When and Where are Gentle Yoga Classes held?
Gentle Yoga classes are held at two locations:
Yoga Dublin Studios, Ranelagh.
My in-studio classes are currently taking place every Wednesday at 11.15 am and this class is also simultaneously available online. There is an online class every Friday at 6pm. To participate, please book on www.yogadublin.com.
Oscailt Yoga, Ballsbridge.
My classes are currently taking place online every Wednesday at 11.15am and every Friday at 6pm. To participate, please book on www.yogadublin.com.
How much does a Gentle Yoga class cost?
Yoga Dublin Studios, Ranelagh.
The cost of a drop-in class is €16 for an hour and a quarter. The cost for students and 66+ is €12. You can purchase class packs on the Yoga Dublin website at yogadublin.com which reduces the cost. For example, there is a 10 class pack for €140 or a 5 class pack for students and 66+ for €50. Once you have a class pack, you can book your place online at yogadublin.com
Oscailt Yoga, Ballsbridge.
The cost of a drop-in class is €15 for an hour and a quarter. You can purchase class packs which reduces the cost. For example, there is a 3 class pack for €40 or a 5 class pack for €55. You can reserve a place by sending a mail to [email protected] or sending a text to 087 255 1723.
For the practice, you should wear light loose clothing like t-shirt and leggings, track suit bottoms or shorts. Ideally, you should bring your own yoga mat. There are mats for hire at the Studios.
What can I expect if I attend a Gentle Yoga class?
The class is a sequence of movements and yoga postures which is taught to all newcomers at their first class. Understandably, it takes a few classes for new students to get familiar and comfortable with the sequence. But, there is NOTHING in the sequence that you, as a newcomer, will not be able to do.
It is important to understand that everybody’s body is different – so different people will engage with the movements and postures to different degrees. All you have is your OWN body and mind to work with and what anybody else is doing in the room is immaterial – there is NO competition in yoga, and in fact, you are trained to keep your attention to the area of your own yoga mat and not to look at anybody else.
Most of the postures have a light, medium or strong version so you can choose whichever one is most appropriate for your body. At the start, it is best to engage with the light versions and gradually progress as you become more familiar with the sequence and your body and mind open up with practice.
The Movements and Postures which make up the Gentle Yoga Sequence
The class lasts for an hour and a quarter and is broken down into the following five main parts.
You start lying down on your mat, allowing all the muscles in your body to relax, allowing your mind and breath to relax. After a few minutes, we introduce and engage with the “yoga breath” which is a special type of relaxed and elongated breathing which is an integral part of your yoga practice and which delivers amazing benefits to your health and general wellbeing. You can learn more on how the yoga breath works and the benefits it delivers by clicking on this link.
Still lying on the floor, we commence our warm-up by doing some gentle somatic movements to free up any stiffness in the lower back region. You can learn more about somatic movements and the benefits they deliver by clicking on this link. We then bring attention to the knee and hip joints by engaging with gentle leg lift and leg rotation movements.
We then come up on all fours and carry out a number of other movements to further free up the lower back and at the same time bringing attention to all the muscles around the shoulders, collarbones and neck. We elongate the entire back area and the spine with gentle arm and leg stretches. At this point, we introduce students to a few of the classical yoga postures, such as Plank, Child’s Pose, and Downward Facing Dog.
To conclude our warm-up, we come up to standing and engage with a sequence of 8 movements, called the Chalanas, which brings attention and freedom of movement to the joints in our feet & ankles; the neck; the shoulder blades; the collar bones; the waist; the hips; the knees; the spine.
Standing Yoga Postures
Now that we are nicely warmed up, we practice some of the classical yoga standing postures starting with Mountain Pose which corrects any misalignments in our posture. We introduce Sun Salutation I in a modified easy to access version. We move to build up strength in our thigh muscles through the engagement with Horse Pose. We finish off the standing postures with Warrior I & II and Triangle Pose which strengthen the legs and ankles; stretch the groins, chest, lungs and shoulders; stimulate abdominal organs and relieve backache.
Seated Yoga Postures
After the intensity of the Standing Postures, we begin to allow the body to cool down by coming down onto the mat for a number of classical yoga seated postures. We start off with Staff Pose which improves posture by strengthening the back muscles and stretching the shoulders and chest. The other postures involve gentle bending and twisting and have the effect of bringing attention to organs in our bodies, such as the liver and kidneys which normally receive very little attention.
The class concludes with five minutes of relaxation when we lay the body down in Corpse Pose. This pose sets up the conditions that allow you to gradually enter a truly relaxed state, one that is deeply refreshing in itself. This pose conditions the body to release stress by calming the mind and can improve your sense of physical and emotional wellbeing.
The very first few movements which we do at the start of a GENTLE YOGA class involve the arching and flatting of the lower back and sacrum area and are known as “somatic movements” . They are designed to counteract stiffness caused by the ageing process. The fact is that, during the course of our lives, our sensory-motor systems continually respond to daily stresses and traumas with specific muscular reflexes. These reflexes, repeatedly triggered, create habitual muscular contractions, which we cannot – voluntarily – relax. These muscular contractions have become so deeply involuntary and unconscious that, eventually, we no longer remember how to move freely. The result is stiffness, soreness, and a restricted range of movement.
This habituated state of forgetfulness is called “sensory-motor amnesia” (SMA). It is a memory loss of how certain muscle groups feel and how to control them. And, because this occurs within the central nervous system, we are not aware of it, yet it affects us to our very core. Our image of who we are, what we can experience, and what we can do is profoundly diminished by SMA. And, it is primarily this event, and its secondary effects, that we falsely think of as “growing older”.
But SMA has nothing whatsoever to do with age. It can, and does, occur anytime – from childhood onward. Children who grow up in disturbed family situations, or in other fearful environments such as war, show symptoms of SMA: sunken chests, permanently raised shoulders, hyper-curved necks. Traumatic accidents or serious surgery in young people can cause the same chronic muscular contractions which in older adults are falsely attributed to aging: for example, scoliotic tilting of the trunk, a slight limp, or chronic undiagnosable pain that never disappears during the remainder of one’s life.
So, the effects of SMA can begin at any age, but usually become apparent in our 30s and 40s. SMA is an adaptive response of the nervous system and because it is a learned adaptive response, it can be unlearned. So, this is the good news – SMA can be avoided, and it can be reversed. You can escape it by making direct and practical use of two abilities that are the unique properties of the human sensory-motor system: to unlearn what has been learned; and to remember what has been forgotten.
In the Gentle Yoga classes, you will be taught a total of seven somatic exercises gradually over time. These exercises provide a direct and effective way to re-program the sensory-motor system. They erase the primary effects of what is falsely attributed to growing older. Moreover, they are particularly important for people in their 30s and 40s. In older people, they actually reverse the process, which has caused so many people to feel stiff and aching.