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What is Gentle Yoga.. and is it for you?

Updated: May 16, 2023

There are so many different names for Yoga classes, as well as Yoga ‘styles’, so it’s sometimes difficult to know which one to go for and what’s going to suit your individuality and needs. It’s also important to connect with the teacher, especially if you’re investing money into it.

I’ve been leading Gentle Yoga Practices since I first qualified 4 years ago. I ran two classes around Bournville & Kings Norton in Birmingham and the attendees ranged from complete beginners, some had been practicing for a little while (on and off), some were retired, there were young mums, carers and some with health conditions, such as Fibromyalgia.

Over time, it was great to witness and hear their experiences of how the gentle yoga practice was helping them through daily life, reducing discomfort, stiffness, anxiety, depression and easing chronic pain. Some of the older members were amazed at how they were able to get up and down off the floor much more easily than when they first started, and this was from one session per week!

I think Gentle Yoga can be for everyone, as it's the most accessible. It’s suitable for beginners, older adults, pregnant people, those with health issues, mobility conditions and disabilities, those recovering from injury, those who enjoy a slower paced practice or a wide range of Asana from flow to slow. It’s important to remember that not every style of Yoga is going to be for everyone, not every group class out there will be suitable to every individual and if you do have a medical condition, it’s always best to discuss this with your GP and with the Yoga teacher before starting. The great thing about gentle yoga is that the movements are slow and mindful, which encourages you to really listen in and choose the option that works for you. My aim is to help you to feel empowered and compassionate towards yourself. I'm currently training to be a Somatic Teacher and the principles of Somatics is to move slowly, with an internal awareness of your experience, to help create a deeper mind-body connection - something that can become disconnected at any stage of life.

Slowing down and connecting to your body is not always an easy task, and I know this from personal experience. It can be challenging if you are new to Yoga or have been through certain situations in your life where you have maybe disconnected from yourself out of fear, protection or lack of trust in yourself. There are many reasons and circumstances behind this and you aren’t alone.

I spent years not listening to my body’s signals, not giving it what it needed and doing far too many things that weren’t good for me, physically and mentally. Through my Yoga practice, and finding exercise or movement that empowered me, I’ve learnt to reconnect to my body and find ways of regulating my nervous system, my emotions, my thoughts and not pushing my body past it’s limit.

My aim now is to give you the opportunity to explore different ways of moving and experiencing your body, breath and mind, by providing a variety of options so that you can decide where to take it. Maybe your body isn’t up for Downward Facing Dog on that particular day or you want to sit up, rather than lie down or perhaps you want to use a chair instead of getting down on the floor. Everything in a Yoga class should be a suggestion and I feel it's important to provide options so everyone feels includes. I want each of my members / students to know this when they attend a practice with me.

My Gentle Yoga group sessions, aim to honour your individualities and your different stages of practice and life. I set the foundations of Yoga Asana to help you find steadiness, functional movement for more mobility and strength in your body, using props to assist but at the same time making space for you to rest, switch off, practice meditation, deeper, conscious breathing and help you learn how to self regulate your nervous system.

Gentle Yoga brings you into the rest and digest state, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. It invites you to deeply connect with your body, learn to understand what it needs and provide a little more ease throughout the day, physically, mentally and emotionally. Somatic Movement and Experiencing helps you retrain your brain out of the bad habits formed throughout your life which can cause discomfort and pain.

My Gentle Yoga Class at The Hub Hazelwell, Kings Heath, is aimed at older adults, but many can benefit from this practice. I also work 121 with people who have health conditions or would like more individual support, as 121 gentle yoga means it’s tailor specifically to the client and we work through exactly what you need, adapting the practice depending on how you feel in the moment.

To sum up, Gentle Yoga is simply Yoga, the practice of union; connecting mind, body and spirit and helping you to feel more at ease, comfortable, open and expressive. It helps you understand and work through your emotions and find safety and trust within yourself. When we feel safe and regulated, we are able to support others, our community and environment.

I invite you to join me for a Gentle Yoga practice and you can decide if it's for you or not, but definitely don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

Where to find me!

Join me in-person…

Block Booking during term time at the Hub Hazelwell... 3 drop-in spaces are available during each block and these are first come first served.

Find out when the next block is... or enquire about a drop-in session.....

Or are you in need of a 121?

Contact me to discuss your needs!

Try out one of my YouTube practices….

Gentle Yoga Morning Practice

Thank you so much for taking the time to read, I hope you enjoyed it!

See you soon!

I hope to see you soon!

With Gratitude, Sophie xx

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