Shadow Yoga

Yoga of the Shadow Man

The name Shadow Yoga is derived from the 6th chapter of the ancient tantrika treatise ‘The Shiva-Svarodaya’ (the birth of the breath of life revealed by the god Shiva). This chapter, entitled ‘Yoga of the Shadow Man’, deals with the intricate manifestations of the shadow and their significance both inside and outside the human organism.

The teaching of the Shadow School is based upon the ancient Hatha Yogic texts, which state that all fixed forms should be designed to develop the practice of freestyle. Freestyle is a necessary step in the cultivation of longevity and enlightenment. The Ashtanga Hrdaya of Vagbhata, a primary ayurvedic text, also contains a chapter on the shadow which deals with diagnostic principles. There is also a story about Allama Prabhudeva, (one of the famous forefathers of Hatha Yoga), in which he describes the human body as nothing but layers of frozen shadows. According to Hatha Yogic anatomy the body is composed of three discrete bodies and five sheaths (coverings or shadows). The practice of Hatha Yoga has evolved with the purpose of dissolving these shadows.

The texts also suggest that the set forms should contain within them the following bodily positions and movements for the proper development of the vital breath. Standing, Pumping, Sitting, Weighing, Lying (face-down, face-up, on sides), Forwards, Sideways (lateral), Backwards, Inversion, Spiral, Turning, Twisting. These twelve kinds of positions and movements have been adapted from the range of human activities including martial arts, dance and crafts of life, and from the plant and animal kingdoms. The appropriate combination of these activities with suitable rhythm and positioning brings about the unfolding of the inner powers hidden in the individual.


Nṛtta Sādhanā

Rhythmic Movement through the application of Karanas

The Nrtta is that Sadhana (way of accomplishment) by which the sadhaka (aspirant) rediscovers the rhythmic life currents hidden within the body by means of unimposed natural positioning and this is termed Karana (cause). The three forms of Nrtta are: Ashta Matrikas (the eight mother palms or eight palms), Lasya (Kali’s creative dance or the Long Form) and Ananda (Samhara) Tandava (Shiva’s dance of dissolution).

It is important to understand the difference between Natya – Nrttya and Nrtta. The first two terms refer to theatrical performance while Nrtta is defined in the Abhinaya Darpana of Nandikesvara as ‘that dance devoid of any type of emotional mood’. This corresponds exactly to the explanation of Abhava yoga given by Mahesvara (Lord Siva) in the eleventh chapter of the Kurma Purana. This states that Abhava Yoga is that yoga in which one contemplates oneself as void and without shadow (manifestation) of anything, thus allowing one to visualize the Self. Here, Abhava refers to a state free from any emotional support, also exemplified in Nrtta as defined by Nandikesvara.

The eleventh chapter of the Kurma Purana includes a detailed explanation of Pashupata Yoga. Nrtta formed a large part of the corrective Sadhana of the Pashupata yogins. This is clearly indicated in the eighth sutra of the first chapter of the Pashupata Sutras. Out of the one hundred and eight karanas mentioned in the Natya Shastra, no more than thirty-six karanas are used for the purpose of self cultivation.

Most of the asanas used in contemporary Hatha Yoga schools are adaptations of the standing and squatting karanas. The important difference is that in the original practice the placement of the legs was achieved through the cultivation of the inherent energy of the legs whereas nowadays the legs are manipulated with the hands to achieve the same external shapes. Five of the karanas are responsible for restoring the body’s natural energetic responsiveness required for this authentic practice.


Shadanga Yoga

Shadanga-yoga (six-limbed yoga)

In the Goraksha Shatakam (his invocation of power in one hundred verses) Goraknath does not refer to Hatha-yoga or Raja-yoga: nor does he mention the terms yama and niyama as these accomplishments are assumed. Instead he sets out the system of practices under the title of Shadanga-yoga (six-limbed yoga).

In the first section on asanas, Goraknath mentions only two: Siddha and Kamala (Padma). This indicates that a practitioner prepared for this stage must already have done a great deal of serious work and is in complete control of the physical organism. Furthermore this implies that mind control is the central objective of the practices to be described under the heading of the six limbs. These six limbs are Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha, Kundalini-Udbodha (awakening or the Shakticalana mudra) and the Shatchakras.

Siddhasana is used for the development of Maha-mudra, Nabho-mudra (Khecari), Uddiyana, Jalandhara and Mulabandha. Baddha-padmasana is used for the development of the refined Pranayamas and for Shakticalani-mudra. Viparita-karani-mudra is used for the implementation of Pratyahara and Pasini-mudra is employed in the internalising of the withdrawn energy and for bringing the respiration to a standstill. This marks the beginning of the various stages of Samadhi.

