The Transformative Power of Icelandic Rope Yoga
by Christine Lynn Harvey

Magma Bed and Breakfast and Magma Studio, in the Myvatn area of Northern Iceland, is a place where you can have a total holistic health experience. Here you can unwind, relax, detox, balance your creative and spiritual energies all within the spectacular Myvatn area as your scenic backdrop. Here, you will find a holistic health center that appeals to all aspects of the body, mind and spirit. Magma offers classes in hatha yoga and Rope Yoga, a unique form of yoga developed by an Icelander by the name of Gudni Gunnarson, that also includes life coaching support. Life coaching involves getting rid of negative, disempowering thoughts so that you can reach your goals and become a more balanced person in all areas of your life. Massage, aromatherapy, healthy meals, nature walks, art therapy and other holistic packages are offered as well.

Magma's director is Àsta Price, who grew up in the breathtaking nature of Kwazulu-Natal province near the Drakensberg mountain range in South Africa. "The scenery of Myvatn is very similar to where I was born and raised," she says. Àsta's grandmother was Icelandic and her mother is Icelandic. Àsta came to visit her grandmother after her sister came to Iceland to work. She met her future husband while camping in the Myvatn area 15 years ago and has been living in the Myvatn area since 2002.

She is a certified Rope Yoga instructor, certified massage therapist in the Brandon Raynor technique, an aromatherapist and is a member of the (International Natural Therapy Association). The Brandon Raynor Technique incorporates the meridian lines of the body to help break up energetic blockages and move chi instead of just massaging groups of muscles. This technique also uses other disciplines from around the world including reflexology, Indian Head Massage, Shiatsu and Hawaiian lomilomi massage. Àsta's peers recognize her as "an intuitive masseuse that has learned the art from within." The Rope Yoga classes she teaches are truly transformative.

"Rope Yoga is an abdominal conditioning program that integrates mind, breath and mobility training into easy-to-practice muscle-building and fat burning exercises. Rope Yoga's intention is to create an abdomen that supports the alignment of the physical body. To be aligned means to be balanced. When the body is aligned, the least amount of energy is used as we journey through life. As we develop a strong center through strengthening the abdominal muscles, we also emphasize the practice of awareness and consciousness. When the abdominal muscles are strong and balanced, it relieves the back muscles from carrying the spine. It also increases one's ability to stop holding back emotions and decreases tension and fatigue."

Rope Yoga takes about 1 1/2 hours and involves using ropes attached to cables that provide resistance. Laying on a mat, you place your hands and feet into stirrups and do a series of exercises that target the core muscles. The exercises are ergonomically correct so that you are always working your abs and core muscles. You practice ujjayi breathing which is a form of deep, yogic breathing that energizes and purifies the body.

Rope Yoga is especially effective for anyone trying to lose weight in the problem areas of the stomach, hips and thighs. Rope Yoga is good for toning up after giving birth, strengthening the body's core and back muscles, relieving low back pain, improving digestive problems, speeding up metabolism, reducing edema, preventing injury, increasing vital energy and improving elimination. Àsta has even helped a woman with multiple sclerosis build muscle strength in her hips, lower back, legs and get an even greater range of motion from those parts of her body.

Rope Yoga not only works the body, but also allows you to release pent-up tensions and stagnate energy in the body that can lead to a variety of diseases. It helps balance your vital energies and open you up to being truly alive in the present moment. "Once you try Rope Yoga, you become the creator of your own destiny in a truly empowered way!" says one student. It's a transformative practice that promises to help you release negativity, fear, apprehension and permits you to live in a more authentic and healthy way. Students who sign up for a lesson package receive the Rope Yoga Philosophy Manual which includes information on empowering your life. Below are some quotes excerpted from the manual written by Rope Yoga's founder, Icelander Gudni Gunnarson:

"In life, we may come upon something so impressive that it profoundly affects us. We find our passion, our mission and the elements that bring it all together. When I created the Rope Yoga system some twenty years ago, I knew instantly that it was my vehicle for self expression but didn't realize to what extent it would profoundly change my clients at the core level."

