Gentle yoga is pretty much what the name implies, a slower-paced and less strenuous form of yoga. Gentle yoga classes are very popular with older practitioners, beginners, students with injuries or limited flexibility and yogis or any type of athlete looking to supplement vigorous exercise routines with a more relaxed workout.
How it works: familiar hatha yoga poses are modified so that you do not go as deeply into a stretch. You are led into the pose gradually with increased time between the poses. While your teacher may remind you to move with your breath, he or she usually will not emphasize the more elaborate vinyasa sequences or flowing postures, so the workout is not quite as physical. You also do not need to know the poses as readily by name.
Specifically, what modification means in gentle yoga is that you may do more low lunges instead of high lunges, leading to less shakiness in the quad muscles. Other common modifications include half plank (with knees lowered) instead of full plank and keeping your feet closer together in warrior poses, again to put less strain on thigh muscles.
Twists, balancing and inversions are scaled back to the basics, although modifications are usually offered for more advanced students. Also, props are frequently used to help ease your body into position.
Four great benefits of gentle yoga are:
Offers a relaxed learning curve because the teacher will break down and explain the poses as you go with modifications, repetition and step-by-step adjustments if necessary. This slower pace is ideal for beginners as well as older, injured or less flexible students.
Emphasizes relaxation and reduces stress by slowing your breath and movement. The lack of advanced sequences and the lower intensity will help you calm and center yourself throughout the class, not just during relaxation poses. Restorative poses may be included.
Increases flexibility. In addition to improving flexibility in new and older students, gentle yoga is also a good choice for people who are fit and athletic but who are a little stiff in some areas. Stretching and balance poses are simplified and repeated, which trains and challenges the muscles gently and gradually. Gentle hip openers and poses that take you through a muscle’s full range of motion are emphasized.
Provides a gateway to meditation and mindfulness with quiet, simplified and focused movements.
Valley Vinyasa offers Gentle Yoga 6 days a week with classes offered during the day, in the evenings, and on weekends.