This Gentle Yoga class takes things slowly

Super-focused students work on mobility and strength in classes designed for those 50 and older.

SITTING ON A bolster, a strap wrapped around my lower back and feet to help keep my pelvis and chest lifted upright, I noticed how focused my fellow students were.

They were scattered throughout the Montlake Community Center gym, sitting on bolsters, blocks or blankets. Nobody appeared distracted as yoga teacher Hiroko Karrfalt checked on everyone’s setup.

I was there for Gentle Yoga, a class designed for folks 50 and older. I already could tell I would learn a few things about focus and modifying a yoga practice.

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After our opening hip work, we moved into seated twists, with many still sitting on a block or a bolster. At first, I found myself distracted, reading a sign on the wall and not paying full attention to my twists. I reminded myself to follow the lead of other students. I focused on my breath and paid attention to my spine.

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We also did a wide-legged forward fold, and this time Hiroko stopped to show us how to know whether our pelvis was tilted forward or back, and ways to modify the pose to make sure we were rolling forward. Some people sat on the floor, while others used a block to get the best angle.

Afterward, we moved to our backs, and lifted our legs into the air. I knew what was coming — core work. Hiroko had us lower one leg at a time, then lower both legs side to side for a twist and core challenge. The slow pace made the core engagement even more challenging — when moving at Hiroko’s pace, I couldn’t use momentum to make it easier.

We turned over to our hands and knees and took our first downward-facing dog, with Hiroko stopping us to explain how our shoulders should rotate and how to…

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