General & Somatic Yoga Rangiora


What are the main differences between traditional yoga and Gentle Somatic Yoga?

In traditional Hatha yoga, asanas (postures) are often practiced with the intent to reach a “full expression” of any given pose. In other words, modern day yoga classes can be experienced as very athletic and the student is striving for alignment and flexibility.

In some cases, especially in an environment of competition and/or comparison, performing traditional yoga poses can lead to sacrificing a more intuitive and intentional relationship with the body. In other cases there may be so many muscles actively engaged at one time during asana practice that it can be challenging for the brain to integrate all of the information that the various body parts are providing.

Gentle Somatic Yoga, in contrast, strips all of this away from the outset. The therapeutic yoga & somatic movements provide corrective exercises and sequences of movement that seem so subtle, and yet it is that subtlety that provides a deep and profound experience(s) of your own anatomy.

These techniques, also called Somatic Movement Flows, are designed for a personal exploration of the mind/body connection. We do this through isolating specific muscles, mindfully contracting those muscles, and then slowly releasing them until the tone of muscles return back to neutral. It is through the practice of isolating and focusing on particular muscles in a way that provides the brain with information that it can synthesize and use to create a more integrated experience of body and mind.

The main intention with Gentle Somatic Yoga is to sense and explore the movements from within by discovering where the edginess (Sensory Motor Amnesia) is and by approaching these places with a gentle spirit of investigation.

While yoga can be considered and used in therapy, Gentle Somatic Yoga is considered an educational process that strengthens and integrates the brain-to-muscle connection. The more you can control your muscles, the more choices you have in your body. The more choices we have, the freer we are as whole and complete human beings. 

Background of Gentle Somatic Yoga (GSY)

GSY has been synthesised by Movement Educator and Experienced Yoga Teacher James Knight, E-RYT, CHSE. His progressive method is the synergy of Hanna Somatic Education, hatha yoga, meditation, and Core Energetics (body-oriented psychotherapy), as well as principles ascribed to quantum mechanics. James’ creation has been inspired from the work of Eleanor Criswell Hanna, Thomas Hanna, Moshe Feldenkrais, Lawrence Gold, Tom Myers, John Pierrakos, Toni Petrinovich, as well as others.

Gentle Somatic Yoga® Resources

Gentle Somatic Yoga Official Website

Answers to general questions and for current schedule of GSY Teacher Certification & Events

YouTube Channel

Try Gentle Somatic Yoga online! Free Gentle Somatic Yoga Youtube videos with James Knight

About James Knight

James Knight, E-RYT, is an Integrative Therapist, Yoga Teacher, Author, and a Certified Hanna Somatic Educator by the Novato Institute for Somatic Studies. His life’s purpose (passion) is to inspire others to live a fulfilling life of physical, emotional and spiritual freedom