Yoga Class Styles
Vinyasa (Flow) Yoga
Translated as “to place in a special way” this practice unites mind and body with synchronized movement and breath. Also known as “flow”, vinyasa yoga moves fluidly and mindfully from one asana to the next. This results in a sequential movement that interlinks postures to form a continuous moving meditation.
Yin yoga is a meditative class that moves beyond muscular effort to open and nourish the joints and connective tissue. For each asana the student assumes the appropriate shape, holds the pose for several minutes, and cultivates stillness. This allow the joints to eventually open to their fullest possible range of motion. Yin yoga comes from an Eastern tradition, and each asana is believed to benefit the associated meridian pathways of energy in the body. Yin Yoga balances out a more energetic yang practice, such as vinyasa yoga.
Restorative Yoga, an antidote to stress, is active relaxation. In a completely supportive environment, often with the use of props, the body is alternately stimulated and soothed in a sequence of poses designed to move the spine in all directions. The aim of the class is rest and rejuvenation.
Developed by B.K.S. Iyengar, Iyengar yoga is characterized by great attention to detail and precise focus on body alignment. Iyengar yoga makes extensive use of props, such as cushions, blocks, and straps. These function as aids allowing students to experience asanas more easily and fully than might otherwise be possible. An Iyengar Yoga class is highly verbal and precise, with misalignments and errors actively corrected.
Historically the term Hatha Yoga (meaning forceful) describes all of the physical practice of yoga (known as asanas or postures). These days, Hatha yoga is most often used to describe gentle, basic classes with no flow between poses. A hatha class will more likely be a slower paced class with some simple breathing exercises and perhaps seated meditation. A Hatha class is a good place to learn beginning poses, relaxation techniques, and become comfortable with yoga. Hatha is often translated as ha meaning “sun”, and tha meaning “moon. In Hatha yoga we learn to balance opposites: strength and flexibility, effort and surrender.
Created by Beth Shaw as a way to demystify yoga and make it accessible to the health club clientele. For example, Yoga Fit eliminated Sanskrit terminology and chanting from their classes. Yoga Fit is based on the Hatha style described above. Each class has a warm-up, a work phase including balances and culminates with a cool-down phase that incorporates restorative poses and then final relaxation. Much like a group fitness class, a Yoga Fit class works to enhance balance and flexibility but also includes poses that increase strength and power.
Other Class Styles
Qigong is an ancient Chinese discipline that has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine. Through gentle fluid movements Qigong (pronounced chi gung) gathers and moves our energy (chi). Qigong stretches and tones the muscles and tendons, and loosens and limbers the joints and ligaments. The internal organs and glands are stimulated and massaged. Qigong is a healing modality which opens pathways of energy within the body (meridians), nourishes organs, and increases vitality. In Qigoing and Tai Chi the center of gravity is called the dantien. The practice of Qigong is accessible and beneficial to all ages, physical conditions and abilities.
Tai chi is a centuries-old Chinese martial art that descends from qigong. Tai Chi has its roots in martial arts, but is also practiced for its health benefits, both physical and mental. It involves a series of slow, meditative body movements that were originally designed for self-defense and to promote inner peace and calm. There are many traditional forms of Tai Chi. No matter which style you practice, they all are conducted slowly, deliberately, and gracefully, with each movement flowing seamlessly into the next without hesitation.
Joseph Pilates was a German employed by Scotland Yard as a self-defense instructor in the early 1900’s. With the outbreak of WW1 he was interred as an enemy agent and went on to further develop his exercise system. He trained other German Nationals that were interred including bed ridden or injured men. The exercises were created to be used in a hospital bed or in a small area. In 1926 Pilates Emigrated to New York City and by the 1960 he was working extensively with the New York City Ballet.
Pilates is a method that combines visualization, physical strengthening and stretching of the body to improve blood flow and mental vigor, improve posture, and ultimately create a grace of movement that allows for suppleness and vitality in natural everyday movements.
Pilates is done mostly on a mat and creates a natural flow of movement focused around the stomach, hips, lower back, and buttocks. The mat sequences work multiple muscle groups simultaneously but continually switches the movement to keep it fresh and build stamina in our powerhouse, or core. As a core and resistance based method, it should feel like a workout!
Pilates works to combine the movements; controlled, precise, focused movements in connection with the breath. The mat work is designed to work our deepest core muscles, creating strength and flexibility without the pain associated with conventional exercise. With time, Pilates will give you the personal tools to care of yourself. Autonomy is a powerful tool to promote self-sufficiency when it comes to exercise.
A vigorous class that combines Pilates, yoga and ballet to create muscular endurance. Targeting muscle groups, such as the gluteus, the class uses full range of movements mixed with partial range of movement and pulsing to create fatigue and eventually endurance. This class can tap into the cardiovascular system and is more similar to an exercise class then a yoga class. Participants should expect to sweat, breath hard, and work their core muscles. Barre is a method, not a piece of equipment. Center of Gravity will teach Barre on matts in the center of the studio. Exercise balls, resistance tubing and fun music will be employed to create an overall body workout.
Pitaiyo is a combination of Pilates, Tai Chi, and yoga. It’s also an acronym for “Putting it together, all in your orbit.” Here, “it” refers to positive, joyful energy, and “your orbit” refers to the people and space you surround yourself with. Pitaiyo incorporates deep stretching, flowing movement, balance, coordination, and burn. Each class follows a series you can become better and better with each class you take!”