Yoga can help you build strength, balance and flexibility. The Y offers 29 classes/week in both the Iyengar and Vinyasa styles of yoga. Which one is right for you?
Iyengar Yoga, popularized by the recently deceased B.K.S. Iyengar was actually first introduced to the U.S. here at the Ann Arbor YMCA in 1964! This discipline is characterized by attention to detail within each static pose. Poses are typically held for a few minutes at a time, and props (belts, blocks and blankets) are frequently used to help achieve the proper alignment and to give students more ease and confidence in the asanas (positions).
Vinyasa Yoga offers a more dynamic practice. The word "Vinyasa" means "flow" in Sanskrit, and this practice is characterized by one asana (position) flowing into another in a choreographed set of movements. This practice will build more heat in the body, and moves more quickly than the Iyengar practice.
Please follow the prerequisites when registering for classes. The lower level classes teach the terminology and basic techniques that are required for the higher-level classes. Talk to the instructor if you have questions about your readiness for a particular class.
Gentle Iyengar Yoga 1
This slow paced class offers a methodical and deep yoga practice with extra support, and could be good for people recovering from illness or injury, or people who want a slower paced class. This is not a therapeutic class.
Iyengar Level 1
If you are new to Iyengar Yoga—even if you are fit and familiar with other schools of yoga- you should begin your study in a Level 1 class. You will learn critical fundamentals in Level 1 that are important in higher level classes, such as basic principles of alignment. You will gain strength, flexibility, stamina, and balance, while learning how to use props to facilitate ease in the poses. You will also learn how to set up and practice shoulder stands. You should repeat this class until you feel confident in the concepts presented.
Iyengar Level 1-2
This class is for students who feel they are ready to move on from Level 1. A conversation with your instructor can shed light on what it takes to move to this level. You should know how to set up for and be familiar with the practice of shoulder stands. You will delve more deeply into poses learned in Level 1 and will also be introduced to more complicated poses. Again, you will learn to use props to support your learning journey.
Iyengar Level 2
We recommend a minimum of one year of study in Level 1 and 1-2 before moving to a Level 2 class. A conversation with your instructor can shed light on what it takes to move to this level. Inversions are practiced regularly in Level 2, as are backbends. Poses are studied more deeply, and more complicated poses are introduced and practiced. Props will continue to be used to facilitate ease in the postures. You must have a basic grounding in Iyengar Yoga before participating in a level 2 class.
Guided Iyengar Practice
If you are looking to take your own practice to a new level, this class is for you. Your own knowledge of Iyengar Yoga will be challenged, as you follow the instructor in a guided practice. Confident Level 1-2 practitioners will be fine in this class. This is a two-hour guided practice.
Iyengar Yoga For Pregnancy
The gentle stretches and strengthening poses taught in this class can produce beneficial effects for mother and baby. For new or experienced students at any stage of pregnancy.
Gentle Vinyasa Yoga
Gentle Vinyasa is a softer version of the traditional Vinyasa classes offered at the YMCA. Vinyasa is the alignment of breath, movement, and gaze or focus. This class will blend standing and seated postures as well as some gentle flow. Postures will be executed with gradual steps with some repetition to help the muscles and joints open. This class is ideal for anyone wanting a relaxing stretching and mind workout, as well as pregnant women, seniors, people with injuries and chronic conditions (heart disease, arthritis, muscle-skeletal issues, etc), and people who wish to work on flexibility.
Vinyasa Yoga is a rhythmic, flowing, and dynamic practice that includes attention to detail and is structured around building mindfulness into one's yoga practice. Class will emphasize sun salutations, standing postures, and introduction to some seated postures and back bends. The intention for practice is to build heat and detoxify the body, free the mind from habits, and enliven the spirit.
Vinyasa Yoga for Runners
Yoga for Runners is a class for runners of all abilities and experience. Our aim will be to improve performance and pleasure in running, and to prevent injury. Much of the focus will be on stretching, but we will go deeper than just becoming more limber. We will tone underused muscles, build mental strength and stamina, and begin to correct the body imbalances that can lead to chronic pain and injury. Non-runners are welcome. Appropriate for anyone interested in a shorter yoga class.
Vinyasa Early Sun Salutes
This class will offer plenty of gentle variations of sun salutes to wake up your body and prepare for your day, including sun salutations, standing poses and beginning inversions. Beginners welcome!
Vinyasa Power Yoga
Power yoga is a vinyasa style flow yoga that focuses on moving with the breath to connect the mind and body, engaging the whole body while working the core and building strength and flexibility. Through dynamic, fluid postures, the practice will heal the body, calm the mind, detoxify, and exhilarate the body and mind while focusing on moving with intention, intuition and balance. Uplifting music will be played during this class. You will be amazed at how light, energetic, and clear you feel after class. Open to all levels (beginning to advanced). This will return in a later session.
Intermediate Vinyasa Yoga
This 75-minute intermediate Vinyasa class is meant for students looking to get a little more out of their practice. We will build on the basic Vinyasa class structure and have a continued focus on keeping the body warm through movements and sun salutations. However there will be an increased focus on gaining strength holding selective poses and the attention to the breath. We will also take the time to learn more complicated and challenging postures. * A FIRM BACKGROUND IN YOGA IS REQUIRED, WITH A MINIMUM OF ONE YEAR YOGA PRACTICE RECOMMENDED.*