When someone asks you what you do for a living, do you have a good answer? Believe it or not, I get a little stymied. It usually goes something like this:
"What do you do?"
"I teach yoga."
"Really! What kind?"
At this point I kinda just stare and blink and try to come up with a decent answer that doesn't require a whole explanation! The best description I've been able to come up with is "alignment-based, contemplative, and therapeutic yoga."
Then it's their time to stare and blink a little bit.
Usually people know the word Hatha, which is my more succinct default answer. But after teaching for nearly 20 years, it's a lot more than that!
So as I was sitting down to describe the classes that are in the FREE Virtual Open House, I thought it was a good time to lay out the differences a little bit, especially between Hatha and Hatha Flow (both of which are in the Online Yoga Membership, or OYM).
I'd say the difference isn't always clear. Perhaps the answer lies in the intention and design.
Hatha classes (at least the way I teach them) are designed to take more time with instruction, holding poses for longer, and breathing slowly and steadily. These are the classes where we fine-tune and hold still – taking our time to build awareness, strength, focus, and flexibility.
Flow classes aim to achieve similar results, but at a quicker pace. One posture flows into the next, cued by the breath, and leaves less time for enhancements and adjustments. It is best to have a decent understanding of the basic yoga syllabus (warrior poses, triangle, half-moon rising, sun salutations, etc.) to really enjoy a flow class. Flow classes foster endurance, increase confidence, and challenge the mind/body connection, as well as build strength and flexibility.
Now, that being said, there can be times of pause or stillness within a Flow class, and there can be some flow within a Hatha class. There aren't too many hard and fast rules when it comes to sequencing a good yoga practice! (As a former dancer and choreographer, sequencing happens to be one of my super powers ;)
In case you're craving exactly those benefits, you can experience both styles in the Virtual Open House, September 1-9. If you're new to yoga or want to brush up on alignment and philosophy, Strong Foundations is a course full of classical Hatha postures with in-depth instruction, building from the ground up. Some of my most practiced students have loved this course and gotten a lot out of taking it! As Alison S. said just last week,
"It's like potato chips. You think you can just have one, but then you end up eating the whole bag!"
She felt that Strong Foundations was as addicting as potato chips!
Flow to Lay Low has fun and challenging sequences as well, plus a half-hour of quiet, restorative poses to relax and unwind. (Pro tip: if you just want to enjoy a passive, yin-style class to help you heal or get some sleep, simply jump to the last 30 minutes of the recording.)
Elemental Flow packs the same punch as longer flow classes but in a 45-minute framework. Get in and get 'er done!
Ongoing Hatha classes are the fan favorite in the membership. We meet twice a week on Zoom (and have for years!) where our yoga practice responds to the needs in our world, our spirits, our minds, and our bodies. Sometimes we focus on a theme or a book, sometimes we keep it light and do a little bit of everything.
Stop and Give Me 20! is a bonus course I'm creating in response to student requests! If you are running short on time but want a good practice, twice a month you'll get a quick blend of both Hatha and Hatha Flow in 20-minute practices.
Registration is FREE, it's now open, and I'd love to see you there! This is our FOURTH Virtual Open House, and I hope that, once again, it's a fun way to get you back on your mat as we head into September!
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