Prem’s workshop in Tunbridge Wells

Yesterday I attended Anthony “Prem” Carlisi’s workshop: Living Principles of Ashtanga Yoga, Ayurveda and Tantra in Tunbridge wells.

There must have been about 35 people attending, most of whom were Scott’s students. Scott was hosting the event and it sounds like he was a great host to Prem and Heather. I’ll link to Scott as soon as I get details of his blog.

Prem has a commanding presence, tall, tanned with intense eyes and a rather huge beard. I was struck by the ease and authority with which he spoke and his knowledge, energy and humour were great. I’d say the workshop was a taster for Prem’s book The only way out is in.

The workshop started off with a talk by Prem about the concepts from the book. I’m not going to go into detail here as I don’t really know enough about this stuff to be able to do it any justice. There were four concepts outlined:

  1. Inside-out
  2. Ground up
  3. Gross to subtle
  4. Everything moves in a vortex

These 4 headings present a clear distillation of ideas that can be applied to life/practice. Prem explained and gave examples of each which helped to contextualise the concepts. I’ve not read the book yet but Prem’s talk interested me enough to buy a copy, so I’ll be doing a book review on it when I’m done.

After a couple of hours of listening I’m sure we were all itching to get onto the mat, well after going to the toilet that is. The practice consisted of the sun salutations and the standing sequence before the primary series. Here are a couple of gems I got from the practice:

  • While in Samasthitihi Heather gave me a little adjustment that changed the angle of my hips – wow!
  • Ground up – Ensuring a stable base for the asana is established before moving the upper body into position. This gave a reassuring quality to the asana
  • Prem’s vortex – circular motion (rather than moving in straight lines) had a great impact in exploring Trikonasana
  • Raising up onto the ball of the back foot when going into parivrtta Parsvakonasana really helped me to get deeper into the asana

After lunch we got down to an introduction to Ayurveda. Prem presented practical ways of using Ayurveda to change your life and practice. Again this is not something I know much about and is a rather vast topic, although Prem emphasized a practical approach. There was a brief wrap up on Tantra and a short meditation.

For me the workshop broadened my horizons generally but due to time constraints there wasn’t time to explore any of the topics in depth, but it did serve as a great introduction. Prem clearly has amassed a huge amount of knowledge over the last 30 years or so and is keen to share his insights.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day out and getting a chance to meet more of the Ashtanga community. Hopefully Prem and Heather will be back soon. I’m grateful to have had the experience to have met them both. Namaste.


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