My approach to yoga is relaxed, open and inclusive. You won't receive many hands-on adjustments, as I prefer to let students meet their body where they are at, and never push or "deepen" students poses. Physical adjustments are limited to light touch, direct modeling, and use of props. I specialize in very detailed verbal instruction, allowing you the possibility of taking an entire class with your eyes closed following my clear supportive verbal guidance. I do believe strongly in the power of touch as a healing tool, and provide adjustments to each student's brow at the start of savasana as a way to inspire rest, and share a moment of gentle human connection - this is always optional because I want you to feel safe, and you are given the chance to opt out at the start of each savasana.
Class Style Breakdowns
My Gentle Yoga classes, are warm, focused on deep relaxation and a smattering of light humor in a judgement-free group setting. There are no chatturungas here, down-dogs are rare, and the focus is on gaining space in your mind and body. Depending on the class location and available props, I am certified to teach yoga practices adapted to chairs for folks with differing needs and abilities. My regular classes are well-rounded practices meant to provide you a little heat-building in safe, structural asana. We often begin with pranayama (breathing practices), and you will be offered a chance to take chatturungas, balancing poses, and some Suryanamaskar-style flows. Each pose is moved into slowly, and held for a few breaths at least, and has offered modifications and up-levels throughout the practice, making it appropriate for everyone who is willing to meet their body where its at. Don't expect loud up-beat pop music or fast-paced rapidly repeated vinyasa sequences. I prefer to build heat through finding stability and holding challenging balancing and strength-building asana variations and the background music, when used, is instrumental "sonic wallpaper" that won't take you out of your flow.
Restorative Yoga is one of my favorite classes to teach. It's a time of quiet reflection and relaxation in a warm, softly lit space. I start with a few minutes of gentle stretching following by supported asanas, held for 2-5 minutes. I offer time for you to take small movements between poses, and class ends with a guided body scan and a long savasana. It's the best way to wind down after a busy day.
When you walk into class, you enter a judgement-free zone where yoga, humor, and love are offered, and all that's asked in return is that you take ownership of your own needs and delight in your body's abilities - both in the moment, and as you grow!
Q: Why don't you use music with lyrics? A: I love to practice to fun, upbeat music, however, I want to make sure the focus stays on the connection between attention, breath and body. I use instrumentals that provide, as my friend Zac says, "sonic wallpaper" - something to help increase your ability to turn inward, with a tempo that suits the pace of the practice.
Q: Why do you use Sanskrit pose names in addition to English names? A: Yoga is an ancient practice, and using the original Sanskrit names is a way to honor that long history and lineage. I also find the names of the poses are beautiful and add to the special feeling of ritual in practice. I will always use both the English and Sanskrit names for clarity in class, so don't worry if you are not familiar with the Sanskrit!
Q: Why don't you teach really difficult poses in your all-levels classes? A: Most bodies aren't designed or prepared to perform the extreme contortionist poses currently so popular on Instagram. Those folks are athletes who train specifically to achieve these complex and extreme positions.
I see yoga as a life-long practice, and in an all-levels class I don't feel that the majority of the students will benefit from forcing themselves into a compromised position simply to say they can. As Robyn Capobianco, yoga instructor and PhD candidate studying neuromechanics says, "the shape is not the reward".
The goal for my classes is to be present in the body and the breath and to move the physical body through a series of protected and stable poses that keep it limber, healthy, and supported through a lifetime. If you are an advanced practitioner and you come to my class and want to uplevel the poses offered and you feel safe and comfortable to do so, by all means, do them!
I tell my students that this practice is yours to take ownership of and to make it what you want it to be. I do teach challenging arm balances, binds, and occasionally inversions, and I strive to only offer poses I feel contribute to creating more sukha - ease, and not dukha - suffering, both immediately and in the longer term.
Q: I'm pregnant, can I attend your class? A: Sure! Please know that while it was discussed in my Teacher Training, I am not (yet!) trained in prenatal yoga specifically, and when you attend a general, all-levels class there will be poses that are not recommended for you to practice. I may not be able to specifically advise you in the moment, so I would encourage you to do a little research into poses to modify or skip. Feel free to ask me before class and I can share some information and some resources for further self-exploration. Every pregnancy is as unique as the mama experiencing it, so I strongly recommend that you consult with your doctor to be sure that incorporating yoga into your specific pregnancy is safe.
Q: Why don't you do many hands-on adjustments in an all-levels class? A: I am a fairly hands off yoga instructor for a few reasons. One is that I believe the only expert in your body in the yoga room is you. Only you know what feeling these shapes are creating in your body. I may walk around the room and offer light touches to suggest a change, but I will never "deepen" a pose by forcibly pushing on a body.
I have had very well-intentioned instructors cause me injury because they thought they knew better than my body did how far it should go in a forward fold for example. I offer suggestions for structural improvements to poses, but I want students to feel safe and empowered to own their own asanas when they practice with me.
Q: Do you teach the exact same sequence every week or do you change it up regularly? A: Both. I have a monthly focus area and a general sequence planned for the month which allows students to gain familiarity with the poses we're working over the course of more than one class. Within that sequence I make room to build up to more challenging variations as the month progresses, or integrate a new pose to stimulate new movements. So each class has some continuity and some new elements. This keeps it fresh for my regulars, and still allows them to build upon a practice over time.
“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” – The Bhagavad Gita