” to my habit of caffeine.