Other Yoga Class Formats???

I can’t tell you how many yoga discussion boards I’m part of through various websites and Facebook. There are lots of interesting discussions ranging in yoga topics galore!

One popular question I often see is the “what should I call my class” topic.  They will describe the class and we in the board’s community suggest all sorts of names. Some are pretty creative.

With that being said, I often wonder while cute, does the name cause confusion to the potential client community? Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn’t. (Cutesy names should always have a class description). Besides the discussion boards, I have lots of opportunities to talk with people on a variety of yoga topics at the gym, work, with neighbors…

Regardless of the source, yoga classes are a big topic and rightfully so.

If you have browsed the various topics I’ve written about, you’ll see that I’ve mainly discussed “Vinyasa” and “Hot Yoga” class formats. (Check those out). However, did you know there were other types of yoga class formats out there???

Check these classes out:

1. VINYASA – This is a “yang” yoga style and anything with the word “Vinyasa” means the practice will be flowing like a choreographed dance with breath being the background beat we all move to. Essentially, you’ll pursue a pose as you inhale and another pose as you exhale. Instructors often introduce breathing cues when the sequence is introduced. Every class will have a different sequence chorography. Some may have music. Some may not have music. Regardless of whether there is music, you’ll move. Vinyasa has other names such as “Flow.” Vinyasa classes can be hot or room temperature. Usually, the word “hot” is in the name if it is a heated room.

2. ASHTANGA – Another type of “yang” class. This type of class also has flowing movements; however, it is different from vinyasa with regards to the design. First of all, the sequence is set and is always the same. Ashtanga is practiced in room temperature and music isn’t typically played. The beginning of the class has sun salutations which are designed to heat up the body. There are built in pose settlings where you hold a pose to find depth (you can call them breaks too) in the sun salutations. Then you’ll move onto the “Primary Series” or “Intermediate Series.” Next, is the “Finishing Sequence.” The rational for pursuing the same poses is there is opportunity to build strength, endurance,  and flexibility within the poses because you are constantly working on them.

3. RESTORATIVE – This is a pretty grounded and static type of class; a “yin” style. You won’t be moving up and down like you do in yang classes such as vinyasa or Ashtanga. Instead, you’ll do a lot of seated and lying poses and you’ll hold these poses for several minutes like 5, 10, or even 20.. You’ll use a lot of props such as bolsters, blocks, straps, blankets, and the wall. The props are meant to fully support the body. The music is usually chill or spa like and the instructor will guide you through a series of poses. This type of class is perfect if you are stressed out, need recovery, or did another workout. I think of it as a yoga spa-like experience.

4. YIN – the name gives it a way. This “yin” class is similar to restorative but the main difference being that you really don’t use props or the props are minimal. You’ll be pretty grounded and have long static poses often held for 3 – 5 minutes. Holding the poses can be intense, but do your best to breath through it allowing your body to slowly release and settle. Breath will be your best friend in this sort of class! Some poses like pigeon seam familiar but the instructor will use other names like swan. After, you come out of a pose, the instructor will cue a short flowing movement or counter pose before moving on. The music will again be more background like restorative. This is the perfect class if you are looking to really deeply stretch your body out but it can be intense even getting out of them. This is why there are counter poses or shortish flows.

5. CHAIR – This class has a prop and its a chair. All the poses will use the chair in some form. You’ll be seated in the chair or you will use it as a support for standing and balancing work. Although chair yoga can be practiced by anyone, it is perfect for seniors, pregnant ladies, people with disabilities, or even those with injuries.

6. FUSION classes have a blend of formats in them. Usually, the blends are yoga, Pilates, cardio, barre, and weight training. Popular fusion classes are called: “Piyo, Warrior Sculpt, YogaFit Strength, and/or Yogalaties.” To name a few… What the classes are called really depends on where you are taking the class at.

So as you can see, there are a lot of class options within yoga. Look at what the gym or studio is offering. Focus on these key words so you’ll have a better idea as to what to expect.

There is nothing worse than an uninformed client thinking they are going to take an active “yang” yoga class like vinyasa but find themselves in restorative (yin). Then these clients whine about it. Don’t be this person!!! However; on the flip side, do we as instructors or managers assume the newbie client should know the difference? Prevention is key! Use fliers and post people to explain what to expect. Maybe have a short demo class prospective clients can sample.

We instructors teach the format that is on the schedule. If it isn’t what the client preconceived, it doesn’t mean the class or the instructor sucked. So if a client throws a temper tantrum and I’ve heard stories, remember it’s them, not you the instructor.

Be informed. Know what’s out there. Or maybe step outside of your box and try something new…. who knows it might be your new favorite class!




About kwarren1970

I am an avid hiker and yogi.
This entry was posted in Beginner yoga, Community Yoga Practices, Creating Yoga Themes, Deep Stretching, Exercise, Exercise Foundations, Learning, listening to your body, mind-body connection, Stress Relief, Stretching, Tension Relief, wellness, Yoga and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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