All John's classes follow the Iyengar method of yoga, based on the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar, the foremost living yoga teacher in the world. His rigorous approach emphasizes a balance between strength and flexibility, builds endurance, and develops Self-awareness through precision in movement and attention to subtleties of body, breath, mind, and spirit. Level 1 classes introduce beginning students and students new to the Iyengar approach to the fundamentals of posture and breath.
This live audio features a beginning level, or Level 1, class led by Iyengar-trained yoga instructor John Schumacher. The class is 90 minutes long (actual time is just under 83 minutes) and focuses mainly on standing postures. Consistent with the Iyengar tradition, Schumacher has his students incorporate many different props into their practice of the postures, including multiple blankets, blocks, and even a chair. Schumacher frequently cues the poses in Sanskrit, but unlike in his intermediate/advance classes, he also tends to mention the English translations as well.As is typical for a Schumacher practice, he begins slowly. Given that this is a beginning level class, Schumacher allows plenty of time to set up an appropriate seated posture, offering helpful details on lifting the chest and attaining proper alignment of the spine. The practice continues with chest-opening work in both seated and standing positions, such as eagle arms. Again, Schumacher moves meticulously through these postures, providing precise cueing. The standing cycle begins with a beginning balance posture, tree pose. Other postures featured in the standing sequence include triangle, warrior 1 & 2, side stretch, and standing forward bend. At the end of the standing series, Schumacher moves his students to the floor to rest in thunderbolt pose. He points out that they have been practicing standing postures for about an hour, which have been strenuous for those not used to this. Therefore, he then leads the class through some more quiet restful poses using plenty of props. With 8 minutes left, Schumacher brings the class into savasana. Just as he has with the other postures, Schumacher takes his time in setting up relaxation pose, cueing his students to release and let go. However, he also allows several minutes for silent rest before concluding the practice in a seated position. This class would be a very nice choice for beginning to intermediate yoga practitioners looking for the detailed level of alignment instruction that an experienced Iyengar teacher like Schumacher can provide, particularly for the standing postures.