One of the most common things I hear from new yoga students who have tried yoga in the past that was supposed to be accessible to beginners is that it did not meet their needs. Many felt like they were striving and/or confused in class, while others wanted more of a physical challenge.
When I opened Embody Yoga & Wellness Studio, I envisioned a place where people could find a class that met them exactly as they are. The instructors teach a variety of yoga classes that are accessible to all types of beginners. Finding the right class means finding out what kind of beginner you are.
So where do you begin?
Ask yourself what you are looking for in a class. Even though you may be physically able to participate in a more active class, is this what you are looking for? Is your primary goal to build strength and flexibility? Or to relax and renew?
Do you have any experience with yoga? If so, what styles of yoga did you enjoy?
Do you have any injuries or special conditions that need to be considered?
Once you’ve answered these questions for yourself, you can review the classes below to find the fit for your unique needs.
Gentle – This is a slower-paced class focusing on gentle muscle toning and stretching that is accommodating for students with injuries, illnesses, and special conditions. Yoga props such as bolsters (large firm cushions), blocks, and straps bring the poses to you. It is great for older adults or for those who just want to slow it down. A typical class will end with postures to relax and practice mindful breathing. Also accessible to pregnant ladies! No previous yoga experience is necessary.
Yin Yoga – Yin Yoga uses longer holds designed to enhance joint, bone and connective tissue health. A complementary practice to any strength building or cardio exercise, as well as an active yoga practice, yin yoga can also greatly benefit those recovering from illness or injury.
Chair Yoga – This class is done with the support of a chair to make yoga accessible to people with physical limitations or reduced mobility. All poses are either done seated in the chair or standing with the option to hold the chair for support. Since the class does not require you to sit on the floor, it is accessible to those who would find it challenging to get down to the floor and back up to standing unattended.
Soften & Soothe Yoga – A combination of gentle and restorative yoga.
The classes below are considered ‘Active’ classes. The differences between these classes and those mentioned above are that they include more active poses and movements. Students should be comfortable sitting on the floor (with props if needed) and transitioning to standing and vice versa. Classes may include Sun Salutations where students move from standing to the floor and back up to standing with the breath. As well, these classes include postures that have weight-bearing in the hands, wrists, and arms, such as Downward Dog, and the knees, such as lunges. The classes below are great for active beginner and continuing students.
Aligned Hatha – Students build a strong foundation through essential yoga postures, principles of alignment, and breathing techniques to ease tension, increase flexibility, and build strength. Class typically focuses on a certain area of the body and sometimes works towards a peak pose. Form and action within the pose are emphasized through longer holds and props. Options are given within poses to adapt to your unique needs.
Flow Yoga & Movement – This class is similar to Aligned Hatha with more emphasis on connecting fluid movement with breath in this class. Build mobility and stability while paying particular attention to movements that will help with our everyday lives.
Yin & Yang – A combination of a dynamic flow and yin yoga practice.
Mobility & Stability – Finding the balance between mobility and stability is vital to sustaining a life-long practice in a healthy aging body. These classes often focus on a family of poses (ex: backbends) working towards a peak pose. You will learn how to establish the foundation and strength of poses and pose variations (stability), while you learn to extend and evolve through lengthening and breathing (mobility). Compared to Aligned Hatha or Hatha Flow, there is more use of props such as blocks, blankets, straps, bolsters, and chairs to assist with explorations of postures.
Lengthen, Strengthen, Realign – Similar to Mobility & Stability, this class fine-tunes the mechanics in yoga postures through the use of props, modifications, and movement to bring new relevance to traditional yoga poses.
Iyengar – Level 1 – Similar to Mobility & Stability, students will develop mobility, stability, and strength through expanding their knowledge of the foundational asanas. Sanskrit names and yogic philosophy are introduced. This class is appropriate for students new to yoga or to the Iyengar method, or for experienced yoga students who want to strengthen their practice of fundamental actions and alignment in asanas.
Restorative Yoga – This practice is beautiful for ALL! Restorative Yoga is a healing form of yoga that is practiced with props to provide a supportive environment for total relaxation. Typically four to six long-held, gentle and relaxing poses are practiced per class; creating physiological responses which are beneficial to your health and can reduce the effects of stress-related illness. The class is slow, deeply nurturing, and suitable for all ages. These classes are typically held as workshops and shorter series (check here for offerings).
We also hold special classes for beginners:
Yoga Fundamentals Course – Each session we offer a Yoga Fundamentals Course and/or Beginners Basics Workshop (check here for offerings) so new students can be introduced to yoga in the company of other beginners. It has more of a workshop type setting that allows for individualized instruction and open dialogue between the students and instructor.
If you have any questions about choosing the perfect class for you just get in touch!