Different teachers and studios offer classes in different ways, and Santosha Space offers a variety of classes. To that end, here is an example structure of a class. Not all classes adhere strictly to the structure, but now you will be familiar with each component when you experience it.
The class may begin with, or weave throughout, a Dharma talk, or a short talk about a philosophical aspect of yoga practice as it might relate to your own practice, to your life outside of the practice, to current events or to culture. It is given as in invitation to set an intention for your practice. Of course, you can choose any intention for your practice – we find that just the act of setting an intention has great significance in our own experience.
The practice is then opened by chanting AUM. AUM represents the energies of creation, sustenance, and dissolution – in other words, the energies of life. Sound is a beautiful way to center one’s energy in the body, to bring our attention to our internal experience.
Next, we will focus on the breath with a pranayama practice, or breath control practice. Pranayama, practiced correctly, creates harmony between the mind, body and spirit.
Most of the class will be spent in asana, or postures. The asana sequence will vary greatly according to the nature of the class. For example, a yin class might only explore 5-7 asana, while a vinyasa class may move between 20 or more asana. A fundamentals class might spend much of the class breaking down a single asana into multiple variations to explore alignment and breath in the posture.
The final asana in every practice is Shivasana, or corpse pose – a pose of relaxation. For a few moments, the body, mind and spirit rest in harmony, allowing the body to integrate all the work that you did.
After Shivasana comes a few moments of instructed then silent meditation. This is an opportunity to enjoy the state of being you have worked to create, and to begin to experience the meditative state.
Finally, we may close by chanting AUM once more. Sound brings the senses back into the external world, using voice deepens and invigorates the breath, and the sound of AUM specifically reminds us that this cycle of the practice is now finished and it is time to move back into the rest of our lives.