Loveinvoke Blog

Slow down to build up

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How going back to basics altered my practice

Blog by Laura  [Yogini, Spanish-language guru, precision practitioner]

I started practicing  yoga many years ago by doing the same video over and over.  Then I started taking vinyasa yoga classes and enjoyed the workout I got from those faster-paced classes.  It wasn’t until I went through yoga teacher training that I came to appreciate what a taking a slower approach to my practice had to offer.

I was in a class in which we spent a long time exploring downward-facing dog when I finally got it: seemingly simple poses that we do over and over again in a class (like downward-facing dog) involve a precise set of alignment principles, as well as a lot of preparation.

In open-level and intermediate/advanced classes, you spend less time in the pose, so you typically only hear the most basic instructions.  That’s why I’d recommend that all students at some point in their yoga journey take some basics classes. It will help to create a better foundation that strengthens your overall practice, and you’ll gain a better appreciation for how challenging some of the most basic poses are when you practice them correctly.

In basics classes, the instructor slows things down a bit and is able to give more directives.  As you learn to refine the pose, you strengthen both large and small muscle groups that are engaged.  Spending more time in the pose also allows you to explore it and find out what happens when you make small changes to it.  You can take what you learn to your open level and intermediate/advanced classes and further develop the poses and improve your strength and flexibility in them.

Exploring poses at a deeper level can also help you prevent injury.  Like many people I spent years doing Chaturanga Dandasana (yoga push-up) incorrectly. I suffered the consequences, ending up with pain in my left shoulder. To refine the pose, I studied and worked on the alignment for a long time, coming to my knees each time to keep the pain away.  True to the nerd that I am, I even videotaped myself to see what I was doing incorrectly.  I am now finally at a point that I can do the full pose without pain.

This week, I’ll kick of a three-week series of Thursday night classes, “Essential Elements of Flow,” which will break down some of the most common but challenging poses.  You will be able to use your package for these classes.  I’ve listed the schedule below, along with a few other basics options offered at Invoke. I hope you’ll take advantage of these opportunities to slow down in order to build a better yoga practice.

Essential Elements of Flow:

  • August 15th: Chaturanga Dandasana & Sun Salutations

    • During this workshop, we will work with Sun Salutations A, B, and C and learn steps you can take back to your own practice to build toward a safe, strong Chaturanga Dandasana (yoga push-up).

  • August 22nd: Headstand & Wheel Pose

    • Following a vinyasa-style warm-up, we will work with these Headstand and Wheel Pose to learn the most proper alignment for your current yoga practice.

  • August 29th: Shoulder Stand & Plow Pose

    • Following a vinyasa-style warm-up, we will work with these Shoulder Stand and Plow Pose to learn the most proper alignment for your current yoga practice.

At Invoke, we are lucky enough to have Chuck Crosby and Ahna Hoke as basics instructors!  If you haven’t gone to one of their basics classes yet, I encourage you to try them.

Basics-level classes at Invoke:

  • Ahna: 7pm Mondays & 11am Saturdays

  • Chuck: 7pm Wednesdays & 4:30 Thursdays

  • Laura: 11:30am Sundays

Haehl is a yoga instructor who teaches at Invoke Studio. While she’s great at breaking down the basics, she’s also known to teach some challenging flows. 

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Author: Love Invoke

Invoke Studio is Indianapolis' urban fitness oasis. We are a community-minded space for people who aspire to fulfill the full potential of both mind and body, offering a full schedule of yoga, Pilates, fitness classes and teacher trainings. This blog is a collection of stories, inspirations, thoughts and teachings written by those that love Invoke Studio and is dedicated to all those that love the practice of a fit body and calm mind.

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