Reprinted from tellurideinside.com
by Susan Viebrock
Like a number of his colleagues in town this weekend for the 2nd annual Telluride Yoga Festival, Tias Little could be described as a rock star in the Yoga world. He certainly has legions of devoted students and followers – however, message tank tops and loud music, increasingly popular in yoga studios across the country, are not his stock in trade.
Tias Little guides his students elegantly and efficiently according to the principle of vinyasa krama, taking the right steps in the right order to cultivate a mind-body connection through asana, pranayama, meditation, sensory sensitivity,concentration practices, and the study of sacred texts. The payoff: self-awareness, health and serenity.
Tias Little is everywhere you want to be at the Telluride Yoga Festival. The six classes he is teaching over the weekend are spinoffs of Prajna Yoga, his holistic approach to practicing and studying that incorporates anatomy,Yoga and Buddhist meditation, Iyengar and Ashtanga principles of structure, alignment and movement, diet and the language of Yoga, Sanskrit.
Lessons from Tias Little’s classes include ways to open and release strain in the throat chakra, a place that holds physical, emotional and psychic residue; free the side body through side bends and twists; fold inward to release the back body – spine, kidneys and lungs– to reduce fatigue and prepare the mind for meditation; approach meditation, including a meditation through movement based on Zen meditation techniques; cultivate courage and strength as an antidote to the way today’s headlines are reflected in daily life, a practice of no fear yoga known as “abhaya.”
The Sanskrit word “prajna” (from”pra” or before and the root “jna,” to know) can be variously translated as “wisdom,” “insight” ” profound understanding,” “discernment,” and “know-how.” In the Buddhist tradition, prajna connotes true or transcendental wisdom, one of the highest attainments of practice. In contrast to mere brain-mind ratiocination, prajna is a knowing that permeates the cells of our bodies.
Tias was hardwired to know all that he knows profoundly. His mother Susan Little taught Iyengar and, in 1984, she began instructing Tias in this therapeutic lineage.
In 1989,Tias took his first trip to India, living in Mysore for six months to learn the first two series of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga at the feet of the master, K. Pattabhi Jois.
After practicing Ashtanga Yoga for 10 years, Tias went on to immerse himself in the study of the healing arts, including massage, cranial-sacral therapy and bodywork.
In 1998, Tias earned an MA in Eastern Philosophy from St. John’s College. His dharma training was further informed by teachings from the Zen and Vipassana communities.
Tias Little is currently a student of Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s in the Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.Click here to listen to the conversation (audio)