Hatha Therapeutics at Yoga Tree
Yoga therapeutics have interested me since I took a Core Therapeutics class with a favourite teacher, Shannon Cluff, when I was at school in Vancouver. This class focused on movements that at first seemed simple, but by the 5th rep had you shaking and working little stabilizing muscles you didn’t even know you had! I would walk out of that class feeling three inches taller, and completely free of the low back pain that I developed through postural imbalances at that time. I have yet to find another class like it, and have been keeping an eye out for therapeutics classes ever since.
So, you can imagine how excited I was to learn that Yoga Tree had added Hatha Therapeutics classes to our schedule! While the focus of these classes is different than that core therapeutics class, the concept of yoga as a tool for healing runs strong in both. As an added bonus, Saje Wellness has provided some of their aromatherapy products for these classes that add to the therapeutic aspect of the class.
Our amazing instructors Alexa and Peggy have been teaching the classes at our Yonge and Eglinton location on Mondays and Wednesdays, respectively, from 11:45am-12:45pm. While they are both Hatha Therapeutics classes, each of these wonderful yogis has a different take on both the practice and the integration of the aromatherapy aspect.
Alexa teaches Hatha Therapeutics like a fusion of Gentle Hatha and Yin, focusing on extension and opening of the spine and reclined or seated poses. This class avoids poses that cause blood to rush to your head or heart, and is focused on achieving a sense of grounding. Movements in class mimic movements needed for everyday life, which makes it a great class for anyone dealing with chronic tightness or coming back from rehabbing an injury. She hopes this class provides a space for students to experience whatever is going on in their bodies, and to really live out their emotions and various sensations.
Peggy’s classes are more Restorative in nature, with supported poses being held for long durations of time, some for even up to 20 minutes! She is mostly focused on the stillness that the long-held and fully-supported restorative postures can bring, and hopes her students experience that blissful meditative state where “they feel as if they don’t know where they went.” She also believes that the calm that can be found in restorative is a great tool for people to learn to bring into their lives amidst any sort of stress or chaos.
Aromatherapy and Yoga
As for how the aromatherapy is incorporated into the classes, Saje has provided roller balls, diffuser blends, and room sprays that are used in the class. In Peggy’s class, she likes to start off using the “Stress Release” formula to allow for students to prepare to let go, and changes the other scents used in class with the changing of the seasons. In Alexa’s, you will find the sequence of your yoga practice tailored to the scents being used- for example, if she uses the “Immune Boost” blend, poses that target the lymphatic system will be practiced.
The added benefit of aromatherapy is that it can help to further relax your system, signalling to your brain that the environment around you is safe enough to relax in. After all, our sense of smell is one of our best alarm triggers in the body, to alert us that there is danger and that we must leave, for example if we smell gas or fire. Alexa in particular believes that scent is a great external reminder to move inward, that it is yet another aspect that can be added to your yoga practice to remind you to feel what your body is feeling, and to bring you into the present experience of your body. Peggy likens the use of scent to playing calming music in class – the addition of calming scents is yet another prompt that we understand as a signal to let go and relax. If you are sensitive to scent, you always have the option of asking not to have the roller balls used on you.
On February 25th from 10am – 12pm, Peggy will be hosting a Hatha Therapeutics workshop at our Yonge and Eglinton studio, so if you want to experience this class in all its glory for longer than our regularly scheduled classes, check that out! Spaces are filling up fast so sign up on our website by checking out our Workshops page.
Exciting news for Uptown students…
As of the beginning of February, Alexa also now teaches a Hatha Therapeutics class at Richmond Hill on Fridays from 9:45am-11am, and teaches three at Vaughan: Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:45am-11am, and Wednesday evening from 7:15pm – 8:15pm! Excited about the prospect of having these therapeutics classes offered uptown, I spoke to her more to discuss what yogis can expect from these classes.
Similar to her approach to the downtown class, Alexa said her classes uptown are all a fusion of Gentle Hatha and Yin, except for her Wednesday evening class which is more restorative in nature due to the timing of the class. Alexa is a big proponent for a holistic approach to self care, and rather than trying to eradicate whatever discomfort you are feeling immediately, her class invites you to check in with your body, acknowledge what it is feeling, and come to understand those feelings better. She believes that yoga is a way for you to look from the inside so that you can develop the self-awareness you need to take care of your body and what it is feeling, rather than immediately pushing uncomfortable sensations away.
For example, as a sufferer of migraines, Alexa learned to pay attention to her triggers so that she could manage her migraines and prevent them from occurring, and learned what other steps she could take to manage her pain rather than turning to pain killers as a sole solution. Whether you come to learn that certain foods, the amount of sleep you get, or anything else contributes to any symptom you feel, learning to manage your physical health through maintenance is one of the many things she believes in. Aromatherapy is one of the tools that you will learn is at your disposal during her class. For me personally, I know that when I have neck pain from muscle tension, the “Peppermint Halo” roller ball from Saje is a way that I can manage that pain without having to take painkillers.
These classes sound amazing and I can’t wait to try them myself! I highly recommend checking them out so you can see what yoga therapeutics and aromatherapy can do for you!