A beginner’s guide to yoga at the RSF

You’ve heard a lot about yoga, and it seems like something you might want to try. Relaxation, food for the soul and a workout? How soon can you sign up? You look at the RSF Group Exercise schedule and discover yoga classes galore. Berkeley, always making it so easy to follow your dreams. But wait, which class should you take? There’s a class called Sunrise Yoga, maybe … hold up, does that say 6:45 a.m.? Okay, Vinyasa yoga sounds good. Hey, look there’s a Power yoga class too, maybe that one is better? We at the Clog completely understand your predicament, and as frequenters of the yoga scene at the RSF, are here to give you some insight.

Sunrise Yoga. If you’re a morning person, this class may be for you. Sunrise Yoga is offered at the RSF every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 6:45 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. The class takes you through basic yoga positions, without emphasizing one particular part of the body, a specific breathing technique, or skill (like gaining flexibility). Unless the instructor decides to choose a concentration, this should be a general yoga class, drawing techniques from the whole of the discipline. It’s perfect for beginners, whether you’re new to yoga, or just new to exercising. If you aren’t a morning person, don’t worry. They offer this type of class later in the day too — it’s just called Yoga.

Ashtanga Yoga. Ashtanga Yoga is usually considered one of the more difficult types of yoga. It is slightly faster-paced, and involves an emphasis on strengthening exercises such as lunges and the infamous yoga push-up: the chaturanga. The poses are connected, creating a continuous, smooth, flow of movement. It involves a level of vigor not present in your basic yoga class, or Yoga Stretch. We’d suggest this class to people who are fit and looking to stay that way. But if you’re a beginner and want to try it out, go for it. One of the great things about yoga is that you can adjust each movement to your own level, and still get something out of it.

Vinyasa Yoga. Vinyasa is all about the flow. Your movement should match the rhythm of your breath. And you’re sure to perform the Sun Salutation sequence in a Vinyasa class. The transition from pose to pose is meant to be carefully synchronized with your breath — this is a key tenant of Vinyasa Yoga. This is class is good for people of all levels. Just remember to keep breathing!

Yogalates. You can probably guess what this one’s about. Yup. It’s a combination between Yoga and Pilates. If you’re after those summer abs, you might want to try this one out.

Yoga Stretch. Yoga Stretch concentrates on flexibility. Because of this, the class is much more slow-paced and gentle than any of the other yoga classes offered at Berkeley. You’ll have to hold positions for a longer period of time, concentrating on getting a deep stretch. You’ll be sitting down or reclining most of the time. We think that this is a good option for beginners — learning to be a little flexible never hurts (well, except physically).

We know it can be kind of confusing to figure out the differences between the types of yoga, and even the Clog gets confused sometimes. There’s a lot of overlap! We suggest trying them all out, and choosing the one that you like best. You’ll be more relaxed, healthy, and swimsuit season ready in no time.

Contact Sabrina Werts at [email protected]

Image Source: AmandaD_TX, under Creative Commons