INTRODUCTION TO YOGA — STARTING AT THE BEGINNING: This class introduces you to the basic elements of yoga. It is for those students brand-new to yoga or those who have been away from their practice and want a review from the very beginning. This series is kind and gentle, offering nuances into the practice of yoga. Please come as you are. It is not important to be flexible or strong or have perfect balance to begin yoga. All that matters is that you are interested and that you begin … just as you are. You can be no other.
BEGINNING YOGA: Beginning Yoga is for those who have already had some introduction to yoga. It is for those newer to me or to yoga. Continue to study and learn the basic principles of yoga with a focus on body alignment and breath and gaining more awareness and more appreciation of the body. From there, we will add to the basic series of yoga poses to stretch, strengthen and relax the body and continue to build on them each week. The idea is for you to feel increasingly grounded and proficient. You may even find yourself more confident and amazed by what the body is capable of doing as you discover at the same time how calming to the mind and supportive to the spirit yoga can be.
Beginning Yoga is offered in six-week sessions that are designed to build on one another. Beginning “A” focuses on the importance of Alignment and beginning standing poses. Beginning “B” focuses on Balance, not only balancing poses, but also balancing strength and flexibility. Beginning “C” will focus on Centering, finding what is moderate and moving, especially turning in twists, from that center point.
YOGA I — BASIC: Yoga I — Basic is for those of you who have taken classes with me in the past and are familiar with how I teach or have had at least one year of yoga with another teacher. This class often may include some vinyasa followed by a deeper study of poses. As you become more familiar with the body and anatomy in poses, you may discover how a simple shift in body or mind allows more ease, breath and life into a pose.
YOGA II — INTERMEDIATE: Yoga II — Intermediate begins to introduce more challenging poses that continue to ask for a balance of flexibility, strength and endurance and the ability to remain calm, focused and at ease through all of it. In this class, we will play with more advanced forward folds and twists and methods of breathing. We will also look at ways to gain more arm strength and what it means to see the world upside down.
YOGA FOR EVERY DAY: This is a class to answer the questions: “How would yoga help me?” and “What would be good to do every day?” Yoga is meant to help us feel better in every way and every plane of being. This usually starts with the body as it is the most accessible and oftentimes of what we are most aware. Learn and continue to practice and add to the self-care toolkit that yoga offers. With just a few ideas, principles, and movements, you will know how to strengthen, stretch or soothe a sore joint, an over- or under-worked muscle, a tired body and mind and get on with your day productively, enjoyably and mindfully, which is possibly one of the true goals of yoga.
YOGA SPECIFICS: This class will focus on specific parts of the body or the practice for all six weeks, such as: Lower Body, Upper Body, Yoga for Balance, Yoga for the SI Joint, Low Back and Hips, etc.
MONTHLY RESTORATIVE YOGA: The monthly, two-hour class is limited to a small number of students. This is two hours of “doing nothing” and meaning it. Here we learn to lie around with intention. You might think you already do this, but I will show you how to support the body so you can fully relax. Once you find the position for your body, there’s nothing else it will want to do but to relax. Prepare to leave rested and relaxed.
TAI CHI: In this class, we will learn the basic elements of tai chi chuan, posture and how to move gently, slowly and with attention. Often as a result of such “moving meditation,” people find peace and relaxation. Some of tai chi’s benefits include lowering stress and blood pressure while raising energy and well-being. Students of tai chi often find that they feel more stable and agile while improving their strength and flexibility. No matter what your other activities are, tai chi may offer the balance element of relaxation to your lifestyle. The soft and gentle movements make it suitable for everyone!
The first Tuesday (at A Little Space) and Wednesday (at The J) of every month, we spend some time in Tai Chi looking specifically at posture, joints, walking and balance or any other questions that are arising.
BEGINNING TAI CHI: EXERCISES TO IMPROVE POSTURE AND BALANCE: Feel stronger, more mobile and relaxed, and steadier on your feet and in your body. Discover how to sit, stand and move easily and efficiently through a beginning basic awareness of what is “neutral posture.” With this resting posture, our muscles are able to relax, we may have more energy, and our sense of balance may improve. A simple warm-up of the joints will be practiced, followed by gentle movements and the learning of key positions that are often practiced in qigong exercises and tai chi forms.
YANG FAMILY SHORT FORM: Now that you are feeling more confident with your body and how to move and stand in it, we will begin to apply principles learned in the “Exercises To Improve Posture and Balance” class to the Yang Family Short Form of tai chi chuan. Learn to breathe in, breathe out, relax and watch your energy and joy increase.
PAO TWI (CHEN’S SECOND LU): This is a more dynamic Tai Chi form that includes vigorous, angular and sometimes even explosive bursts of movements. Where the Yang Form seems to move quietly and slowly to build and balance energy, Pao Twi declares your health and vitality. You are, and you embrace and celebrate all that you are! You are now confident. You believe in yourself and your body’s ability to heal and be well and the importance to play and have fun. (Experience with Yang Family Short Form strongly suggested.)
MEDITATION: This free 30-minute class occurs immediately before the Tuesday, and, soon, the Friday, morning tai class at A Little Space. Come learn to sit comfortably and create space for your body, mind and heart to be and to heal. As weather permits, we explore walking the Labyrinth on the patio. Twenty (sometime more, sometimes less) minutes of meditation.
MONTHLY DONATION-ONLY GENTLE MOVEMENT: If you are unsure of yoga and tai chi and what they mean, you may want to try this Gentle Movement class. This class is exactly what its title says: pay only what you can afford and move gently. Learn to approach the body and yourself in a gentle manner through mindful movement, stretching and breathing and discover the effects that just a little bit of gentle movement can have on you and your body. We all deserve to feel the best we can feel, no matter what age or what ailment.
GENTLE STRETCH, BALANCE & BREATHE: This class is designed for those who are not so sure about yoga and tai chi. While principles from both traditions may be offered, this class is as its title suggests: gentle. We will gently stretch the body and gently look at ways to improve balance and ways to invite breath and relaxation into our bodies and our lives. Yoga mats and props may be used, but there is never a requirement to get on the floor. Much of what we will do is will be done sitting in chairs or standing.