Chair Pose with a twist in prayer position
Hat-ha yoga, or some variation of it, is what most people in North American are practicing. Hatha is a sanskrit word which describes physical posture work, just a small aspect of the whole study of yoga. Some variations of hatha include Ashtanga, Hot, Kripalu, Iyengar, Sivananda, and Yin Yoga. All these styles are based on a basic set of physical postures or poses, called asanas.
Some types of yoga are more vigorous than others. At Aware Yoga, you will practice a gentle hatha style focused first on syncing breath with body movement. You will learn traditional yoga poses and work at them with instruction to whatever is your personal ability, paying close attention to what works best for you. Options and deeper versions of all poses will be demonstrated so that everyone can find their way into the most beneficial pose for their own mind, body and spirit.
Hatha yoga can also be considered a physical form of meditation. Each class will start with a short segment of quiet, where we practice bringing our awareness to the present moment in order to gain the most benefit from the rest of the experience. Throughout the class you will learn to focus on how exactly your body feels, and how your breath and body move together, keeping your mind completely with your body and breath in order to have an integrated experience. Each class ends in sivasana; a resting pose where we continue to explore techniques to help still our minds ... the first step towards developing a more formal meditation practice.
Together with postures and meditation, pranayama, or breath awareness and control is used throughout the class to assist with keeping mind and body in union. Some kinds of breathwork are invigorating and energizing, while others are calming and relaxing. We usually spend some time each class practicing specific breathing techniques which have much benefit in their own right. We often use alternative nostril breathing as a way of moving back into a quiet, contemplative state before final relaxation.