The Whole Story About Yoga
There's a form of yoga to suit everyone, from the still, quiet practice of Yin to the faster paced, dynamic movement of a Vinyasa class. Read all about the styles Arlene teaches below.
Hatha Yoga is a gentle, slow-paced yoga practice that allows poses to be held and explored for longer periods of time in comparison to Vinyasa Flow. Hatha Yoga is suitable for everyone, but in particular for students who are new to yoga and/or students who are not naturally flexible.
At Whole, a Hatha Yoga class begins with a period of pranayama or mindful mediation, followed by suite of yoga poses aimed at enhancing your strength, balance, mobility and fostering a peaceful connection between the body, breath and mind in an introspective, compassionate way.
No previous experience is required to attend a Health Yoga class. If you are a beginner, it would be useful to have props with you to support your body. Please refer to the FAQ page for more information on the use of props.
Life requires balance. Yoga also requires balance. If you are only doing active, rhythmic 'yang' forms of yoga or exercise, you may discover that Yin Yoga, with its gentle nourishing and yielding qualities, complements and completes your practice. If you don't already have a yoga practice, this is a perfect place to start.
Yin Yoga is a slow and allowing practice that targets the deep connective 'yin' like tissues in the body; the ligaments, joints, fascia and even bone. These tissues can be stressed in an intelligent way to lengthen, strengthen and stay healthy. Unlike muscles that thrive on getting warm, yin like tissues appreciate gentler pressures, applied for longer periods of time. The muscles must be relaxed in order to target the connective tissues effectively; therefore yoga props such as bolsters, blocks, straps and blankets are commonly used to the support the body in class.
A Yin Yoga class comprises an opening period of guided mindfulness meditation followed by a small number of long-held static poses (typically 5-7) which primarily target the navel to knee area of the body. Classes vary; sometimes upper body movements may be integrated into the poses or yang like fusion may be offered. Class concludes with savasana which is an essential period of rest and recuperation for the body.
As poses are held for long periods of time (typically between 5-10 minutes) and time is more important than intensity, this class allows for mini periods of mindfulness. Students are encouraged to seek sensation knowing that some discomfort (not pain) is inevitable when the body is working at its limits. Once the students feels that they have found their 'edge'; that point where there is effort yet ease, they are invited to become still and hold the pose for time, turning their attention inwards and noticing what they are feeling. Interiorising the experience in this way builds intuition and wisdom in the body and allows the student to become their own teacher. Time is more important than intensity in a Yin Yoga class.
Vinyasa Flow offers students the opportunity to build strength, flexibility, mobility and balance through intelligently sequenced, dynamic and creative classes. Class begins with pranayama and/or mindfulness meditation followed by a warming up of the major joints. Sun salutations and seated, supine, prone and twist poses follow, with modifications offered for students' natural variations and abilities. The class culminates in a cooling savasana. Props are highly recommended to support the body throughout.
Students are encouraged to turn their attention inwards and notice what they are feeling in the body. Interiorising the experience in the way builds intuition, interoception and wisdom and allows the student to become their own teacher.
Some previous experience of yoga is beneficial for a Vinyasa Flow class as the pace is faster than the other classes offered. To optimise your first experience of Vinyasa Flow, I recommend first attending some Hatha Yoga classes to become familiar with the poses and consolidate their formation in your muscle memory.