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Gentle Yoga for Challenging Times by Aliyah Collins

For the past two weeks, I have attended Gentle Yoga for Challenging Times led by Danielle Rousseau. I have participated in yoga classes before outside of Open Spirit but mainly ones that target cardio and strength training. The gentle yoga class was my first time participating in a yoga experience that focused on strengthening ‘the mind, body and, spirit. I was excited and curious to engage in this form of Yoga. Before joining the class on Zoom, I was struck by the title of the class; “Gentle Yoga for Challenging Times.” For a long time, I was aware that people used Yoga to deal with stress or certain obstacles in life. However, I was not sure of the aspects that made it so effective during difficult times in particular.

Many wonder how simple poses twisting and turning your body could equate as a resource towards enduring some of life’s most challenging moments. I have gained a strong understanding of how the practice of gentle Yoga can help us situate our bodies in the present moment and use it as a tool for endurance. Every rounded back stretched arm, body twist was directed by controlled and meditative breathing. Danielle would also lead us into a centering moment where we can create and imagine a peaceful and subtle world around us. Sometimes it is in imagining the autumn leaves gracefully falling from the trees or the sound of a stream of water flowing the crevices of rocks. Whatever it is, we have the power to pause and engage in this imagining for just a moment. While participating in gentle Yoga, I found the ability to create peace by centering your mind, body, and spirit through movement and breath. This peace we create guides our resistance, strengthens our endurance, and reminds us of our humanity.

Gentle Yoga for me was very rejuvenating. It may have been too rejuvenating the first time as it made me fall into a lovely 2-hour nap. All in all, I want to continue to explore movement as a means of resistance that supports community building and every aspect of the body, mind, and spirit.


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