Holy Yoga: what a class looks like

HY what a class looks likeSo, we’ve established that I’m fairly obsessive about things, right?

Right.

One of my biggest fears going into a Holy Yoga class was not knowing what the flow of the class would be.

Really.

Before my first Holy Yoga class, I’d never been any yoga class that wasn’t on my TV. I’m not someone that’s totally comfortable with new experiences.

I like to be prepared.

I know that every teacher is different, but as I plan a six week series to start next Tuesday I thought someone out there might be interested in the class breakdown. These classes are going to be gentle and restorative in purpose, as we root into the Lord to find our rest during the busyness of the holiday season.

And I will add, after taking multiple classes (a day, for nearly a week)  each day at my instructor’s retreat, this is a general idea of how most of the classes ran.

Here’s what an hour-long class will look like…

Welcome: sign in, roll out your mat and get comfortable. I will almost always have you start in mountain pose or simple seated, but child’s and corpse pose are options too.

The start: this is where Holy Yoga differs from other yoga classes. We begin our class with a short devotion and prayer, often in that opening pose. We set our intention for the practice: a verse, a section of verses, readings and thoughts from a book are all possibilities. We’ll return to that intention multiple times throughout class, weaving it through postures.

The working: the more active, almost dance-like part of practice. This is where we flow. Poses might include warriors, down dogs, balance poses. We begin with big movements to warm up the body and move into longer holds in the postures.

And if you don’t know what a pose is, that’s okay. It’s my job as an instructor to give you visual reminders, lots of directives and modification options, and even hand’s on adjustments if you’re okay with it.

After the flow, we slow things down with seated and reclines postures. It’s our cool down time, and when we can really get into some deeper poses.  For this holiday series, I’m planning on shorter working sections and longer cool downs. Those seated and reclined poses can help to release stress while bringing restoration to our bodies in a way that I find especially wonderful. In a regular class, though, that would be flipped with the working part of class.

One thing that we will always focus on throughout the entire class is breathing.

After that slower part, we get to the good stuff. The best stuff. My favorite part of class, and what the entire class has been building to: savasana, final resting pose. It’s that final reclined position on your back, fully relaxed. It’s the purpose of the movement portion of a yoga practice – to tire out both the mind and body so that we can really root into the Lord during that final resting pose. We’ll revisit our intention and it’s when come into a time of guided meditation. That’s not as scary as it sounds, I promise. It’s very simple a time to focus on the intention that we set at the beginning of class and when we open up to what the Lord may have to say to us in this time.

We close in prayer.

I will always try to be available to my students after class. In my experience, a Holy Yoga practice can be an emotional time, but it’s also a time to ask questions about poses. Eventually, my goal is to offer pre or post-class workshops to teach more challenging poses but for this six week series we’ll be focusing on very basic poses.

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