Wellness Strategy or Just Another Workout?

One of the things I love the most about teaching is the diversity of people and body types in my class. Sure, if you’re tall and lanky, have always found your toes elusive, I have answers! But what if you’ve trained in dance and are 85? Or, you ‘re a young person with joint inflammation? On a given day, the age range in a “typical” YogaHotDish class is 30-80 — and trust me, that’s anything BUT typical in the mass market (big yoga) universe.

So what’s the draw for all these people of different backgrounds, ages and issues? They’re not looking for just another workout. If they were, it would be tricky to teach them all at once; that’s why you have so many “levels” in group exercise and fitness yoga classes.

Nope, at YogaHotDish, people tend to start at any age, but then stick with the program. Now, these aren’t 24-7, #yogaeverydamnday #instayoga types. They have lives and other interests. So why is it they set aside at least 90 minutes a week for class, over decades?

Near as I can tell, they haven’t found anything else that covers so many bases and is so effective at keeping them not only fit… but well.

Fitness and wellness are not the same things. In fact, a lot of fitness regimens can be pretty hard on your body, especially your joints. A comprehensive yoga class on the other hand is a different animal altogether.

I love to describe YogaHotDish classes as “comprehensive” but I suppose it’s confusing–what does it even mean? To put it one way, a comprehensive yoga class ticks all the boxes, not just for fitness, but wellness. Think of it this way, what would you have to do to curate everything we do in class on your own?

Well, let’s start with the obvious. You would need the following instruction:

Strength training


Stretching : resistance, eccentric, etc.


So that’s not such a big deal right? You could sort of roll that together and wrap it up in an hour? But remember, we’re talking wellness which means not just body, but the mind and your overall sense of wellbeing… To that you would have to add:

Mindfulness / meditation / cognitive behavioral training

Constructive rest / guided relaxation

Brain training (working memory, left/right brain syncing)

Breath control/ diaphragmatic exercises

Posture training

Stress Management

Finally, through Covid, we have all learned how important it is to socialize and co-regulate with trusted friends. When “big yoga” venues give away all those free trial classes, they do so at your expense. That’s attention you won’t be receiving and a missed opportunity to elevate a cohesive, experienced group up the curve. It also doesn’t maintain the “safe space” vibe so calming to nervous system. To do yoga with the same crew every week, you’re getting into spendy semi-private instruction. Sounds serious, but we also like to have some laughs and even travel together, so add on:

Happy hour, coffee klatch, retreats, etc.

Uff-Dah! Maybe I should charge more…. 🙂

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Shaila Cunningham

Shaila Cunningham