This afternoon, I took the Yoga Fundamentals class with Sanctuary’s lovely teacher, Amanda Oakley. I’ve prioritized running over yoga the past few weeks, so I thought I could benefit from relearning the foundations. Let me tell you – whether you’re a complete newbie, or you’ve been practicing yoga for years, you will benefit from taking Yoga Fundamentals.
The class began with my favorite Sanctuary tradition – Amanda asked each of us to briefly introduce ourselves and mention any areas we would like to work on. Answers varied from tight quads to a completely tense body, to just feeling a little cluttered and overwhelmed. I’m not sure about everyone else, but by the end of class, I felt like each of my problem areas was loosened up and stretched out.
What separates Yoga Fundamentals from your typical Vinyasa Flow is that each pose is held longer, because your instructor will be walking you through exactly what each part of your body should be doing – from the top of your head, through your chest, hips and legs, all the way to the palms of your feet. The focus here is on perfecting your poses, rather than sweating or pushing yourself farther than before.
For example, Amanda walked us through Cobra Pose to a level of detail that I had not worked on before. I knew that the focus of Cobra is not to bend your back as far as possible, but actually, to stretch out your spine. But Amanda helped us set up for the pose by telling us to press the tops of our feet into our mats so that our legs were engaged and knees came off the floor; she told us to breathe into our pelvis, push into our palms, and lift forward (rather than up!), and allow our breaths and forward stretch to move our upper bodies away from the floor.
We repeated this process for a number of the fundamental poses: Pigeon, Downward-Facing Dog, Warrior, Lizard, etc., and I cannot stress how much this class gave me in terms of re-educating me on how my body should feel and be reacting to each asana.
The Yoga Fundamentals class is offered a few times a week at Sanctuary, and I would love for you to join me for one! Every teacher brings something new to the table, and there is always room to grow in your yoga knowledge and experience.