Yogis We Love: Navakarna Vinyasa with Kamala Yoga

ro/an yoga illustration navakarna vinyasa with kamala yoga

At ro/an, we’re curious about different types of yoga. This month, we decided to try Navakarana Vinyāsa.

What is Navakarana Vinyāsa? It’s a Sanskrit term that can be translated as “composition (vinyasa) of nine (nava) units of movement (karana)”. Developed by Dario Calvaruso it’s a very systematic method of yoga. Each sequence includes the nine movements which are neutral, posterior stretch, anterior stretch, side stretch, twisted stretch, inversion, balancing on the limbs, strengthening and recovering.

For my first Navakarana Vinyāsa class, I found Kamala Yoga by Shirley Ferigutti at Anhao Studio in Central Hong Kong, and I’ve been coming back ever since. Guided by soothing meditative sounds and breath counts, the class kept me concentrated in aligning the breath with my movement.

Shirley’s prompts and adjustments were gentle and ensured that we were doing it safely and correctly. The overall result? I was sweaty, stretched, and in a better mood than when I arrived! Each Sunday, Shirley plans for different variations- this week being detox, focusing on twists to aid digestion. Another week she might plan for hip openings or backbends, with variations offered for different levels of practitioners. We got to catch up with Shirley to tell us more about her practice.

How did you fall in love with Navakarana Vinyāsa and why did you choose this type of yoga to specialize in?

I started my yoga practice in 2009 in NYC. At the start, I was like a bunny, hopping around different studios & teachers. But when I came back to Hong Kong, I had my first Navakarana Vinyāsa class with Dario Cavalruso at Pure Yoga I was hooked. The moment I stepped into the studio, I was intimidated. The space felt strangely holy, there was a mystic force lingering in the air, and there was temple-like music in the background. I had never experienced this feeling in a class before.  After the class my body felt great, my mind felt great, my soul felt great, l felt I had loaded myself with light.

I chose to specialize in Navakarana Vinyāsa because it’s a physically challenging, beautiful method. To me, Navakarana Vinyāsa combines science and art. It is systematical yet expressive. Each time I practice, I am able to work out my whole body harmoniously, staying connected to my breath and its rhythm

Where did you study? 

My 324 hrs Navakaraṇa Vinyāsa teachers training was done in Pure Yoga Hong Kong & Pure Yoga Shanghai with my beloved teacher, Dario Calvaruso.

How long have you been teaching?

I started teaching since October 2018

What do you love about teaching? 

Yoga has taken me closer to my authentic, true self. I hope to pass that along, by inspiring and guiding my students to experience the transformative power of yoga.  To me, teaching is a pure sharing of love, and it is my humble honour to offer that pure, powerful love to my students.

Who is a fellow teacher you admire? 

There are a lot of teachers I admire who are both real, humble and have a great heart. But my favorite has to be Beth Narain. You’ll often find me at her “STRETCH AND TONE” class at Pure. Beth has been teaching Pilates for over 50 years, 50!!!

She inspires me so much, and this quote she shared on self-care for the body really inspired me:

“No matter how our body may look, whether it pleases us or not we get only one, which has to last a lifetime. The quality of that lifetime will parallel the quality of our body. So take care and be kind to it” -Beth Narain

Who is your favourite yoga buddy? 

Everyone who does yoga with me

What is your favourite pose?

Any variation of the pigeon pose. It’s a delicious and effective hip opening pose.

Morning yoga or evening yoga? 

Morning. I start my day with a morning practice.

Where is your fave coffee place in Hong Kong? 

Mana. The Koko is my favourite - vegan flat white with cacao butter, creamy and yummy. They also do a very original Tecchino - “caffeine-free” coffee made with herbal blend, this is my afternoon COFFEE :)

Fave place to hang out?

When the weather is good, I love to hang out with friends at the beach, particularly Repulse Bay.

Fave hike in Hong Kong?

The hike from Old Peak road all the way up to Victoria Peak, followed by the peak trail. I often do this hike as it is very easy to access and it's a quick fix to get back to nature

What is your secret skill? 

That’s a secret 😉. Though I love to style people

Fave snack?

It changes, but currently it is guacamole with blue corn chips.

Fave place for yum cha?

Tim Ho Wan, good value good dim sum :)

Lastly- where, for you, is the best place to find peace in Hong Kong?

I find my peace and tranquillity through meditation. The Samadhi Centre on Tai Ping Shan Street is the perfect place for a light-filled meditation to align yourself and your soul.

You can find Shirley on Instagram at @thekamala.yoga or on Sunday mornings at Anhao Wellness. You can book one of her classes here

Have you tried Navakarna Yoga? Let us know in the comments!

Interested in learning more about HK Yogis? Check out this post about HER Yoga. It is the first in Hong Kong to offer yoga, tailored for women that is geared towards fertility and healthy hormones.