April 20, 2020
The Unique Principles of Garuda
My name is James D’Silva and I am the founder of Garuda.
Join me in discovering the myth of Garuda on my travels and how one demigod changes the face of humanity through his perseverance, adaptability and innovation
I start my journey in India, the birthplace of Numerous spiritual practices, philosophies and several practising religions.
A land of 1300 million people.
The land of my hero Garuda.
Airports remind me of modern-day cathedrals. High ceilinged structures festooned with steel beams cleverly dressing overly lit roofs. Booming announcements like a call to prayer inform you of sacred destinations. The chosen clergy of aviation check, usher and pilot you on to mechanical angels that fly you across several heavens, safe… reminding you of creation and its wonders.
These flights are always sanctifying to me and I am never short of wonderment as I turn my thoughts to Garuda, the bird-like demigod who changes into a flying chariot for Vishnu (the god of preservation) to transport him through the different realms of creation.
I currently reside in London, however I’m proud to say I was born and raised in Goa and still have the pleasure of travelling back to India up to 5 times a year. I spend most of my time travelling the world, teaching the Garuda method. Airports are my second homes.
What is the Garuda method?
Garuda encompasses the principles of Pilates, the breathwork and asana practices of yoga, the grace and athleticism of dance. Holistic, organic and dynamic, the Garuda method is a work in progress: the more I learn, the more I innovate. I place my focus on conscious, thoughtful movements; an approach that is particularly helpful when the body is recovering from injuries.
“Intention, attention & inquiry” are the three basic principles to keep in mind when performing a Garuda exercise. Virtues that easily adapt to daily life, as Garuda is not just the hour you spend exercising. Garuda inspires the mind and body to achieve greater innate confidence, a constant reminder that you can move into new places and achieve new things every day.
Influences on the Garuda method
My career as a professional dancer gave me the opportunity to train with many thought-leading individuals in the industry. The Garuda method combines only the very best elements of a range of different disciplines. A multifaceted workout inspired by Pilates, Gyrotonic, yoga, Feldenkrais and the Alexander technique, ensures that each Garuda session gives you a unique workout for body and mind through the joy of fluid movement.
Dance and Garuda
Dancing is a big part of my life and a Garuda workout preserves the grace and fluidity of dance without stopping for corrections: just keep moving and allow the body to manifest itself. Unlike yoga or traditional Pilates, we don’t keep a pose – we move through it. And unlike dance and especially ballet, we don’t want to achieve perfect shapes. Instead, we celebrate each micromovement.
Garuda begins where Pilates ends. At dance school, Pilates is called body conditioning and is widely used as a method to train muscles and protect the body from injuries. I love the complexity of Pilates, but more importantly, the universal principles. When asked to describe my relationship with Pilates, I jokingly say:
Pilates is like my mother: I love her, I adore her, but I don’t want to live with her.
As a tribute to Pilates, I have recently developed the training course ‘Garuda on Reformer’ where the new meets the traditional and we work on the reformer with a fresh, modern perspective. If you are interested, you can find the upcoming courses on the website.
Many Garuda exercises are clearly influenced by the philosophy of yoga. It is the union of everything we do, a celebration of every moment. For me, yoga is Pranayama, meditation, the work outside of the studio and even how you relate to others. When in India, I always take time to practice.
In all my 55 years, I confess to never having been to an ashram or Yoga retreat. Yet I practice rigorously, finding my body succumbing to the moist heat and my mind and soul sponging in all the spirituality that this ancient method throws your way.
What can you learn from Garuda?
Garuda combines many different principles. This means everybody who has a professional background in bodywork can learn Garuda elements to add to their classes. The most important prerequisite to becoming a Garuda teacher is the curiosity to try something new.
Innovation is the key to move forward.
Garuda teaches you that there are no mistakes in life, that everything is an opportunity to learn from and that every moment is a new start. If you make the most of the universal principles of Garuda, you’ll be inspired and inspire others. Give it a try. Eventually, your body will start asking for this particular way of movement.
How to train in Garuda?
If you are London based, I would love for you to visit our beautiful studio in St. Johns Wood. Or, if you live a little further away, take a look at the Global Teachers section on the Garuda website to find a studio near you.
Interested in online classes? Give Garuda on Pilates Anytime a try and get an extended free trial period with the code DSILVA when you sign up, or visit our website for virtual online live class and pre-recorded classes to suit your schedule.
And finally, you can sign up to become a Garuda teacher by training, either with myself during one of my world tours, or with one of the local Garuda Master trainers. Have a look at the Global Garuda Academy and Master trainer sections on our website.
And as always, please do get in touch with any questions. We’d love to welcome you to the Garuda family and I personally wish you good health during these difficult days.