Katonah Yoga

What is Katonah Yoga?

Female yoga doing the plank.  She is wearing a pink long sleeve top and blank leggings
Plank Pose (strengthens the core, arms, shoulders and spine)

Katonah Yoga was first developed by Nevine Michaan, a well-respected yoga practitioner, and to many, a philosopher and a poet (communicates her ideas with harmonious peace) in Katonah, New York more than 45 years ago.

Yoga Instructor helping a woman to do yoga stretches in a studio
Yoga Instructor helping a woman do yoga stretches in a studio

She and her instructors merge classical Hatha Yoga with Taoist theory, sacred geometry, and Chinese medicine, motion as a metaphor, and imagination to create a practical and beautiful Yoga practice that interconnects the body, the breath, and the organs, bones, and joints. – thus creating a pragmatic and functional Yoga experience.

What to expect when practicing Katonah Yoga?

Male yoga instructor helping woman to stretch in a studio
Instructor helping a woman with Child pose stretching

When you visit a Katonah Yoga studio, you will observe that the atmosphere is like a community. The teachers are all facing the center of the room. The veteran students help out the newer ones by assisting them with the unfamiliar material. People willing to learn but with injuries or physical quirks are welcome into this community of people willing to help each other.

The Katonah Yoga studio is sometimes referred to as a “yoga hospital”. The focus is not on relaxation but on healing through poses that provide greater balance, symmetry, stability, competency, and body coordination.

Katonah Yoga is a derivative practice of Hatha Yoga because both are slower types of Yoga wherein there is a lingering period for each pose done to maximize the benefit from each pose. Katonah Yoga is also similar to Vinyasa Yoga because they both utilize music and choreography. Vinyasa means “putting things in their right place” which is also an important goal of Katonah Yoga as well.

Katonah Yoga emphasizes the energy flowing through the organs, bones, and joints through cross-referencing alignment on opposite sides of the body and less on muscles.  The bones are used as a delineation boundary.  But the organs are very important as well.  The belief is that we should respect how the organs interact with other organs, and with the bones and joints. For one, slumping and being overworked are bad for the organs. Organs will function, whether inside a thin or fat body, but we should exert them at a humanized pace.

The practice of cross-referencing alignment for bones, joints, and organs is vital in the practice of Katonah Yoga. They are interconnected and attain stability when doing a Katonah Yoga pose properly. Imagine calculating the measurement between your right shoulder and your left hip – and likewise between your left shoulder and right hip. The purpose here is for your organs to extend to a maximum space and your bones to attain solidity and stability. All the while doing the specific pose for a longer period of time.

How difficult is Katonah Yoga?

The Katonah Yoga difficulty level is expected to be in the easy to moderate range. One thing about this type of yoga that is appealing to beginners is that it is a slower kind of yoga. Each pose lingers for a longer period of time compared to other types. It is just like ” soaking in” all the benefits from that pose.

All Katonah Yoga classes are the “All Levels” type. Veterans, mid termers, and beginners are mixed in to attain a communal experience, while the teachers intervene for the difficult poses. The experienced ones help out the newer ones.

The Benefits of Katonah Yoga

Katonah Yoga benefits a vast range of people. Both males and females (all body types), young, middle-aged, or senior, both healthy and sickly.

As previously mentioned, Katonah Yoga respects the body structure (and geometry) of the practitioner. He or she knows when to stop extending and twisting in a pose to avoid injury while being aided by a veteran. Also about the sickly going into Katonah Yoga; when the person’s liver is stretched, the kidney flushed, or a lung is opened, and healing is attained.