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Your Guide to the Various Styles & Levels of Yoga

The Sun is the symbol of divine Light that is coming down and Gayatri gives expression to the aspiration asking that divine Light to come down and give impulsion to all the activities of the mind.

– Sri Aurobindo –

Hello, fellow friends on the path,

We’ve been blessed, here in Vancouver, with lots of sunshine the past few days. The light has such a strong effect on my mind and mood. It goes perfectly with this week’s theme of Gayatri Mantra. The power and energy behind this mantra give me so much energy!

I’m looking forward to chanting it with you during the LIVE class today at 11am PST. 

This mantra is known as the Mother of all Mantras, as it’s one India’s oldest mantras, dating back to the Rig Veda – the oldest written text of India.  The mantra has three parts: Adoration, Meditation, and Prayer. 

Here’s a great source to read more about Gayatri. 

This mantra is long and can be confusing, so below are the words for you to read while we chant.  

 

Gayatri Mantra
oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tat savitur vareṇyaṃ
bhargo devasya dhīmahi
dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt 

One translation I love: 

The eternal, earth, air, heaven
That glory, that resplendence of the sun
May we contemplate the brilliance of that light
May the sun inspire our minds.

*Translation by Douglas Brooks.

 

Today’s class will open with the mythology and mantra for Gayatri before moving into the vinyasa portion of class where we’ll have 45-minutes together to dance in our bodies.

Today’s peak pose is shoulderstand. This pose is not recommended for those working with neck or shoulder injuries/sensitivity’s. For pregnant goddesses, if inversions were not in your practice prior to your pregnancy, please do the modification.. The rest of the class will be accessible for all bodies, and I’ll offer modifications for the peak pose. 

 

Recommended props for today’s class:
2 Blankets
1 strap
2 blocks
1 bolster

 

FYI: We’re breaking down the LIVE recording into three separate classes so that you have more options of classes depending upon how much time you have and what you’re looking for. 

  1. The full 60-minute mythology & vinyasa class.

  2. The 45-minute vinyasa class (great for those tight on time) that will not include an intro and will start standing. 

  3. The 15-minute mantra & meditation class. 

 
The 45-minute and 60-minute versions are added to the New Releases playlist, and the 15-minute class will be added to the Mantra & Meditation playlist

I wanted to create 3 opportunities for you to connect to your body and breath. Choose the class depending on how you feel and where you are at in the PWC Program.

Remember: it’s better to take rest days before you start to feel tired and sore. Rest is a huge part of the practice (it’s why Savasana is so important), and where mantra & meditation classes may complement your daily yoga practice.

Here’s the info on today’s class:

The Divine Light of Gayatri 

Join me for a 60-minute class inspired by one of the oldest mantras of India, Gayatri. I’ll start the class with an origin myth of the mantra, then we’ll chant it together. After we’ll dive into a 45-minute vinyasa practice moving working up toward the queen of all poses, shoulder stand, Sarvangasana. 

SPOTIFY MUSIC PLAYLIST
The Divine Light of Gayatri (online)

Your Guide to the Yoga Styles on PWC

 

Developing the habit of practicing yoga every day has many positive benefits to one’s overall mental and physical health. Knowing when to push our bodies and when to take rest is an essential aspect of any wellness program, similar to creating a nutrition plan that includes the foods that are good for us and the foods we love.

Practice yoga every day to:
  1. Decrease stress and anxiety
  2. Lower blood pressure
  3. Support flexibility
  4. Enhance mobility
  5. Build strength
  6. Increase energy
  7. Lessen back and joint pain
  8. Boost bodily awareness
  9. Connect to community
  10. Reinvigorate health and healing

Switching up the class style and level may help you create a daily routine where you feel good, strong, and confident after class. 

Introduction to the Styles of Yoga on Practice with Clara

Hatha Yoga

What it is: Hatha yoga involves physical poses (asanas) and breathing techniques (pranayamas) to create better alignment within the body. Hatha yoga translates from Sanskrit as “ha,” meaning “sun” and “tha” meaning “moon,” to refer to the balancing of opposites. Hatha yoga strives for balance by uniting such opposites; a Hatha class generally involves strengthening and heating poses and lengthening and passive postures to present a well-rounded class for participants to build strength, enhance flexibility, and increase overall mobility.

Hatha yoga is not presented in a fluid sequence like vinyasa yoga; instead, the emphasis is on the postures and not the transitions in a vinyasa yoga class. 

How to practice: This yoga style is excellent for beginners, as the class’s pace tends to be slower for new yogis to get a better idea of each pose and learn the proper alignment. Hatha is also a great option for those recovering from illness or injury as strength and mobility are regained

Slow Flow

What it is: A slower-paced vinyasa class. Benefits include sequencing that links with ease and some creativity to the next pose so practitioners can shift from pose-to-pose with the inhale and exhale of breath to build heat and keep a semi-dynamic pace.

