Semi-private yoga classes in the center of Arnhem
In my yoga studio in the heart of Arnhem (NL), you can follow Soma Yoga in a semi-private group class. Large studio classes in gyms certainly have their benefits but are not suitable for everyone. Private and semi-private lessons are perfect for people who want more one-on-one attention in a warm and homey studio environment. The groups have a maximum of 5 participants, which gives more space to focus on personal attention during yoga classes. My experience is that people really enjoy being personally guided and supported during yoga. It helps them connect better with their own body, and it also helps them create a more stable and rewarding yoga practice.
Soma Yoga classes: What am I learning?
These yoga classes focus on deep relaxation, energy restoration, natural breathing, and releasing physical tensions. The pace of the lesson is slower, which gives you the opportunity to develop body awareness and through that learn to recognize and release deep-held tensions in the body. In Soma Yoga classes, we pay a great deal of attention to the essential yoga principles such as posture, breathing, flexibility, and strength. By moving the body consciously, and using the so-called 'Somatic Movement' approach, we can dive deeper into each yoga posture. Next to that, Soma Yoga practice incorporates gentle and restorative yoga postures. I use various physio-therapeutic balls as support. You can think of small and large physio-balls, 'still-point inducers', and trigger point balls. You will be taught a series of yoga poses that encourage gentle, fluid body movements. These yoga classes are an ideal balance between traditional hatha yoga exercises and restorative yoga practice.
Soma Yoga classes: For whom?
These yoga classes are ideal for anyone who wants to start yoga, who is recovering from long or short-term injuries and who wants to release accumulated physical tensions as a result of daily work pressure and overload. These yoga classes are also suitable for people looking for a simple and powerful yoga practice that suits their own personal body and needs. For anyone who wants to learn the essential yoga principles in a safe and concentrated way and for anyone who simply likes to find a better connection to their body.
It can be quite useful to take a yoga class via Skype or Zoom. If you are traveling, or simply are unable to attend regular classes in person and wish to continue your yoga practice while you are away from home. All you need is a yoga mat, a computer, and some simple props you can find at home.
Building blocks of Soma yoga classes:
Restorative yoga is a slow and gentle form of yoga that has the intention to bring you into a deep state of relaxation and rest. I use various props such as blankets, bolsters, and blocks to support the body in various yoga poses, allowing the whole system to enter into a deeply relaxed state. Being in these postures has a rejuvenating effect on the body and mind as it allows you to drop down from a fight-and-flight response into the parasympathetic nervous system triggering the so-called “relaxation response", through which your body can heal and renew itself fully.
Mindful Embodied Hatha Yoga
Mindfulness is a common term that has its roots in Buddhism that means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment. Embodiment is a state of being fully present and connected to your body. Also called ’embodied awareness’ this is a practice that helps you experience a state of full connection to your body, a state in which you feel present and a whole. Embodied Awareness is a term that is being used in the fields of somatic psychotherapy, somatic movement education, and dance. Mindfulness and Embodiment are an important part of Soma Yoga. During my lessons, we practice bringing awareness to each pose. We are going deeper into the sensations of body and breath. That means going slower and staying longer in each pose. This kind of approach to yoga has a profound immediate effect on your mental and emotional state.
Breathwork is an essential part of Soma Yoga classes. We apply breathwork with the intention to improve mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. There are many forms of breathwork therapy that involve breathing in a conscious and structured way. Breathwork promotes deep relaxation and helps you feel more energized. In Soma Yoga, each pose is an exploration. Through mindfulness and embodied awareness you are creating more connections in between your breath and your body. You learn to recognize and release blockages in the body. With this, you learn to recognize and free your natural breath.
Trigger point balls
In Soma Yoga classes I use various small reflex balls, small and medium softballs, and big gym balls. Yoga balls help release facia, massage trigger points, and help with releasing and rejuvenating the body. Reflex balls are firm spiky balls for massage, sensory therapy, and relaxation exercises. In my Soma Yoga classes, we are using them as a therapeutic massage aid targeting the trigger points. This helps in easing the tension and releasing muscles throughout the body. Small and medium softballs help release tension in the connective tissues, also known as fascia. These balls aim to restore the fascia, build tissue resilience, and release tension in common areas of the body like head, neck, shoulders, arms, back, hips, legs, and feet. Working with them feels like a deep tissue self-massage. Gym balls are a wonderful tool that helps to improve stability and build strength, as well as releasing tension in the body calming the nervous system and reconnecting to the natural breath.
There are endless studies done on the benefits of meditation on our health. Research shows that meditation can help us handle better negative feelings and emotions. While there are many forms of meditation, the ultimate goal is a feeling of relaxation and inner peace, which can improve mental health. In Soma Yoga classes we are learning to focus deeply on the sensations of the body. Being present, observing the breath, becoming aware, and in connection with your body are some basic components of meditation an essential part of each Soma Yoga class.
Origin of Soma Yoga
A somatic movement, generally speaking, is one that is performed consciously with the intention of focusing on the internal experience of the movement rather than the external appearance or result of the movement. Movements are performed slowly, focusing on quality rather than quantity. Working in this way allows the body and more importantly the human nervous system which controls our posture and movement, to learn new ways of moving.
Somatic yoga, developed by Thomas Hanna in the 1970s was strongly influenced by the methods of Moshe Feldenkrais – a pioneer of the Feldenkrais Method, which is used to improve human functioning by increasing self-awareness through movement. In addition, earlier methods such as the Alexander technique, developed at the turn of the century, helped inform the evolution of this practice. Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen pioneer of the somatic disciplines and the originator of the Body-Mind Centering system developed it further and created a new form in understanding Somatic Movement in relationship to yoga. Donna Farhi has her own teacher training in which she blends together the teachings of yoga and somatic movement.
Soma Yoga that I teach is a blend of Somatic Movement and traditional yoga that I studied and practiced over the years with some of these amazing teachers. The work of Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen - Body Mind Catering, as well as Feldenkrais, Alexander technique, Embodied movement, Embodies awareness, Somatic Movement, Experimental Anatomy has been a part of my coaching training at the Institute of Somatic Movement Studies in Amsterdam, (NL). In a training with Donna Farhi,(NZ), I learned to apply these deeply transformative therapeutic skills onto the practice of yoga.