The Gentle Yoga Experience in Sonoma County
Whether you are movement-impaired or just not in the mood for a sweaty vinyasa, gentle yoga might be the answer; slow, supported movement, breathing and relaxation. Stillness is often a greater challenge than the dynamic movement of a flow class, which is why we should all challenge ourselves to do this type of yoga, no matter what our physical ability.
Here are the best places to catch a gentle yoga class in Sonoma County:
Chair Yoga and Yoga Nidra at Blue Door Yoga, Penngrove
Chair yoga is a great way for older adults and the movement-impaired to get the wonderful health benefits of yoga. Staying seated while doing yoga means that even frail seniors or those who aren’t flexible can safely do the exercises.
The benefits of chair yoga include loosening and stretching painful muscles, reducing chronic pain, decreasing stress, and improving circulation. It also reduces anxiety, helps lower blood pressure, protects joints, and builds strength and balance.
Blue Door Yoga is one of the few places offering public chair yoga classes. The studio’s chair yoga also includes the use of therapy balls, Qi Gong and breath work.
Blue Door Yoga also offers evening Yoga Nidra classes, or yogic sleep as it is commonly known. This is an immensely powerful meditation technique, whereby the practitioner rests comfortably in savasana (corpse pose), and the systematic meditation takes you through the pancha maya kosha (five layers of self), leaving you with a sense of wholeness. This is great for relaxation and better sleep.
Restorative Yoga at Revolution Yoga, Santa Rosa
Revolution Yoga is a popular Santa Rosa yoga studio that, in addition to vinyasa classes, offers a delicious restorative yoga class.
This yoga style is known for its ability to activate the parasympathetic nervous system – the “rest and digest” part of your nervous system that helps keep basic functions working as they should.
As the name suggests, this style of yoga “restores” the body and promotes rest and healing, and restores balance.
By allowing time for longer asanas (postures or poses) and deeper breathing, restorative yoga helps elicit the relaxation response. This response can help slow breathing, reduce blood pressure, and produce a feeling of calm and increased wellbeing.
A key feature in restorative yoga is the use of props such as blocks, bolsters, or blankets. The props help you hold passive poses for longer without exerting or tiring out your muscles. It also allows you to feel comfortable and supported, regardless of your experience with yoga.
Yin Yoga at The Yoga Post, Petaluma
Yin yoga works deeply into the body with passive, longer-held poses. It targets the deepest tissues of the body – our connective tissues; ligaments, joints, bones, the deep fascia networks of the body and the meridians. This is in contrast to a Yang yoga practice such as Vinyasa, which targets the muscles.
Yin yoga improves the energy flow, enhancing the flow of qi in the organs.
Bob Conover at the Yoga Post expertly leads you through this practice and encourages use of all the props you need (blankets, bolsters, blocks etc.), making this gentle form of yoga accessible to all.
Other Places to Catch a Great Gentle Yoga Class in Sonoma County
There are several other places in Sonoma County that offer gentle yoga classes.
For example, there's Yoga Nidra at Sonoma Yoga in Sonoma. Join the studio’s delicious Sunday night “Art of Stillness” Yoga Nidra class.
The Yin classes at Yoga on Center in Healdsburg are also definitely worth a visit!
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is another great place to visit in Sonoma County. Guests can take part in a guided yoga lesson while overlooking the iconic Watsu pool in the Movement Studio.
Written by Nina Jarnum