CONVERSATIONS AT THE SANCTUARY: Open your heart and let your body flow
Experience the true ease and freedom of a flow class at Amadea’s two-hour workshop.
If you’ve ever found yourself in a vinyasa or flow class entirely preoccupied with trying to keep pace with the teacher as you abruptly transition from one pose to another, you are not alone. “In many yoga classes, people are trying to be mindful but they end up listening to the teacher the whole time because they just don’t really know what’s coming next,” says yoga teacher Amadea Ng.
Which is why her upcoming two-hour heart-opening flow workshop on 12 September is structured specifically to help students familiarise themselves with the sequencing of poses before leading them into an uninterrupted state of flow.
“What I really like when I practise is the ability to move in a way where it almost feels like you are in a dance. In that moment, you are completely at ease with your body,” shares Amadea. “It’s difficult to get to this point in a 60-minute class, especially if the poses are new to you. You’re only going to feel that sense of freedom and ease when you are familiar with the poses.”
Below, Amadea talks us through what one can expect at her upcoming workshop.
Why is the first half of the workshop focused on shoulder and heart openers? What does that do for a person both physically and emotionally?
While we’ll be working through a full-body flow, the focus is indeed a little more on shoulder openers. Students who typically go for my classes know that I really love including shoulder and heart openers. It’s very liberating. If you’re able to do the poses not just physically, but work through them as an emotional and heart-opening exercise, then you not only feel a physical lightness, but also experience a sense of receptivity towards things around you.
The beauty of yoga is that you could be in the same pose but a different cue from the teacher would lead you to focus on a different part of your body. So let’s say you’re in a low lunge position. If I want to focus on the shoulder-opening aspect of the pose, I will tell you to lift up your chest. On the other hand, if I focus on the hip-opening part of it, I would cue you to sink a little bit deeper into the lunge.
What is your personal experience with poses that open the heart and shoulders? How have you benefited from it?
I do work in a very fast-paced, high-stress job, and whenever I’m struggling to get through my day, I’ll teach or practice in the mornings. Starting my day with yoga is very grounding for me.
Heart-openers, in particular, get you to breathe more deeply. It’s no surprise as your lungs are situated in the areas where you’re working through your heart and shoulder expansions. So when I begin to inhale more deeply, I take that practice with me throughout my day. That being said, it’s not necessarily just heart-openers that have a positive impact, my yoga practice itself also helps me to get through crazy days and weeks.
In addition, when you’re focusing on your own heart and practice, you’ll find the ability to be more grateful for what you have, what you can do, and the people around you. In some ways, you leave the class feeling more grateful; that’s what a practice focused on heart-openings does for me.
Whether or not you work a full-time job, you end up sitting down a lot. And with more people working from home, many find themselves with very tight shoulders. All the more reason to work on shoulder-opening poses, even if it’s not something that’s physically comfortable to do.
Why did you design the second half of the class to incorporate a slow flow? How does that impact a person physically and emotionally?
Sometimes, when people go for a vinyasa class, they are always listening out for the teacher’s cues. When you do that, you are never able to shut the world out and move with your breath unless you either know what’s coming or if you’re an advanced practitioner.
At some point, I want to allow people to be able to shut off completely and move with their breath. One of the nice things about The Yoga School is the absence of mirrors, so you can really move without looking at what other people are doing. In my flow classes, I include segments where people close their eyes for about a minute and flow through a very short sequence. It’s quite liberating. At the end of the day, I want you to be at ease in your own space and transport yourself to your own happy space. These are all benefits of a flow practice.
Who is this workshop suitable for?
Everyone is welcome, even beginners who are new to yoga.
Flow classes are sometimes intimidating for people because they are not comfortable or familiar with the sequencing of the poses. This workshop would appeal to this group of people because you would get a sense of what is coming before you get into the whole flow.
The workshop is also for anyone who just wants to get two hours out of their day to focus on themselves. It’s also an opportunity to release all the misconceptions and self-doubt about what your body can or cannot do – and just give it a shot.