Each GENTLE YOGA class lasts for an hour and a quarter and is broken down into five main parts – Preparation, Warm-Up, Standing Yoga Postures, Seated Yoga Postures and Relaxation. In this section, we profile a number of the key postures in the GENTLE YOGA sequence, and, by clicking on the various links below, you can see the benefits which each posture delivers and how to do the posture.
In our GENTLE YOGA class, after a few minutes of preparation, allowing the body, mind and breath to relax, we commence the practice by engaging with the “yoga breath”. We go on to commence a Warm-Up routine with some gentle somatic movements to free up any stiffness in the lower back region. We then bring attention to the knee and hip joints by engaging with gentle leg lift and leg rotation movements.
We continue the Warm-Up by coming 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 by engaging with the Cow-Cat Stretch which is the incorporation of COW POSE or BITILASANA and CAT POSE or MARJARYASANA. We go on to introduce a few of the classical yoga postures, such as PLANK POSE or KUMBHAKASANA, 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.
Now having the body nicely warmed up, we practice some of the classical yoga standing postures starting with MOUNTAIN POSE or TADASANA which corrects any misalignments in our posture. We introduce Sun Salutation I in a modified easy to access version.
Then, 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, WARRIOR II or VIRABHADRASANA II and TRIANGLE POSE or TRIKONSANA which strengthen the legs and ankles; stretch the groins, chest, lungs and shoulders; stimulate abdominal organs and relieve backache.
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 or DANDASANA which improves posture by strengthening the back muscles and stretching the shoulders and chest. The other postures, which involve gentle forward bending like HEAD-TO- KNEE FORWARD BEND or JANU SIRSASANA and back bending like BRIDGE POSE or SETU BANDHA SARVANGASANA and twisting, 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 or SAVASANA. 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.