Yoga is a practice through which you can improve your health, fitness, flexibility, and strength, as well as your mental attitude and overall well-being! A typical yoga class takes the student through a series of physical postures called asanas that work and stretch every area of the body. Many yoga classes also include some work on breathing. The science and discipline of yoga incorporates a healthy lifestyle, contemplation, and meditation along with physical asanas and breath.
There are many different types of yoga currently practiced in the US. Some of the most common forms of yoga include power yoga, ashtanga, Bikram, kundalini, and yin yoga. There are also forms of yoga specifically for people with special needs, such as prenatal yoga, chair yoga, and yoga for older people or people with disabilities. Whether you are interested in yoga for meditation, relaxation, getting back in shape, or for a great workout, there’s a yoga class out there for you!
My teacher training program was in classical hatha yoga, the basic form of yoga on which other forms and disciplines are based. In the classic Hindu text The Yoga Sutras, the sage Patanjali writes very little about physical yoga postures at all. Most of the text is dedicated to yoga of the mind, heart, and spirit, rather than to yoga of the body, and Patanjali states only that a yoga posture should be comfortable and steady. That’s why yoga teachers in my lineage take the view that the purpose of physical yoga is to make the body healthy in preparation for meditation, calming the mind and centering on the spirit.
In my yoga classes, I take the words “comfortable” and “steady” to heart, so we don’t move quickly from pose to pose – we get into a posture, find a comfortable and steady way to hold that posture, and then hang out there for a little while. We do many of the poses and sequences you may be familiar with from other yoga classes – such as sun salutations, warriors, and tree pose – but we move through poses mindfully with awareness, taking our time and paying attention to the breath. Many of my students have commented that a yoga class with a slower pace allows them to understand the different poses better and appreciate each pose more. My yoga class will still make you sweat, don’t worry, but in a different way than a power yoga class would.
A classical hatha yoga class is my standard and ideal class to teach, but I can also kick up the pace and teach vinyasa yoga as well, taking a “vinyasa” (series of plank, upward dog, and downward dog poses) between postures to build more heat in the body. I can also slow things down for a gentle yoga class, and I have some experience teaching prenatal yoga. If you’d like to come to one of my classes, check my schedule page for class specifics. If you’re new to yoga, you may also want to read my series of blog posts with helpful information for yoga beginners.