All these practices are interwoven with different modes and types of pranayama. In its essence therefore, Shadanga-yoga is a process of pranayama. As clarity develops, one grasps that control of the physical organism leads to mental steadiness; this leads in turn to the reversal of the flow of mental activity. Then, through this reversed mental flow, the mind eventually dissolves into the higher self so that the Yogi experiences a state of non-duality on the high spiritual plane. This state is a fulfilment of the Upanishadic ideal of Being.


Courses Offered

Asana-angaharas (asana arrangements)

The word asana (body posture) is derived from the sanskrit root asa-bhuvi meaning to be, to stay, to exist. This suggests that the application of asana is not about ‘becoming’ something but discovering what is already present, not about ‘gaining enlightenment’, but redeeming the sahajawasta (natural state) which is the abode of the human soul. Of the many asanas some are dynamic and some static but all are physical methods utilised in the early stages of restoring this natural state.The term angahara refers to the sequential arrangements of bodily shapes as well as to the arrangement of the limbs within these shapes.

Individual Yogasana courses

In the Individual Yogasana courses the participants are taken to their natural limit based on the sequence of the Asana-angahara they are currently working with in their daily practice. To qualify for Individual yogasana courses participants must have completed an Asana-angahara course with Emma and Sundernath or one of the qualified Shadow Yoga teachers listed on our website and be maintaining a personal practice.

Shadanga Yoga courses

The Shadanga Yoga courses are the first step in establishing the Athakarana or Sukshma Sharira (the subtle inner body), without which fulfillment of the Yogic path is not possible. Padmasana is required for automatic qualification but Swastikasana may be acceptable in some cases. Participants must have learnt the processes of Asana Angahara ONE under a qualified Shadow Yoga teacher. Please bring with you a 27 bead Mala when attending this course.

Weekend workshops

Weekend workshops will consist of general practice formats of Shadow yoga or Nrtta Sadhana. Open to all levels of practitioners with Yoga experience.

Sundernath’s Live Discourse Programme

“These secrets are only imparted to initiates and even then not to all.” The extremity of the present time has forced us to give now at least a theoretical guidance of how to proceed upon the path of the Nath Yogins. The discourses will consist of the hidden instructions within the prayers, the technical keys to Nrtta [pure dance], Asanas, Mudras, Pranayamas and more. It will be the first time I reveal, in accordance with the level of those who participate, the information given to me by my Guru.

Please see here for further information

If you are unable to watch the discourse live, it will remain online after the event.

Supplementary Q&A session
Upon each New Moon, Sundernath will host a live Q&A session for those subscribers registered. It will be free of charge and a link sent to interact. 

Yoga Sadhana Consultations Online

Do you have a question? Ask Emma or Shandor. We recognise a growing need for a consultative service where students can ask questions and get advice on parts of their Sadhana where they are struggling or having difficulties. By implementing this service we feel we can provide some ongoing support to practitioners of Shadow Yoga. 10% discount for teachers.

Please see here for further information

Emma’s Mantra Sadhana course

The internal work for the subtle energy power of kundalini is incomplete without mantra sadhana. Mantra gives the inner shape and changes the resonance of the entire being.
Due to limitations of travel and not being able to be together with our international community, Emma will introduce the mantra sadhana in this online course. For the advanced practitioner.

Please see here for further information

To Register

Please use the form in next section below. Once your registration is approved you will be invoiced by email. Payments can be made via Stripe or Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). 10% discount for teachers applies.


Courses & Registration

International Shadow Yoga Community:

Discourse programme with Sundernath (Shandor Remete)

Sundernath (Shandor Remete)

A monthly discourse (at the time of the Full Moon) where Sundernath (Shandor Remete) will share information imparted to him and give guidance on how to proceed on the path of yoga. Note that these discourses will only be relevant to Shadow Yoga practitioners.

Please see here for further information


1 November, 2pm (AEDT): Check your local time here
30 November, 2pm (AEDT): Check your local time here
30 December, 2pm (AEDT): Check your local time here


Times are subject to change. We will confirm in the week preceeding the Full Moon.
Registrations close 5 days prior.


Yoga Sadhana Consultations

Do you have questions for Emma or Shandor?

Please see here for further information
Cost is $70 USD per consultation.


