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  971 NW Spruce Ave Ste 101, Corvallis, OR  |  541-224-6566  |  My Account  |

8:04 pm

Flow Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Adaptive Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Restorative Yoga.... huh?

Dear Yogini: What kind of Yoga class should I take? ~ Just a Beginner Dear JAB: Choosing a Yoga class can be daunting. The names aren’t even in English and the descriptions are often confusing.  The environment of classes ranges from hot to cool and from slow to fast.  Just what is Yoga and what might you expect from different classes and studios? Yoga means to yoke or to join. Yoga is a philosophical approach to life with the goal of reducing suffering.  Yoga was developed in Indian more than a thousand years ago as a science of living that includes not only the physical practices we associate with it today, but also meditation, ritual, chanting, self-study, philosophy and behavioral guidelines. Modern American Yoga emphasizes the use physical postures (Asana), breathing exercises (Pranayama), concentration (Dharana) and meditation (Dhyana) to foster better health and well being. Here’s a list of descriptions of yoga classes and types, first those we offer at Live Well Studio and then other common names and styles you’ll find in Corvallis.  I’m listing the times for classes as of September 2012, if you’re reading this at some future date, please check the website for class schedule updates. Adaptive, Gentle and Therapeutic Yoga classes are appropriate if you want a slow paced practice, have movement limitations, are healing from an injury or you are recovering from surgery.   The Adaptive Yoga class at Live Well includes chair yoga and movement options so that all bodies, even those with severe movement limitations, can benefit from yoga.  The Gentle Yoga class at Live Well moves at a slow fluid pace, avoids placing weight on the wrists or knees, works actively to build strength, flexibility and balance while reducing pain and stress in the body. (Adaptive Yoga Mondays 4-5pm; Gentle Yoga Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays 10-11am) Restorative Yoga is a particularly delicious form akin to getting a deep relaxing massage. I think of Restorative Yoga as Yoga dessert.  It goes deep into your body to release all the hidden tension in your form.  (Restorative Yoga 1st and 3rd Fridays, 7-8:15pm, no 3rd Friday class in Sept 2012) Hatha Yoga is a philosophical path that begins in the body.  Hatha is a conjunctive word, combining ha (sun) and tha (moon) to mean forceful. If a class is labeled Hatha Yoga you can expect it to include a combination of posture, breathing and meditation. Hatha Yoga classes spend a little more time with each posture. This is a great place to begin learning yoga. (Mon 5:30-6:45p; Wed 7-8a & :30-6:45p; Sat 11-12a) Flow Yoga (aka Vinyasa Yoga) sequences poses in a flowing choreography, one pose flowing smoothly into the next for a full body experience. Vinyasa Yoga was brought to the USA by students of Pattabhi Jois, and while he developed a distinct posture sequence (called Ashtanga Yoga) his form has evolved in many directions.  Classes are often taught with music and can be fast paced and sweaty or move slowly and intentionally. If you like fluid graceful movement and variety, then Flow Yoga is for you.  (Flow Yoga Tues 12-1p & 5:30-6:45p; Wed 4-5:15p (starts 9/12); Thur 12-1p & 5:30-6:45p; Fri 9-10:15a & 5:30-6:45P; Sat 9-10:30a (intermediate to advanced practice); Sun 9-10:20a & 10:30-11:50a) Anusara Yoga was developed by John Friend.  This yoga style mixes heart-based philosophy with a fluid Vinyasa style flow and attention to alignment details. The Anusara organization has be in turmoil lately due to the improprieties of its founder, but the yoga style and teaching are powerful in spite of John’s personal missteps.  Many of the teachers at Live Well Studio have trained in the Anusara Style of yoga.  I did my teacher training in Anusura and am hugely greatful for what I learned there.  I found it to combine the best of Ashtanga flow with Iyengar alignment and a sense of personal freedom that works well for me.   However, I left the Anusara organization years ago when I found my personal style to be veering away from John’s prescriptions for what needs to be included in an Anusara class. Bikram Yoga is a 90 minute sequence of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises taught in a room heated to 105°F. Bikram Choudhury designed his Yoga sequence to work the entire body and uses heat to facilitate flexibility and detoxification. Regardless of where you take a Bikram Yoga class, you know what you’re going to get: the Yoga sequence and room design are standardized and the teaching is scripted. If you have as strong drive, a desire to see rapid change and you enjoy repetitive exercise then Bikram Yoga is for you. Iyengar Yoga was developed by B.K.S. Iyengar, who wrote the book Light on Yoga, a seminal work in modern Yoga and a beautiful compendium of Yoga poses.  Iyengar began teaching Yoga in Indian in 1937.  Iyengar Yoga is characterized by meticulous attention to physical alignment and the use of props to help the body find its way into difficult places.  If you are curious about body mechanics and like working slowly and precisely, Iyengar Yoga is the style for you. Svaroopa Yoga was developed by Swami Nirmalananda.  Svaroopa means “the bliss of your own being.” Svaroopa Yoga emphasizes release of spinal compression in poses that are held for up to two minutes each.  Svaroopa sessions are organized by themes designed to elicit a physical release throughout the body.  A single class is composed of 9 to 16 poses, supported by an abundance of blankets and blocks.  If you enjoy a slow deep intentional practice, then Svaroopa Yoga is for you. You can find Fitness Yoga classes at all of the local health clubs, the Majestic Theater, the Senior Center and through Parks and Recreation.  Fitness Yoga classes focus, as you would expect, on physical fitness without the philosophical content you will find at most Yoga studios. So which Yoga is right for you JAB? Assess your own goals and temperament, try out a few different places and classes, and then settle into a Yoga groove.  Occasionally mix things up and try a new teacher or studio on for size.  Don’t give up if your first choice doesn’t suit you.  Your body will be happy you explored the possibilities! Namaste! Lisa (aka The Yogini)