After one or two Flow Foundations classes, many students decide to turn their attention elsewhere as they deepen and expand their practice. As a teacher and lover of Flow Foundations, I want to inform students to the depth of a Flow Foundations class, beyond simply an introduction to yoga. It is not only a great way to start your practice, but also an incredible way to deepen and fulfill a well established yoga practice.
At first glance Foundations is a beginners class that is geared towards students who have either never stepped their barefoot into a yoga studio, or are not confident enough in their practice to try a flow or heated flow class. My Foundations class itself moves at a slower pace and has a heavy focus on alignment. Modifications are given throughout the class to allow the gentle, but deliberate opening of your body into shapes it may not have made for many, many years. This gives you the groundwork to build a confident and sustainable practice. Proper alignment, paired with a confident mind, will allow you to move with both freedom and grace on and off your mat.
Foundations is the first step in the Vinyasa or Flow lineage of yoga. The idea is to connect the movement of the body, with the rhythm of the breath. The fluid and continual movement will deepen the freedom you find in your body, while giving the mind a chance to settle and unravel. So in this class we are not only aligning the placement of the physical body in space, but we are also aligning the placement of the eyes and the movement of the breath. Once the body is set, however, we remember to take a step back. We drop the details and we allow the body to adjust, adapt, and move to its own intuitive rhythm. Through continual practice the body begins to find its own pace. You may begin to relax around the idea that you need to achieve anything. Instead, you may allow your body to show you where it needs attention and you can address it accordingly. Even more importantly, however, you may begin to notice that your mind begins to quiet itself. In a world that has become obsessed with mindfulness and “being in the moment,” you may notice that you see a lot of people “trying” to be present. If you’re trying, the train has already come off the tracks. Mindfulness is a side-effect of the practice of yoga. The foundations class is a perfect platform to disconnect with habitual patterns and to simply practice.
The beauty of this class is that, although it is geared towards beginners, it has the potential to deepen even the most experienced yogi’s practice. On a purely physical level, working with Foundations gives you a chance to check back in with your basic poses. Literally, what is the foundation of your practice? When you work with a more basic pose, you begin to see that there are underlying patterns. These patterns are often so simple that they are overlooked. If, however, you begin to notice and embody these simple patterns, you may gain deep and profound insights into more advanced poses that may have been eluding you. On the level of mind, moving at a slower pace and finding your flow with poses that you are confident on, may bring a sense of ease and lightness to your practice. Finding ease allows your mind to settle even more deeply, which you can bring with you into practices and poses that may challenge you. Even more importantly, you can bring that ease into the world outside the studio walls, where it is so desperately needed. I hope to see you at the studio soon and maybe even in a Foundations class! Be well and don’t forget to breath.