Yoga classes Chiang Mai
Freedom Yoga Chiang Mai offer a wide variety of yoga classes to suit students of all shapes, sizes and experience. We understand that what suits one person might not suit the next, that’s why we are constantly adding new classes to our schedule to keep our yoga fresh and engaging.
we offer Vinayasa yoga which is a faster paced dynamic style designed to get your heart pumping and body sweating, and at the other side of the spectrum we have our yin yoga/Restorative classes to take you on a slow journey of deep release through mind and body. another popular style is the more traditional Hatha yoga classes which are slower paced with a very strong emphasis on alignment and breathing.
If you are in Chiang Mai and new to yoga, generally a Hatha class is the best place to start, but we do recommend that you try a few different styles so that you can see which suits you best. we also highly recommend our Yoga Beginner course for those looking for a deeper and understanding of the foundations of yoga, or even a few private lessons
our yoga classes run for 1.5 hours which at first may seem like quite a long class, but it is in fact the perfect amount of time needed for a teacher to guide you through a wide variety of poses, sequences and stretches to open certain parts of the physical and energetic bodies with out having to rush to squeeze everything in. it also allows time to begin and finish the class with a gentle meditation or awareness exercise to improve your own awareness and your overall yoga experience.
Our Yoga Classes in Chiang Mai
Correct Alignment in Asana
During our yoga classes we place a large emphasis on body Alignment though asana and correct breathing.
Body alignment during asana is one of the most important concepts in Yoga, but to understand why first we need to ask why we are practicing yoga asana or poses in the first place. the main purpose is to maintain optimal health for all of our muscles, joints, and internal organs. strething and strenghening these areas within thier limits to build flexibility and strenght and postural balance is the main purpose of yoga asana. naturally different muscles and joints are designed to operate differently to each other and to cooperate together under various workloads. for example the wrists are not designed to carry the body all the time, the ankles were designed for this job. the neck is designed to carry the weight of the head, it may be able to help us balace is head stand but it should never be used to hold the entire weight of the body. the lower back is designed to carry the weight of the entire upper bady, it can bend forward, backwards, side to side and it can also twist. so you can see that every part of the body has its function.
so during asana the body must be corretly aligned so that we can achieve the maximum benefits from each pose this will increase strength and flexibility in the correct areas without causing any pain, discomfort or injury. Lets use an common example that often occurs during backbends. most back bending poses are designed open, strench and release the upper thoracic spine, but this part of the spine in most people is stiff and not flexible (thats why we are string to stretch it) so without the correct awareness and alignment during the back bend, the upper spine does not bend or stretch at all, the lower spine (lumbar spine) which is naturally weak and flexible bends instead. so by not using correctn alignment for whatever reason, we have completely missed the key benefits of our back bending pose which was to stretch and strengthen the upper spine and in turn we have perhaps weakened the already delicate lower spine and in a worst case scenario caused possible injury. another example is in standing poses. in standing poses it is important to be aware of the stresses on the knees, anoher delicate joint with a very specific funcion. the knee is not designed to bend inwards or outwards so something as simple as a misaligned foot, ankle or hipjoint can place unecassary strain on the knee causing pain or eventually injury. So you can see how correct alignment helps us maximize benefits while at the same time maximizing safety and longevity for your body.
The Breath and Yoga
A yogi measures the span of life by the number of breaths, not by the number of years.
It is said that if you breathe 15 times per minute, you will live to 75 or 80 years. If you breathe 10 times per minute you will live to 100. The speed at which you breathe will dictate the length of life. If you breathe fast, your life will be shortened. This is why dogs have short lives.
We are continually told to “breathe consciously” or to “observe the breath” when we are in yoga class. Breathing consciously is the essence of yoga as it assists us in connecting with the subtle energies within. It is in the use of the breath that we are able to explore different levels of consciousness. breathing consciously also has a biological effect on our emotional, mental and physical state.
connecting with your breath is a method for being present. When you concentrate on each aspect of the breathing process, you are present. you let go of the past and future and are forced to focused on the moment inside the breath. This is why breathing consciously is on its own a form of meditation. But this is just the beginning of why conscious breathing is important.
When you breathe consciously or with awareness, you activate a different part of your brain. Unconscious unaware breathing is controlled by the medulla oblongata in the brain stem, the primitive part of the brain, while conscious breathing comes from the more evolved areas of the brain in the cerebral cortex. So conscious breathing stimulates the cerebral cortex and the more evolved areas of the brain. Consciously breathing sends impulses from the cortex to the connecting areas that impact emotions. Activating the cerebral cortex has a relaxing and balancing effect on the emotions. In essence, by consciously breathing, you are controlling which aspects of the mind dominate, causing your consciousness to rise from the primitive/instinctual to the evolved/elevated.
Prana And Pranayama
In yoga we learn to control prana, the vital force, through pranayama. We use the breath in pranayama to learn to control prana, but don’t confuse prana with breath. Prana is the energy that animates the lungs. It is NOT the breath. Using the breath is the easiest method for training prana. Once you are able to control prana through pranayama you are better able to control the movement of prana to other organs and areas of the body.
The breath being the mode of pranayama, we focus on the three stages of respiration: inhalation (pooraka), retention (kumbhaka), and exhalation (rechaka).
Kumbhaka, or retention of the breath has a physiological effect on the brain. First, it provides more opportunity for the cells to absorb oxygen, and eliminate more carbon dioxide. This has a calming effect on the mental and emotional body. In fact, scientific studies have proven that slight increases in carbon dioxide for a short amount of time reduce anxiety levels. However, it is only beneficial up to a certain level. Carbon dioxide becomes very harmful, even fatal at high levels.
Furthermore, when the breath is retained, the brain panics because the carbon dioxide levels increase. Increased carbon dioxide levels stimulate the brain’s capillaries to dilate. In this way, more capillaries in the brain are opened up to improve cerebral circulation. This builds up an immense amount of nervous energy in the brain, forcing the creation of new neural pathways and the activation of dormant centers; the brain is activated and awakened!