November 7. Hatha Yoga – the Internalised Tantric Rite. Live lecture (no cost)

This lecture and demonstration will reveal and elucidate the process of this embodied ritual. Although still in use among some of the Nath and Vajrayana Buddhist yogin ascetics, little is known or understood about this essential core practice in modern day yoga. The tools of this practice are the asanas-mudras, pranayamas, and the mantras that interweave them.

This session will be conducted by Sundernath, an initiate of the Goraknath lineage of the Mrigasthal Goraknath temple, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Check the time in your location here

Duration - approx 2 hours

It will be live-streamed via Vimeo here

After the lecture, it will be available online at: shadowyoga.com/tantric-rite

All are welcome to attend this free event.


November 19 – December 17: Introducing Mantra Sadhana. Online course

An five week online course introducing Mantra Sadhana with Emma Balnaves

For suitably-experienced practitioners.

Weekly from 19 November – 17 December at 3pm AEDT.
Check your local time for session 1 here

Final live Q&A 28 January 2021 at 3pm AEDT.
Check your local time here


Australia 2020:

October 31–November 1: Nrtta Sadhana & Mudra. Sydney

Emma Balnaves
The way of capturing the swaying motion of the energy of the cerebral spinal fluid and the withdrawal of this energy from the extremities.
Times: Saturday: 7–9am & 3–5pm
Sunday: 7-9am
Location: Yoga Factory – location here
Course full–waitlist only.


November 13–15: Asana, Mudra & Meditation. Sydney

Sundernath (Shandor) & Emma Balnaves
The appropriate unfolding (of the system) through the application of the suggested tools in their relevant order.
Times: Friday: 6:30pm
Saturday & Sunday: 7–9am & 3–5pm
Location: Yoga Factory – location here
Course full–waitlist only.


October 26–30: Individual Asana. Sydney

Sundernath (Shandor) & Emma Balnaves
Times: Monday-Friday: will begin from 7am with times allocated.
Location: Hatha Yoga Desha - location here
Spaces limited.


November 12: Yoga for Women. Sydney – Online Only

Also open to international students.

Emma Balnaves
It is during the three stages of a woman's life - menstruation, pregnancy and menopause that the practices are adapted. Theoretical and practical information will be given based on asana and mudra.

This workshop will be live-streamed. Check your local timezone here
The lecture will be available online for review for 24hrs after the live-stream.
A link to the event will be emailed to you 24hrs prior.
Note: Part of the funds received for this workshop will be donated to a charitable cause selected by the organiser.


November 27–29: Individual Asana. Sydney

Sundernath (Shandor Remete) & Emma Balnaves
Times: Friday-Sunday: will begin from 7am with times allocated.
Location: Hatha Yoga Desha – location here



Teacher's Discount?

Registration for all courses organised by Shadow Yoga

Early bird discount

A 10% ‘early bird discount’ applies for registrations made at least 3 months prior to the course commencement date and paid in full at the time of registration.

Non-refundable deposit of 25%

A 25% non-refundable deposit can be made upon registering. The balance of Course Fees must be paid six weeks prior to course commencement date. Except in the case of a course becoming full in which case we will immediately request the balance of fees owing. Once we receive your non-refundable deposit, an email will be sent confirming your registration.

Qualified Shadow Yoga teacher discount

A discount of 10% applies for qualified Shadow Yoga teachers listed on the Shadow yoga website and for those qualified through a registered Shadow Yoga teacher. Please note, this discount is not applicable for ‘early-bird discount’ as well.

Course payments

All payments can be made via Stripe or Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) upon receipt of invoice from Shadow Yoga. All prices shown above include GST.

Course Full – Register for wait-list only

In the event that a course becomes full, all those registered for that course are required to pay any outstanding amounts without delay. This allows those on our wait-list time to organise their travel arrangements should space become available.

Cancellation Policy

If cancellation is requested up to 6 weeks prior to the commencement of a course, a Cancellation Fee of 25% of the course fees plus transaction costs (approximately 6%) will be incurred. Payments are non-refundable if the cancellation is received after this date unless a replacement student registers and pays. In this case, a Cancellation Fee of 25% of the course fee (plus transaction charges) will be charged. Note that unfortunately we are not able to transfer these amounts to other courses.



Sundernath (Shandor Remete) and Emma Balnaves

Nrtta Sadhana App

Now available on iTunes.

The Nrtta Sadhana app is a learning aid. Animations of the Ashta Matrika, Lasya, and Ananda Tandava forms are given as well as supplementary information that will support the student’s understanding of the practice. This app is intended to complement direct instruction from one of the teachers qualified to teach this subject listed in the contact section of this site.

