Over the last few weeks I’ve had about 100 students pass through my teaching… and I’m seeing a common thread of feedback. What I have learned is The Gentle Way Of Hatha is a much more uncommon style of yoga then I would have guessed.
The yoga market is becoming saturated anywhere you go, but there seems to be two extremes: one extreme is gentle classes such as chair yoga or seniors yoga, and the other extreme (which does not seem extreme to many people) is regular hatha yoga or other intense styles such as Bikram, Power, hot yoga, etc, etc…
Many people come to The Gentle Way Of Hatha who have done yoga before, they have taken classes that say they are beginner friendly and yet even modifications feel uncomfortable or sometimes students are just not comfortable being modified at all. In a class where the whole focus is on gentle stretches, breathing and body awareness, many students feel quite comfortable and still leave feeling stretched, rejuvenated and relaxed.
Gentle yoga is not for everyone. More advanced students find it boring and want more of a physical challenge (of course challenging ourselves to JUST BE STILL is the biggest one in gentle yoga).
What my point is, is there seems to be a gap in the yoga styles. There is a whole realm of people who are missing out on this amazing practice for body, mind and spirit, because they don’t fit into ‘seniors’ and have more mobility then ‘chair yoga’ allows, and yet they don’t enjoy the regular classes where you have to do downward dog and upward dog in every class.
There is so much more to yoga then physical exertion. Pranayama (breathing exercises) is one of the most powerful aspects of yoga, which helps soothe the nervous system, focus the mind, and relax the body. The postures can be broken down into covering the six movements of the spine, which ensures healthy stretch and mobility for the body, along with emphasizing the detoxification process that the asanas ensure. Then class should always finish with a minimum of 10 minutes for sivasana (final relaxation) where the whole body/mind can integrate the benefits of your yoga practice. This is where true peace, stillness, wholeness and clarity can instill itself.
If you are a person who has yet to find a yoga class or style that suits your needs, try beginning a home practice. Often magic can happen when we just take the time to listen to our own bodies and trust the process of discovery. You may even want to hire a teacher for a few private lessons where a plan is created together for your optimum benefits of yoga.
It’s time to get in the gap!
7 thoughts on “The Yoga Gap”
I have never thought of yoga as a work out, I think of it as a way of life for mind, body, spirit and the rest of it all. I love the way yoga makes me feel in tune. You inspire me too!
First, Congratulations on your uber-teaching experience!
Now, I have experienced several “flavours” of yoga over the past decade, and I much prefer the Gentle Way. But I never truly understood what was going on in my mind and body until I read and absorbed “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” that you recommended. The translation I have is by Alistair Shearer.
For my own use, I have demystified the yoga sutras text for my own use by translating the Hindi terms into plain English terms that I keep in a notebook. This excludes me from the “yoga-speak club” but I strive for humility and clarity in my own life so that’s okay with me.
It’s fascinating isn’t it? Yoga is such a science, and yet as the physical aspects are practiced the mystical experiences follow. I’m happy you’re enjoying the translation I suggested, I have seen MANY sutras books and that one is the most ‘digestible’ in my opinion. Amazing book.
Great post! It reminds me of one of the reasons I love yoga as a student; there are so many different styles to choose from! I want to begin teacher training soon, but I am still exploring the many styles and teachings of yoga. I think it is helpful to be aware and comfortable practicing many different types of yoga asanas and sequences because each type of yoga has its place. Sometimes I feel anxious so i try a vigorous yoga sequence of sun salutations while sometimes i feel the need to relax or rejuvenate my mind and body, and try a gentler yoga flow practice.
I’m interested in learning more about your particular way of practice, can you post a link to some examples of your philosophy? I read the about sections but am still not sure what the gentle way of hatha is 🙂
https://gentlehatha.com/2013/11/02/what-is-gentle-hatha/ So far that may be the best link to explain… thank you for lovely comments!
Thank you for the link 🙂