Archive for the ‘yoga classes’ Category

First Rule of the Yoga Fight Club

Friday, December 30th, 2011

yoga teacher training courseBy Jenny Park

Have you ever thought that what was missing from your Yoga practice was… a blow to the head? Apparently, some practitioners in New York thought so, because there are now classes being offered which blend kickboxing and Yoga, known as the ‘Yoga Fight Club.’

Yoga Fight Club is not really held in an abandoned building, and it rarely results in injuries. It is a class that starts with twenty minutes or so of flowing asanas, typical of vinyasa style. The class then includes boxing drills and high intensity cardio. It does NOT include actual combat, or even contact with fellow classmates.

Is this kind of fusion beneficial to the Yoga movement today, or does it water down the practice with topical trends? Margaret Burns Vap, who founded Big Sky Yoga Retreats in 2007, offers hybrid classes with Yoga and hiking, skiing and horseback riding. “I firmly believe that yoga helps you do anything better,” she says, in an article in the Daily Californian newspaper on Yoga fusion classes. Still, one wonders about moments of silence and self-awareness within a class where you punch and kick a la Tyler Durbin. While the goal of a traditional Yoga class may be to make the practitioner conclude feeling grounded and in touch with the body, the goal of many Yoga fusion classes is to make a person feel that they’ve received a cardio workout.

Combining two very different practices may mean that you attract a wide group of students, who would not have participated in the “original” format- or it may mean that you have a group of people disappointed when their expectations are not met. Students may have a poor understanding of one or both practices and feel dissatisfied, leading to lower retention rates. If you choose to offer fusion style Yoga classes, be sure that you have a deep understanding of the mediums you are combining. Taking a weekend Pilates workshop will not make a Yoga instructor an excellent Pilates teacher. Injury rates are higher in classes where the teacher may be unfamiliar with all the movements. Be certain that the class description does justice to the fusion class. Will it be fast-paced or move more slowly? What kind of clothing should participants wear? A well-planned fusion Yoga class can be a joy to students and instructors, but that Canadian Yoga-curling fusion class may live in infamy.

© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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Student Etiquette for Yoga Classes

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

yoga certificationBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

If you are a student, who is planning on attending a local Yoga class, please read on. If you are a Yoga teacher, without safety guidelines for students or firm policies in place, please feel free to use any ideas below for creating the best possible class experience.

Etiquette can make the difference between an enjoyable Yoga class and one that you cannot wait to leave. Encouraging, and practicing, good student etiquette helps everyone have a great experience. Below are constructive tips for Yoga class participation.

Avoid cluttering the space. In some spacious rooms, it is fine to bring a backpack, while leaving your shoes, eyeglasses, and an extra sweater beside the mat during practice. In most classes, however, this inconveniences everyone and crowds those who wish to practice. It also creates an awkward shuffle when the mat is pulled up to the wall for poses. Try not to bring too many items to class, and leave extras outside the studio space. Most Yoga schools, or classes, have a waiting room, sitting room, coat room, or locker room; and it is best to leave excess clothing behind whenever possible.

Do not be late to Yoga class or leave early. Class needs to start on time for the benefit of the entire group. Many people begin to practice Yoga, in order to reduce stress in their lives. Some look forward to the full savasana period at the conclusion. This resting pose is just as important as more active poses, and it changes the feel of the experience, if students get up and leave during this period.

Make room for everyone. Do not leave others without space to lay down their mats by leaving large gaps between mats. Share props if the class is full. Do your best with only one block instead of two, if necessary. Try to be aware of how full the class is, and do not force the instructor to police the room, re-directing mat usage.

Do not bring in food or chew gum. It is distracting and against most Yoga studio policies. Plain water is usually fine, but ask to be sure. Do not wear strong perfume or smoke directly before class. A sponge bath before Yoga training is also a wise precaution.

If you borrow a mat, clean it when you are finished with class. Many studios provide wipes or spray for this purpose. Try to return mats and props to the position in which you found them, such as rolled neatly or stacked.

It is fine to be practicing a modified posture (asana) if you discussed this with your instructor before the class. In most schools, modifications are perfectly acceptable. However, some instructors have different policies in regard to modifications. Therefore, it is wise to arrive early before class and let the instructor know, quietly, before class, if there are any medical conditions that he or she should be aware of – there may be poses or pranayama techniques that are not recommended for you.

Please shut off your cell phone or leave it in your car. Your classmates really want some down time away from technology, and there is no need to be plugged in to an electronic device while practicing Yoga.

© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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How to Make Yoga Classes Safer

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

about safety in yoga classes

By Faye Martins

Quality yoga classes are designed to unite the body and mind in spiritual harmony. Instructors who are leading sessions for beginners, however, will want to make sure that the sessions themselves are as safe as possible. When students are given the proper tools, they can gently move through the target poses without becoming injured or discouraged. Here are four superb ways that classes can be made safe for students of varying skill levels.

1) Monitor the Breathing of the Students

Instructors will be well on their way to running safe yoga classes when they attentively listen to the breathing of their students. Slow, rhythmic patterns will indicate that the body is in exactly the right place. When multiple students are breathing too rapidly, however, instructors will likely need to choose different poses. Yoga sessions, in fact, can be considered hour-long breathing exercises. They are designed to bring various components of the body together. Students should feel exhilarated instead of exhausted when the class is over.

2) Watch for Technically Correct Poses

As students move through the poses, instructors should look for slow and steady movements. If individuals are collapsing out of poses or having trouble holding a pose for the required time, they will have a higher chance of injuring themselves. This is especially true for beginners who may not be as flexible as their veteran counterparts. Poses for beginners might include the tree, triangle, low warrior, high lunge, plank, cow and modified cobra.

3) Use the Right Language

Quality instructors will usually avoid flowery language and instead be as clear as possible. When students are attempting an especially difficult pose for the first time, they will need supervision. The camel and the inclined plane, for example, will require students to carefully contort their bodies into unique positions. The goal is to gently guide students through new poses so that they might even practice them on their own time. Concise language will help students stretch out their muscles without falling prey to unnecessary strains or sprains.

4) Use Accessory Items Correctly

At the beginning of class, fairly bright lighting should be used. Once students have completed their warm up stretching and the instructor is satisfied that each individual is capable of performing the poses correctly, atmospheric lighting can be used. Likewise, all students should have soft mats, which will allow them to complete the session without injuring their backs or necks. When teachers have ensured that all of the safety mechanisms are in place, yoga classes can proceed without any problems.

© Copyright 2010 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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