Yoga with Hannah

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What is Yang Yoga, and how does it differ from Yin?

Most forms of Hatha yoga practices are yang. This includes Astanga Vinyasa, Vinyasa Flow, Iyengar, Bikram… Basically any form of yoga where the focus is on muscular work and effort. Postures which are active involve the rhythmic contraction and release of muscles. Although it is impossible to totally isolate muscle from connective tissue, the difference is the focus. In Yin you are trying to feel your bones, focusing on the areas directly around your bones, taking the attention deeper than the more superficial muscle layer of the body.

Which is better for you, Yin or Yang Yoga?

Neither. They are complementary and both necessary for harmony and balance. Yang Yoga provides immense benefits as it strengthens and stretches our bodies and minds. Yin however, better prepares the body and mind for stillness, such as in meditation.

How does Yin Yoga work?

Yin Yoga works by stimulating and stretching deep connective tissue, the dense material that most closely surrounds the joints of the bones. By working in a unique, gentle and passive way, a special sense of ease and lightness is felt in the body and mind. Connective tissue, unlike regular muscle tissue, responds best to long held (2-5 mins) passive stretches (that is, with muscles relaxed).

Do you only teach Yin Yoga?

No. I tailor my classes to individual requests and needs. If an individual has a very sendentary lifestyle, they may require a very ‘yang’ practice. If they have a very active lifestyle generally, but a very sedentary day, likewise a more ‘yang’ practice is necessary.

Is Yin suitable for everyone?

Mostly. As with everything, there are times in our lives and some individuals for whom it's not an appropriate time to practice Yin (connective tissue disorders for example), however, I have found that even the hyper flexible have benefited mentally from the practice of Yin. I practiced Yin during pregnancy with twins, however I would caution others against doing this unsupervised.

Do you need to be flexible?

Contrary to popular opinion, yoga is not about flexibilty. Rather it is about how you can rid your body of distracting discomforts, in order to focus on the ulitmate goal of mastery of the mind and Union with the higher Self.

Is it safe to stretch joints?

Yes. Moderately stressing the joints in a gentle passive way does not injure joints. Just as lifting a weight does not injure muscle if done safely and correctly.

Many people are, rightly, scared of exercising the joints as they think of exercise only in terms of the over-represented rhythmic ‘yang’ forms of exercise. If we exercised the joints like muscles, we would indeed damage them, which is why we contract our muscles in yang yoga, to protect our joints. In yin however, by relaxing the muscles we can target the connective tissues, and stretch them in a gentle, passive, safe manner. Both yin and yang exercise methods can be harmful if not exercised correctly and carefully.

When can I begin Prenatal Yoga?

Prenatal Yoga can be practiced from the first trimester. Especially if you already have a Yoga practice, or are used to another form of more strenuous physical exercise. However, most women tend to wait until the end of the first trimester to start attending group classes, so the majority of the group class content in suitable for 2nd/ 3rd trimesters. However, if you wish to practice Yoga in the first three months of your pregnancy, please contact me and I will advise you.

I have never practiced Yoga before, which class is best for me?

If you have injuries, special circumstances, limited time to commit to a regular class, concerned about getting technique, are very shy or have specific goals I would highly recommend 1:1s- at least to start. I have seen outstanding results and progress in every single 1:1 student I have taught. Otherwise contact me to ask which class would be best for you. I currently offer one weekday daytime drop-in and one at the weekend.

Do you teach meditation?

I do not currently offer specific meditation classes, although some meditation is included in all of my Yoga classes. Yin Yoga particularly is very meditative.

If you wish to arrange a meditation class, then please contact me directly