Zhander, one of a few names that he goes by, was first introduced to Yoga and the bandhas by his father, at the age of six when living in his native Hungary. The family later moved to Australia. From this new home base Zhander continued his lifetime investigation of yogic traditions – Iyengar being a considerable influence – as well as dance, Japanese sword fighting and the natural order of the world.
Shadow Yoga consists of three preludes, all designed to prepare the body for asana: Balakrama or Stepping into Strength, a bone strengthening form which engages the center (navel region), hands, feet and breath, while introducing uddiyana bandha; Chaya Yoddha Sancalanam or Churning of the Shadow Warrior, a warrior form that circulates the pranic winds (vayus) which flow through the body’s energetic channels (nadis); and Karttikeya Mandala or Garland of Light, an advanced warrior form that consists of stances and waist work which move the pranic force even deeper, eventually dissolving obstructions and allowing prana to flow freely.
A distillation of his studies yielded Shadow Yoga, a Hatha Yoga discipline that encompasses the principles of asana (posture), martial arts and dance, as well as the fundamentals of Ayurveda and Marmasthana, the Indian system of the 108 vital points of the body. Water, earth, wind, fire and ether – the five basic elements – as well as the planets and signs of the Zodiac and their influence on the human system, also factor significantly into the design and execution of the practice.
As for where the actual name originated, Zhander writes, “According to one of the forefathers of Hatha Yoga, Allama Prabudeva, ‘The appearance of this body is nothing but layers of frozen shadows.’ By investigating the shadow and its source we come to light. By coming to understand them we can dissolve them.”
Excerpt From LA Yoga Magazine Article, Meeting The Man Behind The Shadow, by Amy Wong