WHAT IS CENTERED YOGA?
A BRIDGE BETWEEN THE ANCIENT WORLD OF YOGA AND THE FUTURE
Born as an interpretation of the Iyengar method, following Holleman’s personal relationship with her great and only teacher B.K.S. Iyengar, Centered Yoga is a method that has been developed by over 60 years of study, practice, and teaching in the field of yoga.
All of Dona’s spiritual and “mental” training has been channelled into the Centered Yoga. Baptized in to the theosophical religion, from adolescence on, she encountered and followed the teachings of Krishnamurti and studied the shamanic texts of Castaneda, from which she drew her philosophy of life and teaching. Moreover, the Centered method is enriched, within its theoretic structure, described in the Eight Vital Principles of the Practice, by the work on breathing resulting from the friendship with Vanda Scaravelli. Dona has provided a female interpretation to the Iyengar method and, after having read the book The Thinking Body by Mabel Todd, she has positioned at the core of the method the respect and care for the body according to the natural laws that govern it. The human being in its entirety as a marvellous instrument of balance lies at the centre of this approach.
Centered Yoga is based on the Eight Vital Principles of the practice:
1 The meditative state of the mind or the idleness of the mind.
2 The relaxation or the inactive state of the body.
3 The intent or the inactivity of the visualisation.
4 The rootedness or the use of the force of gravity.
5 The centering or awareness of the hara.
6 The alignment
7 The breathing
8 The elongation
In the 60’s Dona meets Krishnamurti, with whom she enters into long conversations in Gstaad, Switzerland, and from his teachings she develops the concept of the meditative mind and total attention, or the non-action of the mind, in other words entrusting oneself to the ancient brain to perform the asana, as opposed to the modern brain where thought resides. Whereas in the sutra of Patanjali (Dhyana) this concept is the culmination of practice, for Dona Holleman it’s the fundamental starting point.
Thanks to Krishnamurti, Dona makes the acquaintance of B.K.S. Iyengar and in 1964 and then in 1969 she travels to India to receive directly his precious teachings, one on one, teacher to student. She learns from Iyengar the traditional discipline and the physical techniques of hatha yoga from which she will draw the principles of alignment and elongation.
She introduces Iyengar yoga to Europe for the first time and from 1964 to 1969 she sets up the B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga Work Group in the Netherlands and begins to train teachers. She works with Victor Van Kooten, Angela Farmer, John Schumacher, Patricia Walden, Maxine Tobias, Mary Stewart, Gabriela Giubilaro, Emilia Pagani and many others. In the 1980’s she distances herself from the Iyengar international community, but she continues practicing and pursues in her studies the pillars of the teachings received from her great mentor, inviting all her pupils to follow the original and pure tradition of the method.
The third vital principle, intent, is inspired by Castaneda and the ancient shamanic wisdom of Don Juan. Intent is the Force that moves the Universe and is channelled to perform the asana by visualising the process of what must occur.