Finding Your Life Force with Shadow Yoga | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Finding Your Life Force with Shadow Yoga

Continuum: A School of Shadow Yoga offers Central Oregon a pathway to unite physical and spiritual health

Taking the time to feel centered, peel back the layers of the true self and focusing on breath can be hard in an age of over-stimulating media and fast-paced life. Shadow yoga attempts to offer individuals a system of unlocking the strength to look within.

As an intermediate yogi, I thought I had tried every type of yoga—hot, restorative, Vinyasa, Buti, Kundalini, Yin and more—until I heard about Shadow Yoga. After a quick scroll through the website, I had to find out what made it different from the rest and visit Continuum: A School for Shadow Yoga.

click to enlarge Finding Your Life Force with Shadow Yoga
Courtesy Cyr Photographic
Angie Norwood in her studio.

Angie Norwood opened Continuum on Century Drive in the fall of 2022, bringing the practice to Central Oregon. Norwood has been teaching yoga for 20 years. Previously, she worked as a drug and abuse outpatient treatment counselor, so guidance has long been at the core of her work.

After many busy years of teaching at fitness clubs, schools, gyms and studios, Norwood decided to dive into a therapeutic approach to yoga. Feeling called to Shadow Yoga, Norwood went through hours of training to begin her own teaching at Continuum.

Shadow Yoga is a progressive curriculum and serves as a system. There is a gentle and intentional progression of movements that teach how to build a strong foundation, tap into your internal energy and gain an understanding for the preludes.

"Students report increased stamina and strength, suppleness in breath, awareness of internal mechanics and influence of the moon, reduce grasping, internal acceptance and finding quiet within oneself," Continuum's website describes. "This practice touches something deep within and draws a universal wisdom forth."

The first prelude is the Balakrama, which means "stepping into strength."

"It works the feet to release deeply held tension and corrects the actions of the lower body," the website describes. Continuum's 12-week course guides yogis through the first prelude, building piece by piece.

I attended the intro course to the 12-week series. As I rolled out my mat, I was ready to dive deep into Shadow Yoga. Norwood started the class with a lesson on the basics, making sure yogis knew how to make the most of their practice. We were there to peel back the layers to uncover our life force, the force that serves as our vitality and strength.

"We use the body to get to the mind and to the experience of life force," Norwood said. "The ultimate goal of yoga is not about strength, flexibility, relaxation or stress relief. The ultimate goal of yoga is to discern between what is real and everything else."

After the short lesson, we dove into the first pieces of the Balakrama, and the day after, I was sore. Though it is mainly a practice of the mind, the movements target muscles from your feet to your hips in this prelude. Slowly transitioning between poses and focusing on the breath, I got into the zone.

"All of the squatting and lunging and the bending of the joints that is really designed to help free the obstructions in the physical," Norwood said.

After savasana, I felt lighter and more in tune with my surroundings. It had been so long since I took the time to slow down and be present. This practice is meant for those wanting to go beyond the physical and get in tune with mindfulness.

Shadow Yoga allows yogis to refine the practice as they move through the series. Each class builds upon the other. At the end of the course, individuals will understand the Balakrama and be able to move forward to the next prelude. There is always something new to learn and the layers are endless, according to Norwood.

Continuum: A School of Shadow Yoga
155 SW Century Dr. Suite 112, Bend

About The Author

Allie Noland

Allie graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in journalism and public relations. She loves writing articles that have anything to do with arts and entertainment. When she’s not writing, you can find her skiing, playing volleyball, backpacking, gardening and checking out local restaurants.
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