I teach two Gentle yoga classes per week at Grassroots Yoga studio here in Christchurch. People often ask if Gentle yoga is the same as “Yin” yoga. I generally find that the long holds in Yin can produce a very intense level of stretch. Also, in the Yin classes I have been to, modifications were not always offered for people with minor injuries. So my answer tends to be “not really”!
My classes are a mix of fluid action and short- or medium-length gentle holds, with guidance in how to monitor and bring ease to your breath, which gives length and mobility to your spine. We focus on smooth unforced movements, postural alignment, relaxation and mental clarity. Modifications and props for particular body differences are the norm, and you will do less weight-bearing on your arms and legs than in a standard yoga class (many poses are done lying down or seated).
Expect to be reminded at key points throughout class to return to awareness of your body-mind state. Even long-term practitioners can benefit from this; Gentle yoga is for students at all levels. It can accommodate pregnancy and may bring relief to those with minor injuries, pain or fatigue.
The aim is to leave feeling both relaxed and more alert!