1. What attracted you to this type of yoga?
Iyengar Yoga offers a great deal of focus on body alignment and anatomical awareness, using the tools of demonstration, observation and exploration to deepen one’s understanding of individual poses. I believe this type of training offers the best foundation for fuller expression and deeper relaxation within each yoga pose. So much of the learning that takes place has to do with creating the stable foundation created from proper alignment, as well as identifying which muscles to activate and release to deepen the pose. Iyengar Yoga is great for that.
Having said that, the first time I did a flow class I felt a deeper, more holistic connection to my practice. I was naturally drawn to the meditative quality of steady uninterrupted motion and synchronized breath that left me feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after class. I also found that the dynamic flow provided for me the best preparation for going deeper into poses, so the physical improvement in terms of fitness and mobility was more evident.
2. What benefits would one expect to gain from taking Yoga Flow class?
First of all, steady participation is paramount. In my experience you can some benefit from as little as one session each week, although 2-3 classes each week makes more sense from a development standpoint. The physical benefits are pretty clear: greater strength, flexibility and agility. But it goes much further than that. Once again speaking from experience as both teacher and student, Yoga Flow is holistic. I find when I practice it helps keep me on an even keel throughout the week. I feel like I spend far more time moving forward rather than reacting to events that occur around me. Another way of saying that is that yoga for addiction recovery practice helps me to maintain physical health and emotional balance.
3. Is Yoga Flow for everyone? What should I consider before signing up for a Yoga Flow class?
The Hatha Flow class and Vinyasa Flow class, are “All Levels” classes. What that implies is that there is going to be a great variety of skill levels in the class. To accommodate students with different abilities and experience, options are provided that can make the pose more accessible or more challenging. Part of the training is learning how to make the right choices — when it makes the most sense to attempt the bigger challenge and when it is most appropriate and beneficial to modify and make the pose more accessible (and enjoyable).
4. Are these classes suitable for beginners?
I have seen many beginning students navigate Yoga Flow successfully, however, I believe beginners could benefit more by first trying a slower paced Hatha Yoga class or a beginning yoga class. Hatha Yoga classes are more open-ended, giving students more time to integrate the physical requirements. Beginning yoga classes are also terrific because you are told exactly what you need to do at any given time, so there is no doubt that you are doing the right thing. The best advice for all yoga students, but especially beginners: you always have permission to rest in child’s pose at any time during class and you always have permission not to try a pose that you consider beyond your current abilities.
5. Which class is better for me, Vinyasa Flow or Hatha Flow?
Choosing between Hatha Flow and Vinyasa Flow, the Hatha Flow class is more accessible to all levels of students. Vinyasa Flow class is faster paced and more physically demanding. Learning how to perform the vinyasa sequence in a way that does not strain the joints (especially shoulders and wrists) is paramount.
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