Slow Flow is the next step to Vinyasa yoga; those new to the practice may wish to try Slow Flow classes before advancing to Vinyasa yoga. 

How to practice: Slow Flow is great for beginners as it introduces the movement and breath between the poses. Slow Flow is also a great option for those recovering from illness or injury and pregnant yogis, as the sequencing is less advanced, and the pace is much slower than a typical Vinyasa yoga class.

Vinyasa Yoga 

What it is: Vinyasa yoga translates from Sankrit roughly as “to place in a special way,” which refers to linking each movement to the breath. Vinyasa yoga is defined by the unique sequence of postures and transitions between each pose; the fluid and dynamic transitions, intentional breathing techniques, and music separate vinyasa from Ashtanga yoga.

The intensity of vinyasa is similar to that of an Ashtanga practice; however, the variety in asana, pranayama, music, theme, and transitions allow for a break in routine from the traditional Ashtanga practice. 

How to practice: Vinyasa yoga is for those who have knowledge of the basic yoga poses and how to breathe. Understanding Ujayyi breath is necessary to flow through the practice and link each posture to the breath. The teacher and style of vinyasa will also determine the intensity and level. Vinyasa may be segmented into Prana Flow, Slow Flow, and Power Yoga. 

Prana Flow 

What it is: Prana Flow Yoga is a yoga style developed by Shiva Rea; this practice embodies the rhythm and flow of the breath as one moves through the poses. This yoga style is typically set to music, has an energizing quality, and utilizes different pranayamas throughout the movement practice.

Prana Flow yoga aims to move the prana (life-force, vitality) through the body to stimulate and direct the body’s energy. 

How to practice: Yogis of all levels may do prana Flow as it includes movement and dynamic breathing techniques to energize the body and calm the mind. 

Power Yoga

What it is: Power yoga is more vigorous and dynamic than traditional yoga; it is faster, more intense, and focuses on building strength and burn calories. There is less of an emphasis on meditation, chanting, and restoration. Power yoga enhances strength, mobility, and flexibility through an active standing series. An improvement in physical health and mental stamina are the benefits of power yoga.

Power yoga may also be called Core Yoga or Detox Yoga to emphasize building strength and enhancing overall health.

How to practice: This yoga style is for yogis who have a basic understanding of yoga postures and breathing techniques as the pace of power yoga classes is much faster than traditional Hatha and flow yoga. Due to the vigorous style and endurance, Power yoga is for those who’ve been practicing yoga and know the various postures. 

Restorative Yoga

What it is: Restorative yoga is a yoga style that features the heavy use of props to help the body soften and receive each of the poses. Each pose is held for approximately  8-12 minutes in restorative yoga, and there is no muscular engagement. The goal is for the muscles to relax into the posture, hence props, to encourage a passive release in mind and body. The purpose is to release tension through passive stretching. Props used may include bolsters, blankets, sandbags, dowels, blocks, straps, eye-pillows, mats, and cushions. 

Visualization practices such as body scan and chakra workpranayamas, and yoga nidra may be included in a restorative yoga class to add to the Bhavana (mood). 

How to practice: Restorative yoga is suitable for yogis at any stage of the practice, from beginners to advanced yogis. This yoga style is especially beneficial for those who could use meditation and relaxation to restore between bouts of intense physical exercise such as running, cycling, swimming, or hiking. 

Restorative Yoga PWC:

Just Be
Quick Chill

Yin Yoga

What it is: Yin yoga is a slower-paced style of yoga that features longer holds and props to facilitate the stretching of connective tissues. Like restorative yoga, yin yoga may be a meditative practice to destress and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to decrease the ‘flight or fight’ response and encourage a state of calm. 

Unlike restorative yoga, where the main goal is to release into a passive stretch, yin yoga works to release the fascia to strengthen and lengthen the connective tissues that support the joints. Poses are held for approximately 3-5 minutes. Yin yoga may improve joint mobility, posture and release stress and tension in the mind and body. 

How to practice: Yin yoga is suitable for yogis at any stage of the practice, from beginners to advanced yogis. This yoga style is especially beneficial for those who need to stretch and increase flexibility to enhance additional physical exercise such as running, cycling, swimming, or hiking.

I hope to see some of you today at 11 am PST for the LIVE class.


Sending love and a virtual hug, 
Clara & the Team. 

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1. What is the Practice with Clara Membership & App?

Practice with Clara is an online platform and Apps that allow you to take your yoga with you anywhere, anytime! With hundreds of classes in various styles, including Hatha, Vinyasa, Restorative, Yin, Prenatal, and Meditation, there’s something for everyone at any level of the practice. The Practice with Clara Membership provides a monthly or yearly subscription package with the first 7-days free for you to experience the courses. 

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What you receive in Reconnect | 30-Day Challenge

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The biggest thing is to always listen to your body; your body is the greatest teacher.

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