Deanne Practices: How to Pick a Yoga Class That’s Right for You
Deanne began one of her biggest adventures yet the 75km hike that makes up the West Coast Trail. Many months of preparation have led up to this date and I can’t wait to hear all about her experience when she returns. As she is with limited access to internet this week, I have the opportunity to write this blog post on picking the right yoga class for you. When you begin your journey with yoga, it can seem overwhelming – every studio offers different classes, with different teachers and they all have different names. How do you know which one is right for you.
There are so many different types of yoga that are present in our society today. While I can’t go through all of them, I will be touching on Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Rocket, and Yin yoga. One of the main words you will hear in reference to yoga is Hatha yoga. Hatha is a general term that includes most yoga styles. Hatha includes asana (physical practice) and pranayama (breath control) in an effort to prepare the body for deeper spiritual practices such as meditation. Some studios offer Hatha yoga classes. They are typically slower with the poses being held longer.
Another type of yoga under this umbrella is Vinyasa yoga. Vinyasa or flow yoga is movement paired with breath. It is often faster paced and poses are connected with vinyasas or sun salutations.
Another type of yoga you may encounter is Ashtanga Yoga. Ashtanga yoga is a strong and invigorating practice. If you attend an Ashtanga class you will be guided through one of the ashtanga series (there are six) connecting breath with movement. Each posture is connected with a vinyasa creating heat in the body. You may also see mysore classes offered at Ashtanga studios which is an opportunity for students to engage in their ashtanga practice at their own pace with experienced teachers available to assist.
Rocket yoga is practice that was developed from Ashtanga yoga. Larry Schultz created Rocket yoga as a way to make Ashtanga more accessible to western yogis. Although similar to Ashtanga yoga, Rocket is less rigid, encouraging its teachers and practitioners to modify and interpret the traditional asanas to better suit their bodies.
Yin Yoga is a slow-paced class where postures are held for extended periods of time – anywhere from 1 to 3 to 10 minutes. The postures are passive however Yin holds its own challenges – calming the mind and the body and allowing yourself to slow down and relax, something our society doesn’t always encourage. While Yang practices (vinyasa, ashtanga, etc) encourage the flexibility of the muscles, Yin yoga intends to apply a moderate level of stress to connective tissues and increases circulation in joints.
Most classes will be all levels, this means that all levels of practitioner from beginner to advanced can attend this class and leave feeling satisfied. Most studios will offer classes specifically designed for beginners as well as classes designed for more advanced practitioners. While all of the above practices are suitable for all levels, Yin and Hatha yoga can be a great place to begin as they are often slower-paced. However, one practice may suit you and your body better than others. I would encourage you to try out different studios and different types of yoga to see which is your favorite. There are some amazing studios that exist in the city and most will offer a new student discount. Go to new studios and take advantage of the new student discounts until you find a studio that fits you. Try as many classes and as many teachers as you can, each one will have something new and different to offer you. When you’re ready to go to class, grab your mat, water, towel and a change of clothes and enjoy your practice.
If you haven’t yet had a chance to take a class from Deanne, there are a few options. Deanne teaches at That Yoga Place every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 6 am and every Thursday at Willowby Hall at 6:15pm. Deanne also has an upcoming arm balance workshop on September 23 from 2-4 pm at That Yoga Place.