NATARAJA – The Lord of Multiple Forms. (Not available due to COVID–19 mailing restrictions)

A Limited edition book available for sale exclusively on shadowyoga.com

*for bulk orders of five books or more please contact: Emma Balnaves for wholesale pricing.

Nataraja – The Lord of Multiple Forms is a rich exposition of the five faces of Shiva through image and iconography. Each face and the cosmic act it represents is explored through a visual narrative, drawing on the practice of the Nrtta Sadhana which embodies it. Each chapter begins with the prayer to the relevant form of the deity, followed by a concise explanation of the nature of each act, the principles that underlie it and their application for those on the Yogic path.

Shadow Yoga App


The Shadow Yoga app is an aid designed to help in learning the Shadow Yoga Preludes. The app contains animations of all three Preludes. Instructions are also included that will support the student’s understanding of the practice. This app is intended to complement direct instruction from one of the teachers qualified to teach this subject listed in the contact section of this site.

Yoga for Women

Shadow Yoga
Yoga For Women
by Emma Balnaves.
8 pages, colour photos.

Free download

Shadow Yoga - Chaya Yoga

By Shandor Remete (Natanaga Zhander.)
108 pages, full colour photos.

We have sold out of our copies. Individual copies can be purchased through Amazon.

Now available for sale through these sites:

… Shadow Yoga by Shandor Remete (Surendranath) provides a gateway to understanding the potential of yoga. The handbook gives a theoretical foundation, in clear and simple language, that is a rediscovery of yoga’s dynamic roots.

Agniyogana photo book

A digital Agniyogana photo book.

This is a compelling visual layout of Emma's travelogue about the places visited and experiences encountered while making the film.

Balakrama Study Sheet

Study Sheet
$4.99 (AUD)

Balakrama (Stepping Into Strength) is the first of the Shadow Yoga preludes. It works the feet to release deeply held tension and corrects the actions of the lower body. While practicing this prelude, keep the feet rooted, and the knees relaxed to promote smooth, unencumbered movement. With regular practice, this prelude brings strength and an intuitive use of the limbs.

Chaya Yoddha Sanchalanam Study Sheet

Chaya Yoddha Sanchalanam
Study Sheet
$4.99 (AUD)

Chaya Yoddha Sanchalanam (Churning of the Shadow Warrior) is the second prelude. Remaining centered in a sequence of warrior stances, the practitioner learns to coordinate movement with breathing and power. It is important to keep the spine relaxed but upright throughout the movements.

Karttikeya Mandala Study Sheet

Karttikeya Mandala
Study Sheet
$4.99 (AUD)

Karttikeya Mandala (The Garland of Light) is the third prelude. It utilises full movement of the limbs in twisting and spiraling movements. The movements contract and expand the body in a rhythmic fashion. As it is a longer, deeper and more rigorous practice, the other preludes should be cultivated first before attempting Karttikeya Mandala

Ashta Matrika Study Sheet

Ashta Matrika
Study Sheet
$4.99 (AUD)

The first form of Nṛtta Sādhanā, Ashta Matrika (the eight mother palms).

Lasya Study Sheet

Study Sheet
$4.99 (AUD)

The second form of Nṛtta Sādhanā, Lasya (Kali's creative dance).

Seasonal Mandala Ebook

$10.00 (AUD)

The Seasonal Mandala is a PDF ebook by Emma Balnaves Designed for use as a tool for practitioners, female and male, to help explain the connections we have to mother nature, and how to use these connections in our daily life. The ebook came about due to demand from students participating in Shadow Yoga courses.

Shadow Yoga Video Area

View the following (previously DVD only):

  • Revised Prelude Forms and Nata Yoga
  • Preludes Forms with Shandor Remete & Emma Balnaves
  • Chaya Vivaranam with Shandor Remete
  • Balakrama with Emma Balnaves
  • Yoking the Shadow

This membership gives you access to the repository of content as stated above.
There is no annual fee though access is limited to the life of this website.
Membership Purchase $25 AUD

The Nṛtta Sādhanā & Shadow Yoga network

Sundernath (Shandor Remete) is the founder of Shadow Yoga and Nṛtta Sādhanā. He is also an initiate of the Goraksha Sampradaya of the Kanpatha Yogis. 
Portrait photo Emma Balnaves.
Sundernath (Shandor Remete) is the founder of Shadow Yoga and Nṛtta Sādhanā. He is also an initiate of the Goraksha Sampradaya of the Kanpatha Yogis.
Portrait photo Emma Balnaves.
Emma Balnaves is the co-founder and director of Shadow Yoga and Nṛtta Sādhanā. 
Portrait photo Sophie Howarth.
Emma Balnaves is the co-founder and director of Shadow Yoga and Nṛtta Sādhanā.
Portrait photo Sophie Howarth.

