A balanced, harmonious, fully-effective yoga practice always allows for plenty of work to be done without struggle, with comfort, ease, discipline, and stability. Far beyond pushing the body to physical extremes, cultivating a peaceful mind offers vital support in keeping the whole system healthy this season. It’s about wellness on every level, not merely physical fitness.
Tension is physical because it’s mental, and vice versa. Gentle yoga allows us to meet ourselves where we are — New York City, one of the most exhilarating, stressful cities in the world. Slowing down might seem counter-productive in a yoga class, so we’re here to offer five reasons to embrace a gentle practice:
1. Yoga is holistic — for body, mind, and spirit. Gentle practice gives the mind the chance to connect closely with itself, with body, and with breath. Meditation is not about using the mind to dominate the mind, but rather about learning the nature of the mind, letting thoughts run free and exhaust themselves, then enjoying the quiet state that arises naturally. This peaceful mental framework is the foundation of health.
2. Yoga is about abiding in your calmness, not about doing 108 Sun Salutations. Observing and moving with the breath in a way that feels natural and supportive never produces struggle, and prepares us for real stillness by allowing us to get comfortable and strong in our bodies. In many vigorous asana classes, breath often loses the spotlight to sequencing and gymnastic movements. Gentle practice gives the body the chance to find relief in itself. Life is intense enough!
3. Learning how to breathe deeply, consciously, and evenly will relieve stress on and off the mat. Breath is the principle means to work with the body and mind as one vehicle, safely and effectively. Slowing down with your breath is a sign that your practice is advancing, no matter what kind of capabilities your body has.
4. Yoga should be done for pleasure — because it feels good to release restriction around the heart through breath and body movement. When we let go of physical intensity as a means to fight tension, we learn total patience, that there is strength to be found in ease, and freedom in not pushing ourselves. And you’ll still gain plenty of physical strength and flexibility in the process.
5. Yoga is for you, as you are, now. No where to get to, no goals to achieve, just giving yourself the time to experience your inner self at peace. And when you take care of yourself, when you learn to hold yourself, you prepare yourself to give that same kind of support and care to those around you.
Slowing down awakens us to the subtle yet profound changes that a genuine yoga practice brings about — across the mental, emotional, and spiritual levels, making for a holistic experience of consciousness, happiness, and freedom. Our Hatha Candle Light, Hatha Restorative, and Hatha Level I classes are the perfect opportunities to decompress and fully enjoy being the calm, breathing wonder that you inherently are, now!
OM OM OM