Gentle yoga is a slower paced style of yoga, with few or none standing postures. You might stay in the same pose for up to a couple of minutes, finding a variation that suits you and your range of mobility. The movement will be soft, looking after the joints, with not so much focus on heating the body, but rather moving with the breath and finding our limits for that day.
I have said it before and I will say it again, yoga is all about balance. I think that the main reason people come to yoga is to balance out stress and stiffness, with calm and flexibility.
There are so many benefits with all types of yoga, such as increased strength, flexibility, body awareness, and lowered stress levels, blood pressure, better sleep etc. (read more about that here).
I think a lot of us can easily understand how moving and stretching the body, getting a sweat on and feeling a burning sensation in the muscles is good for us. We can read all about how moving is good and sitting still is bad. But we are never taught how to relax, so there is no wonder we are all stressed.
This is where gentle yoga comes in, by slowly and mindfully moving our bodies we get to know how they work and what they need. Have you ever found yourself in an awkward, stressful or emotionally challenges scenario, maybe someone said something upsetting or you feel like you’ve made a fool of yourself, only to dive in to the safety of starting to scroll through your phone?
All the technology around us acts as distractions, we no longer have to figure out how, what or why we are feeling something, a quick look at a video of a dog dressed as a human will soon make us forget our unpleasant situation. Coming home after a stressful day at work to sit down in front of the TV is not actually a great way to relax, your stress will simply not be felt or dealt with and then picked up exactly as you left it the following day.
In gentle yoga, we will focus a lot on how things are feeling for us, mainly in the physical to start with. By moving slowly, we have time to notice what feels good, what creates release, what makes us tense and only by realizing this can we start doing the things that makes us feel better.
When we learn more about our bodies we also learn how to interpret the signals it sends us better. For example, we will be able to easier distinguish the difference between actual hunger and cravings, or feel when our bodies are ready to go bed, which helps us fall asleep faster, rather than staying up, missing the “window” and then have trouble sleeping.
Practicing gentle yoga is also a great way to start moving your body again after a break, due to illness, injury or anything else. It will help your faster paced practice due to better body awareness and minimize risk for injuries.