Contact Shadow Yoga

Nrtta Sadhana Teachers

As at December 2018, the following Shadow yoga teachers also teach the Nrtta Sadhana forms. Their contact information can be found below under the Shadow Yoga Teachers listing:

Australia: Natasha Almeida, Peter Ujvari, Gary Mills, Louise Goodvach.
Israel: David Malka.
Europe: Karen Watson, Alexandra Gilbert, Daphne Strothmann, Defne Suman.
United States: Matt Pesendian, Mark Horner, Andy Matinog, Catherine Halcomb, Judy Yu, Maya Smeloff.
New Zealand:
Jaymin Gansell.
Japan: Akiko Ueda, Koyu Terasawa.

Shadow Yoga Teachers

Below is a list of teachers of Shadow Yoga who we believe, as at December 2018, have shown an understanding of the basic principles of Shadow Yoga.



Kobe, Japan
Akiko Ueda

Tokyo, Japan
Koyu Terasawa: yogashuhari.jimdo.com

Sapporo, Hokkaido
Yumiko Obata: shadowyoga.jp


Gary Mills: yogashala.com.au
Graham Clarke
Peter Ujvari

Rebecca Barlow: apsarayogashala.com

Louise Goodvach: yogamoves.org
Lara Thornton
Rebecca Odgers: yogayamabushi.com

Narelle Lullfitz: palmyrayoga.com.au

Natasha Almeida
Penny Cuthbert: hathayogadesha.com.au
Trevor Tangye
Juliet Willetts 
Suzanne Cohen

Maya Maskit


Montreal, Quebec
Radhasri: hathayogashala.com


North London
Karen Watson: islingtonyoga.com
Paulene Morphett: dalstonyoga.co.uk
Tim Cummins: timcumminsyoga.com

East London
Samantha Sculthorp: hathayogalondon.com

East-Central London
Monique Ledesma

West London
Caterina Hadjilias: yogaangarupamarga.com


Athens, Greece
Defne Suman: shadowyogaturkiye.com

Vienna, Austria
Sabine Irawan: hathayogamandapa.com

Paris, France
Alexandra Gilbert: dragonyogashala.com

South of France
Valérie Carretero: hamsayogashala.fr

Gütersloh, Germany
Daphne Strothmann: tulayogashala.com
Michael Dolan: tulayogashala.com

Dusseldorf, Germany
Michael Calignano: yogabhyasa.de

Amsterdam, Holland
Nicolet Montanus

Moscow, Russia
Andrey Galitskiy: shadowyoga.ru

Podolsk, Russia
Boris Voronin: yoga-podolsk.com

Novi Sad, Serbia & Kiev, Ukraine
Andrey Rozhnov

Barcelona, Spain
Amelie Strecker: yogaroom-bcn.com/en


Haifa, Israel
David Malka

Telaviv, Israel
Ronen Cohen

Telaviv & Herzliya, Israel
Noa Gottfried

Istanbul, Turkey
Defne Suman: shadowyogaturkiye.com
Pınar Üstün: shadowyogaturkiye.com


Natalie Smith: nataliesmithyoga.com

Mark Bouckoms

Jaymin Gansell: yogabeing.co.nz


Los Angeles, California
Matt Schwartz: goldenmonkeyhealing.com
Cindy Lee: cindileeyoga.com 

New York City, New York
Andy Matinog: redcrowyogashala.com
Maya Smeloff

Portland, Oregon
Lita Batho: litayoga.com
Mandy Kruger: mandykruger.com

Santa Barbara, California
Matt Pesendian: mattpesendian.com

San Francisco & Bay Area, California
Mark Horner: horneryoga.com
Judy Yu: horneryoga.com
Lakshmi Angela Norwood: lakshminorwoodyoga.com
Jonny Nobleza: rootsourcemedicine.com

San Luis Obispo, California
Catherine Halcomb: yogashalaslo.com
Rachelle Ball: yogashalaslo.com
Shelley Massa: into-balance.com


Tarun Jasani

Illustration & Photographic Montage
Alexandra Gilbert

Design & Website Development
Luke Featherston

Social Media
Gülçin Özsoy
Natasha Almeida

Danny May

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