You’ve probably heard that the yogic path is simple, but not easy. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali lays out the eight-limbed path of yoga and emphasizes how it takes consistent practice over time. Just like you vary other types of physical training to keep your muscles and bones in optimal shape, varying the intensity of physical asanas will keep you from over-use injuries. If you practice daily, it’s great to adapt your routine to keep your body healthy.
Slowing down can be just as powerful as leveling up. In fact, slowing down offers the opportunity to truly focus on your breathing and the sensations of each asana. The true yoga practice is internal. We use the physical practice to quiet our minds and balance our emotions. Of course, some days you really need to move, to have a vigorous flow to get that yoga buzz. But a gentle practice will also help you approach that place of stillness.
What do we mean by gentle yoga?
In general, a gentle yoga class contains additional modifications, a slower pace, and more relaxing or therapeutic poses. When you hold poses for longer, sometimes with the use of props, you’ve got less external stimulation and can find it easier to shift your focus inside. Sometimes with a vigorous asana practice, the emphasis is more physical, and with a gentler flow, you can access your mind and heart more readily.
All the benefits you receive from your yoga practice are the same: muscular strength and flexibility, a calmer clearer mind, and a softer heart. Gentle yoga also contributes to better digestion and aids with insomnia issues. A more gradual approach can feel safer, especially if you’re recovering from an injury, have more physical limitations, or want to ensure you protect your muscles and joints.
Also, if you exercise intensely on a regular basis, a gentler practice is an excellent way to complement your fitness. So, for example, if you are preparing for a 10k or a triathlon, you could take a gentle class on a tough training day and a vigorous Vinyasa on a non-training day. Nobody wants to burn out too soon, right? With a gentler practice, you may also feel more relaxed straight away.
Don’t take our word for all the different ways gentle yoga can help you feel good today. Try one of these gentler classes today to unwind and relax. You deserve to treat yourself.
1. Jackie Casal Mahrou - Anytime Wind Down
2. Kristin Gibowicz - Metamorphosis Flow: The Becoming
3. Shy Sayar - Therapeutic Yoga for Stress, Anxiety, and Insomnia
4. Channing Grivas - Super Lazy Restorative
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