Jul 23, 2013

Don't Underestimate the Power of Gentle Yoga

Ok I'm not saying those "gentle" yoga classes secretly burn tons of calories...

They don't.

gentle yoga
But for both exercise-aholics and sedentary people, these yoga classes that are slower and on the gentler side really give you a great time to just breathe deep and go within yourself.

The fast paced yogas- Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa- get the heart rate up, the body sweating, and muscles toned. Sometimes you get completely lost in the intensity of the practice; a great place to be lost indeed. All the hard work can build up for a deep relaxation  in savasana at the end too.

A slow class has a lot to offer too though, and I think not enough people take time to change up their routine. What the slow gentle class gives you is a moment to feel what each stretch is doing for your body as you comfortably breathe. Your body and mind are not struggling with fatigue or exhaustion, what comes next, and how deep you can go into a posture.

A couple years ago, I was in Bali with my mom and we took a Yin yoga class. We were in Ubud and there was no Bikram studio there so I thought sure why not, its about time I tried some style besides Bikram! I was definitely not ready to accept what that class was or appreciate what it had to offer. I was frustrated by the absence of sweat and rigor. There I sat, in a beautiful open air structure in a rice field of an exotic country, breathing with a beautiful energy of people from all over the world, and I was stuck inside the limits of my yoga fixation and what I thought to be right..


I have come a long way since then, finding my way back to those other yoga classrooms and finally embracing what was there. How beautiful it is that each and every one of these forms of yoga exist. I am so thankful to be guided synergistically (spell check says that isn't a word..?) by all of them. This is the "power" I am talking about.

The class I took tonight was called Relax and Flow. Yep, it has the word "relax" in the title. Sure the poses are simple enough to do on my own but to just go somewhere and be guided through a simple series is really fun. I felt great after, not necessarily energized but not tired. Just in a good place. The other people in the class included a few young active yogis but also some less able-bodied people who quite possibly get their only movement right there in that room.

I like to see people making an effort to do things that are good for their mind and spirit, not just their six-pack and their deltoids. Though that is a byproduct thats fine by me, I just hope that people keep an open mind and try something different once in a while! I think you can be pleasantly surprised.

I can't wait until the next time I'm in Ubud :)

Bali uluwatu temple

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