Styles of Yoga at the Shala

Hatha yoga is the most widely practiced form of yoga in America. It is the branch of yoga that concentrates on physical health and mental well-being. Hatha yoga uses bodily postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), and meditation (dyana) with the goal of bringing about a sound, healthy body and a clear, peaceful mind. There are nearly 200 hatha yoga postures, with hundreds of variations, which work to make the spine supple and to promote circulation in all the organs, glands, and tissues. Hatha yoga postures also stretch and align the body, promoting balance and flexibility.

Gentle Yoga is a class structured around rejuvenating and healing the body. Yoga props such as blankets, blocks, bolsters, chairs and straps are often used for safe practice, and to allow the body to fully achieve each position comfortably. This class is held at a slower pace and focuses on stretching all areas of the body, while releasing stress and tension from joints and muscles.

Yin Yoga: Most forms of Yoga practiced today are Yang—they emphasize muscular movement and contraction. By contrast Yin Yoga targets the connective tissue of the hips, pelvis and lower spine. Connective tissue responds best to gentle stress over a long period of time, so Yin postures are held for longer periods. This type of practice complements the more muscular styles of Yoga and is a great aid for learning to sit in meditation. Many people find that a Yin Yoga practice has transformative effects on body and mind. The gentle but consistent stimulation to the connective tissues encourages long-term health and flexibility of the joints, recharges the energetic system of the body and naturally draws the mind inward into a relaxed, meditative state.

Vinayasa Yoga: In this class Yoga poses are synchronized to the breath, is a term that covers a broad range of yoga classes. This style is sometimes also called flow yoga, because of the smooth way that the poses run together and become like a dance. The breath becomes an important component because the teacher will instruct you to move from one pose to the next on an inhale or an exhale. Vinyasa is literally translated from Sanskrit as meaning "connection". Some prior yoga experience is recommended for this class. 

Kundalini Yoga is called the Yoga of Awareness. It is a dynamic, powerful tool that is designed to give you an experience of your soul. In Kundalini Yoga we harness the mental, physical, and nervous energies of the body and put them under the domain of will, which is the instrument of the soul. This technology precisely and consciously combines breath, mudra, eye-focus, mantra, body locks, and postures to balance the glandular system, strengthen the nervous system, expand lung capacity, and purify the blood. It brings balance to the body, mind, and soul.
"In Kundalini Yoga the most important thing is you experience. It goes right to your heart. No words can replace your experience. Your mind may accept the words or it may not, but your consciousness will not accept just words." ~ Yogi Bhajan, The Aquarian Teacher Training manual, p 20
Kundalini Yoga is not a religion. When we apply the technology of Kundalini Yoga to our bodies and minds, it has the effect of uplifting the spirit. It is for everyone. It is universal and nondenominational.

Restorative Yoga is supported yoga postures that help relieve the effects of chronic stress. With the support of props, such as bolsters, blocks, blankets, the body relaxes and opens, releasing tension. Restorative poses offer benefits to both the body and mind. and helps greatly to promote overall health and well-being, relaxation, and stress reduction. Students have commented that this class:

"feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through you, surrounding you in peace".

Prenatal Yoga provides a relaxed and nurturing atmosphere where you can enhance the bonding process with your baby while supporting the development and strengthening of your body, mind, and spirit during pregnancy. The yoga exercises and postures, deep breathing techniques, greatly impact the quality of your pregnancy and birth experience as well as the many changes your body and emotions go through after the baby arrives. 

This class is also a wonderful opportunity to meet other expectant women who can relate with you as you experience the miracle of the life growing within you and the transition of becoming a mother.
The benefits of a regular prenatal yoga practice will provide you with the healthiest and most peaceful pregnancy possible. Prenatal yoga practice can also help ease morning sickness, alleviate edema, and prevent varicose veins.
The yoga exercises are designed to: Help strengthen the pelvic muscles - instrumental in the birthing process, and post-birth to bring your body back to a pre-pregnancy state. Exercise and strengthen the uterus so that it functions more efficiently and increases the potential for a normal delivery. Exercise the spine and help reduce backaches. Aid in proper digestion and circulation, and regulate breathing.

Chair Yoga: is a general term for practices that modify yoga poses so that they can be done while seated in a chair. These modifications make yoga accessible to people who cannot stand or have limited mobility, or for those who are unable to move easily from standing to seated to supine positions. Many of the basic body mechanics of the individual postures are retained, no matter the stance of the practitioner. While seated on chairs, students can do versions of twists, hips stretches, forward bends, and mild backbends. In addition to a good stretch, chair yoga participants can also enjoy other health benefits of yoga, including muscle tone, better breathing habits, reduction of stress, better sleep, and sense of well-being.