Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Free Yoga Friday: Hatha Yoga Flow

By Anytimeyoga @anytimeyoga

The Practice: Hatha Yoga Flow 3 with Sarah at YogaYak.
Instructional/Physical Parameters: Moderate instruction — not super detailed, not super not detailed. A fair amount of the practice involves standing poses and/or sun salutes (but not standing poses linked by sun salutes), so there’s an ability and stamina issue there.
Props: I’m not sure if a belt is mentioned at the time of cow face pose — but I wanted one and couldn’t find mine. (If I’d known about it at the beginning of the class, I would have dug it out before starting.) Additionally, while there was no mention of propping for seated positions (usually with a folded blanket), there’s enough time spent here in various seats that I really would have liked to have one ready.
Length: 42 minutes

On the whole, this is reasonably comparable to last week’s installment, Core Strength & Stretch. It’s a practice that I found on the less vigorous end of moderate — not something I’d classify as a gentle or restorative practice, by any means, but it is something I’d do when I wasn’t really feeling up to pushing myself, for whatever reason.

The main difference I found was that in the amount of verbal explanation and cuing. In the previous installment in this series, I pretty much never had to look at the screen to double check what the instructor was talking about. With this hatha flow, I had to do it maybe 5 or so times, resulting in what I think was probably under 5 seconds but might have actually been nearly 10 seconds of moving slightly out of my pose in order to look at the screen. That said, this is only my first time going through this practice; if I used it regularly I’m sure my need to visually confirm would diminish rapidly.

Additionally, the instruction provided is quite solid. While I wouldn’t recommend it for someone who needs a very lot of cuing, it’s fine for someone who is basically familiar with some pretty common yoga poses.

In terms of the sequence itself, it started with some floor work — supine, seated, kneeling — warm ups. Then some sun salutes and some standing work — triangle, warrior 1, warrior 2, side angle. And back to some more floor work — seated forward fold, pigeon, and others, in and out of down dog.

For modifications, a lot of the poses I commonly associate with strength and learned flexibility — plank/chaturanga, down dog, triangle, side angle, tree — are offered with either explicit accommodations or recommendations not to go farther in a posture than is safe or comfortable. I found fewer modifications offered for more “basic” postures — staff pose, easy seated, janu sirsasana (and I like to have a folded blanket nearby for all of these, even if I don’t use it every time), even pigeon.

Stylistically, I’m not sure this is what I think of when I see the term “flow.” Aside from the sun salutes — which were not rushed but which were held for a single breath in each pose, down dog excepted — poses were held for 3-5 of my breaths. This is not a practice of long holds, but it is also not what I typically thing of as a “flow.” But to be fair, this is not an objective criticism — just acknowledgement that the words I have to describe things (which may or may not be the same words other readers have to describe things) might not be the same words the makers of this video or this site have to describe things.

Finally, at the end, I appreciated that the savasana was good and long, with an excellent and accessible (not so much woo) guided visualization throughout. I would almost do the class again for the visualization alone.

However, when all is said and done, I will probably not try this class again — though almost entirely on account of personal preferences. That is, I tend to prefer practices that are either more decidedly vigorous or more decidedly gentle. Moreover, when I do want a practice of this variety, I don’t generally have a problem creating one of my own. For anyone who was interested in a practice of this style, though, I think this would be a fine one to try.

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