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Practice with Clara

Join Clara for a slow Hatha class that invites you to investigate the root chakra, Muladhara.

This class is designed for yogis of all levels and emphasizes grounding, connecting to the earth, and developing a deeper breath. With this slower-paced class, your nervous system will shift into rest and digest mode which helps the body soften and relax.

Style: Hatha

Duration: 30-min

Level: Open-level

Props: 1-block

Focus: hips, pelvis, glutes

Location: Viva La Familia Productions Studio, Vancouver BC

To begin your slow Hatha-class, come onto your back, bend your knees, and place your feet on the ground. Feel your connection to the Earth as you breathe deep into your lower abdomen.

A longer exhale calms the nervous system and shifts the body from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic is responsible for the body’s fight or flight response, whereas the parasympathetic shifts the body into rest and digest mode. To relieve emotional and physical tensions that build up in the body, deepening the breath tells your nervous system to settle and undo the work of the sympathetic nervous system when we are in fight or flight mode.

This class focuses on the lower abdomen, inner thighs, hips, pelvis, and legs. To ground and settle over-excitement, anxiety, and stress, connecting to the lower body literally helps us center.

The root chakra is located at the base of the spine, otherwise known as Muladhara, and is responsible for our feelings of security, connection to the earth, and our connection to safety, family, and home. When we are out of balance in our root chakra this is often expressed as fear and anxiety.

To balance and connect to the root chakra, staying low to the ground, strengthening the legs, and focusing on the lower abdomen and pelvic area may serve in the yoga practice.

Begin on your back and exhale to let go of anything that came before your class and may come after your class. Use this time to connect to yourself so you can be more present, connected, and grounded when you engage with your partner, children, or community.

Poses in your hatha yoga class include:

Ardha Ananda-Balasana (half-happy baby pose) to release and stretch the inner groins and pelvis.

Sucirandhrasana (reclined pigeon pose) stretches the outer thigh and releases the outer glutes.

Supta Padangusthasana (reclined hand to toe pose) opens the hamstrings on the extended leg.

A brief Pavanamuktasana (wind-relieving pose) is followed by Supta Matsyendrasana (reclined spinal twist).

After you twist, you’ll move through a flowing variation of Setu Bandhasana (bridge pose).

Rest on your back and take Mula Bandha, the root lock in yoga. Mula Bandha is one of three bandhas that enhance the flow of prana (life force). The contraction of the pelvic floor muscles, the perineum, and the transverse abdominals help to engage Mula Bandha. This is also a method to strengthen the deep core muscles to develop more strength in the lower abdomen.

Come up to sit on your shins or a block for neck release. We tend to carry a lot of tension in our neck and neck stretching is a quick and simple way to release tension that accumulates in the neck, chest, and shoulders.

Stay seated for cat/cow stretching to release the back body and front of the chest before making your way into a seated twist.

From the twist, you’ll fold into a variation of Janu Sirsasana (head to knee forward bend) that focuses on stretching the side waist, hamstrings and IT band of the extended leg.

Complete your practice sitting cross-legged. You can use a block or bolster, or any other props and position that serves, for Nadi-Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing).

This style of breathing reduces stress and anxiety by lowering the heart rate and purifies the energy channels of the body so that you can breathe with ease as you move into the rest of your day.