In Yoga Therapy...
The quality of experience or the feeling that occurs inside the body is placed above the physical shape of the pose. What you feel matters, and this informs how you move and think. When we learn to honour what we feel, an inner authority of self care is born. Self-care is at the heart of pain management.
When patterns break free
Whole worlds emerge
Why is FierceHeart different?
The art of living is what we are cultivating at FierceHeart. It is a community that is committed to whole health, and yoga, taichi and meditation are tools to support us on our path. We are awakening an inner intelligence that resides in each of us through the practices. Cultivating this intelligence in movement provides a reflection for how we may live life intelligently too. Practicing this way builds our awareness beyond our mats and into our lives, growing our ability to be with things as they are and to take action towards supporting ourselves in feeling whole.
We are interested in supporting people to wake up to a feeling of wholeness inside, to feel alive and to live in the now. We are interested in being real, in developing healthy and authentic relationships- with ourselves, our bodies, our hearts and each other. If this interests you on any level, you will likely find many friends and a home at FierceHeart. This humble studio houses humble warriors who are looking for more than simply getting fit and flexible.
To be fierce-hearted takes courage and discipline. We have to be curious about the 'why' questions and be interested in what it means to be human. The practices of yoga therapy and taichi here at FierceHeart are helping us connect with the wisdom that brings us closer to the answers to these questions, and teaching us how to land in the moment with confidence, trust and grace.
Being FierceHearted is a choice to stand for greatness, to stand for your dreams, your truth, and to stand for this in others as well. We may not know what these things look like for us when we are struggling in pain, physically, emotionally or in life, and showing up is the only requirement for inquiry.
What is yoga therapy and how is it different than a general yoga class?
We may look at a series of poses and shapes in a regular class while moving with the breath or cultivating depth in postures or inhales/exhales. In yoga therapy the depth of practice lies is in our awareness of our movement, thoughts and feelings. It is about connection first, and learning how to listen to all that creates an embodied experience. This means we are looking at all the layers (or koshas) of being: from the outside/physical body to the inside layers of emotions, energy, intellect and inner wisdom. These koshas may all be addressed in a yoga therapy class and depending on the needs of the student, the practice may look different from one mat to the next.
Yoga therapy is not so focused on shapes and poses although we do use them in practice. Yoga therapy is a practice for someone interested in resolving injuries and getting to root of troubling patterns. It is supportive for someone suffering with chronic pain or conditions that limit mobility and quality of life. It is a practice for those who want to learn more about themselves and how they are in the world. It is a whole being practice and is based on feeling, listening, and being curious while learning what it is to stay connected to your body in the noticing. It is always different and evolving and it is foundational in nature so it supports all other activities you enjoy.
Yoga therapy is yoga in that we utilize breath, movement and stillness as a means to open, unwind and strengthen body, mind and nervous system. In YT there tends to be more ability to customize the practice to individual needs and to direct the individual towards practices that support where they are physically and mentally. Yoga Therapy is based on meeting people where they are when they arrive on their mat, so the student may learn to do that for themselves also. This learning is the birth point of self care for a yoga therapy student and it is an essential part of the practice. It is often gentler and slower than some forms of flow yoga that are very popular today, with more opportunity for pause and reflection of the effects of the practice.
Isn't YT the same as restorative yoga?
No. There is work to be done in yoga therapy; it is not such a passive practice as restorative. Although there is often huge therapeutic benefit in practicing restorative yoga, yoga therapy has a different application. It is more active, physically and mentally; we are learning how to move with awareness, challenge ourselves in our habits and beliefs as well as exploring new possibilities in movement, mindframe and health. Yoga therapy and restorative yoga compliment each other beautifully.
The term restorative might often be applied to the practice of yoga therapy as it does help restore function, mobility and strength of mind and body. It is a healing practice like restorative but stillness and holding postures is not a prerequisite for the practice of YT.
What equipment/clothing will I need for Tai Chi class?
All you need is a body! Bringing a water bottle is highly encouraged. Loose-fitting, comfortable clothing is best. Some members prefer indoor shoes, others prefer barefooted. Use whatever footwear helps you feel confident and comfortable. No outdoor shoes, please.
What style and sequences will I be learning in Tai Chi classes?
Yang Family Tai Chi is the most commonly practiced style in the world. Learning the 24-posture sequence as a beginner and the 108-posture sequence later on will prepare students to practice with millions of others around the globe. Rather than simply repeating for memorization, our classes focuses on movement principles and physical conditioning that can be applied across many skills and disciplines.
What is the difference between "Tai Chi" and "Qigong"?
Qigong (literally "breath work") is an umbrella concept that applies to many different types of moving meditation. Tai Chi is one type of Qigong training that aims to optimize health and improve martial arts skills. The Yang Family system contains many traditional Qigong practices which are often included at the beginning and ending of each class.
Can I still practice Tai Chi even though I have an injury?
There are a number of factors that make Tai Chi uniquely helpful in rehab and recovery. Due to gentle, low-impact movement patterns, Tai Chi provides an outlet for exercise at a time when other types of movement are too difficult or uncomfortable. A major part of the practice involves mobility training which strengthens joints even while moving at the edge range of motion. The combination and aerobic exercise, resistance training, coordination and balance will help you continue to improve your health and fitness. Benefits for the nervous and cardiovascular systems make Tai Chi perfect for active recovery.