Vinyasa yoga is also called Flow yoga, since the poses run together in a smooth way, like a dance. The breath is an essential part during this dance, since the series of movements are synchronized with the breath. Generally speaking, upward movement correlate with inhalations of the breath, and downward movements with exhalations. Vinyasa yoga has evolved from Ashtanga yoga over time. There are now many different styles of Vinyasa or Flow yoga. Vinyasa can be translated from Sanskrit into ‘connection’ referring to a connection between movement and breath. Another translation can be ‘variations within parameters’. A sun salutation sequence is a perfect example of a Vinyasa dance, because each movement in the series is done on an inhalation or an exhalation. Basically, any sequence of flowing from asana to asana can be called a Vinyasa dance. During a Vinyasa yoga practice you can expect a lot of variety; one class is focused on backbends and during another class you spend time practicing arm balances. There is a reasonable amount of freedom within this yoga style which allows teachers to personalize their classes.
“Those who flow as life flows, know they need no other force”
Yin yoga is a style of yoga founded by Paulie Zink, a Taoist yoga teacher and martial arts expert. It is a combination and mixture of traditional Hatha yoga and several disciplines from the Chinese Taoist tradition – such as Tao Yin, Qi Gong and Kung Fu. In addition, Paulie Zink included yoga postures, variations, visualization and techniques developed by himself. In the Chinese philosophy, Yin and Yang symbolize the duality in the world around us – opposites interacting with each other. These opposites cannot exist without each other. Yang involves movement, change, activity and masculinity. Yin in contrast refers to stillness, calmness and femaleness. Hatha yoga and most of the other Western yoga practices are generally Yang orientated, since they are focused on muscles and movement with an emphasis on stretching the muscles. On the contrary Yin yoga is an essentially quiet practice and therefore a perfect preparation for meditation. In Yang asanas the muscles are addressed in particular. While during Yin yoga the focus is on the connective tissues, especially in the hips, pelvis and lower spine, including tendons, ligaments and joints. These Yin tissues are generally not addressed in more active styles of yoga. Yin yoga is certainly suitable for almost all levels of students. A main skill you require or develop while practising this style of yoga is patience. Since you stay in the postures for a reasonable amount of time, generally two to five minutes, but possibly up to twenty. Gravity and time are your main props. The form of asanas can be taken loosely and you let go of your muscles as much as you are comfortably able to. To stay in postures for a length of time is where Yin yoga’s benefit lies: to allow time and gravity to stretch the connective tissues around the joints. Over time, practicing this style of yoga can lengthen the tissues and increase the range of motion. To illustrate: muscles account for about forty percent of the resistance against the body’s flexibility, while connective tissue accounts for about fifty percent. Yin yoga is a perfect complement to the dynamic and muscular Yang styles of yoga. Most people are used to move in their daily life and are often in a rush to get from one place to another. While in a Yin yoga pose, you are not moving, you stay exactly where you are in the moment. This soft body approach results in benefits which are extremely useful in our hectic and busy daily lives. It allows you to live with a more flexible and open body and mind.
“Patience is a form of wisdom. It demonstrates that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time”
During the prenatal yoga classes we practice a mix of strengthening and dynamic movements, as well as restorative and relaxing yoga postures. Both are important during pregnancy, when your energy levels differs from day to day and your baby and your body changes so quickly. There is also attention for different breathing techniques, affirmations, meditation and visualizations. How you feel is the focus, because perfection is not our goal during yoga. It is more important to feel than to think during the yoga postures. One of the reasons that yoga is so healing during pregnancy is that we are encouraged to move out of our head and into our body. This helps to bring you into a feeling state which will be helpful during labour. When we are able to stop our overactive mind, we are able to be guided by the wisdom of our body. The perfect labour doesn’t exist – there are so many things that can happen how well prepared you think you are. Yoga can help you to accept and let go of expectations. Pregnancy is just the start of a journey towards motherhood, because labour is only a bridge towards your new life. Many of the challenges you are facing during pregnancy, are preparing you for the bigger challenges of motherhood. Your yoga practice can remind you to put yourself as mother at the first place, because from an empty cup you can’t pour.
“A baby fills a place in your heart, that you never knew was empty”
Mama and Baby Yoga
The aim of this class is to make the whole body flexible and strong again after your pregnancy with your baby close by. There will be special attention for the pelvic floor and the belly, since these are weakened after your pregnancy and delivery. Often your back-, shoulder, and neck muscles are tired and overloaded, because of the carrying, lifting and feeding of your baby, hence we will give special attention to those parts too. You can involve your baby with the exercises in a playful manner. It is not only beneficial for you to move and relax your body, but you will also strengthen your emotional bond and the senses of your baby will be stimulated. The classes will take place in a relaxed environment and the needs of your baby come first, you can always feed, take care, or calm down your baby whenever it is needed. It is a wonderful way to get to know your changed body again and to exchange experiences with other mothers. In addition, the breath- and relaxation exercises can support you while being faced with the many challenges on your path as a mother. Every class will be a different experience with your little one. You can start approximately 6 weeks after your delivery. You are also welcome if your baby is older and if you have never practiced yoga before.
“Yoga does wonders for the mind and body and if anyone can benefit from that, it’s frazzled new mums.”