"Rope Yoga is an abdominal conditioning program that integrates mind, breath and mobility training into powerful and easy-to-practice muscle-building and fat burning exercises. Rope Yoga's intention is to create and abdomen that supports the alignment of the physical body. To be aligned means to be balanced. When the body is aligned, the least amount of energy is used as we journey through life. As we develop a strong center through strengthening the abdominal muscles, we also emphasize the practice of awareness and consciousness. When the abdominal muscles are strong and balanced, it relieves the back muscles from carrying the spine. It also increases one's ability to stop holding back emotionality and decreases tension and fatigue."

"The improvement of the body became a starting point for deeper work. It became a powerful tool of not only transforming the body but the mind and spirit as well. The exercises became secondary to the philosophy that began to develop with hundreds of clients. It became clear that the majority of people I was interacting with were not truly enjoying their lives - their ability to be fully alive and present in the moment was limited. As a result, they were lacking true self-enjoyment and the ability to be present to themselves. "

"When you begin to understand that you are the creator and become aware you are the sole person responsible for all that you attract in your life, you then begin to embark on a powerful journey. Everything in life is conceived from thought. It must be an idea or thought before anything can materialize. You realize that what you think about is what expands, negative or positive, and when you think negatively about yourself or your environment, that is what you encounter. And when you chose to be fully alive and operate out of prosperity, that is what you encounter as well."

"Health means to live your life with the least resistance to who and how you are in the present moment. In the practice of Rope Yoga, you work with external resistance (gravity) in order to "work out" internal resistances. It is a personal training program based on mobility and breathing exercises as well as strength training, so individuals can observe their own existence from a new vantage point and redesign it according to their desires."

"The negativity in your life is directly proportional to the amount of judgment, rejection, and resistance you experience. Rope Yoga enables you to control and counter negativity with increased perspective and possibility. You learn not to judge your experiences but rather accept their guidance."

Àsta Price offers a variety of specialized packages including Destress and Detoxification Weekends where someone looking for an Icelandic healing experience can exercise, walk in nature and have their stress massaged away. She also offers customized healing aromatherapy treatments to help energize destress, relax and heal your body, mind and spirit using water-based carrier oils and tui balm made from honey beeswax from New Zealand. Àsta offers a holistic experience that is simple and down-to-earth. The Icelandic weather also provides an opportunity to test one's inner spirit and be more flexible in life.

Magma Studio and Bed and Breakfast in Reykjahlid offers: Rope Yoga Classes (1 1/2 hours) and Hatha Yoga Classes (1 hour) in both Myvatn and Húsavík twice weekly or according to your individual and group needs; Private and Group Classes (12 beginner students to 20 advanced students in the Magma Studio in Reykjahlid); Art Therapy Weekends;* Destress Weekends;* Detoxification Packages;* Spa Weekends;* Spiritual Retreats;* Aromatherapy treatments and customized oil blends for your needs; Brandon Raynor Technique Massage; Aromatherapy Massage; Walking Meditations in Nature; Art Therapy in Nature; Healthy Spa Food for detoxing and purifying; Bed and Breakfast accommodating 17 people at a time (June-August); Use of gymnasium and pool; Close proximity to healing waters and saunas of Jardbödin vid Myvatn (Health Spa at Myvatn); *Special weekend packages are for no more than 8 people per booking and include massage, yoga, healthy meals, and meditation all in a spectacular natural setting!

For more information, please contact: Àsta Price, Director, Magma Studios and Magma Bed and Breakfast, Birkihraun 11, Reykjahlid, 011 354-464-3730/898-9964; email: asta@bjarg.co.uk

For more info about the Myvatn area: www.snowmagic.nu and www.myvatn.is

Read more stories about Iceland here:

Mystical Iceland

Adventures in Iceland

Asta's Rope Yoga Class in Husavik, Northern Iceland
Asta Price, Rope Yoga instructor and director of Magma Studios near Myvatn, in Northern Iceland
Lake Myvatn
The interesting formations at Dimmuborgir near Myvatn
Blafjall in background with Myvatn in front
Myvatn Marathon
Godafoss, near Myvatn in the Thingeyjarsysla region of Northern Iceland
Asta's Reykjahlid studio
Jardbodin vid Myvatn (Health Spa at Myvatn)