practicing Yoga at the movement center

Hatha yoga is an ancient integrative practice of breath, mind, and body whose purpose is to support you in feeling vital, healthy, and happy. For your body, hatha yoga enhances flexibility, builds strength, and increases your confidence in moving with ease and balance.  On an energetic level, hatha yoga promotes a healthier flow of your vital force (prana, chi) by clearing out tensions from your body, mind, and emotions. It makes your energy level zoom! On a deeper level, hatha yoga precipitates an understanding of how to consciously relate to your life as a grounded, centered, and open-hearted person.

Hatha yoga is a practice of asanas (yoga poses), pranayama (focused breathing), inner connection and reflection, study, connection to community, care of oneself, and service to others. 

Like all integrative practices, hatha yoga operates on the principle that your physical body, mind, breath and psyche are dynamic and interconnected.  And, if you release tension and increase flow in one area, it increases everywhere. The special magic of hatha yoga happens because of the conscious and consistent linking of breath and awareness into the areas of the body that are being acted upon by the various yoga poses.

More specifically, here are just a few things hatha yoga practice can do for you:
Tone and strengthen your body | Increase flexibility and agility | Lower your blood pressure | Correct alignment issues | Reduce the effects of stress | Lessen back pain | Alleviate digestive problems | Clear your mind | Open your heart | Improve self understanding | Increase awareness of your inner energy (what makes you "tick") | Leave you with a feeling of joy!

When you first start to practice you'll likely experience some resistance to stretching in ways your body isn't used to.  At the same time, you'll feel better than you have in years.  It takes a little time to master the basic skills of hatha yoga, so be patient with your practice and enjoy your good work! From the very first class, you'll feel a positive shift happening. Bring a joyful approach and a wholehearted effort to your yoga practice and you'll be rewarded with ever-increasing joy, vitality, and the abiding experience that your life is growing deeper and more creative.

Asanas - the yoga poses

Yoga asanas are body postures you move into and hold with conscious breathing.  Asanas may be done seated, standing, lying prone or supine, kneeling, and even upside down.  They are intended to be functional and adaptable positions that can have an overall or specific benefit.  Yoga poses are intended to move your body through its possible range of motion.  This is different for each person, age group and level of flexibility – and so will look different from person to person. Attention is given to developing overall body strength and flexibility, awareness of safe alignment, and a true sense of respect and care for your body.  Pairing the movements with conscious breathing is vital for it releases tensions from your muscles and joints, and calms your mind.

breathing - a central focus

If you can breathe, you can do yoga! It's important that asana is taught from and with the breath. Why?

  • If we can learn to keep our mind centered within our breath and body while moving through a series of yoga poses, we can extend that capacity beyond the yoga class into our whole life.

  • Trusting our breath to lead our movements, it becomes clear when our effort is too much (we hold our breath, or become breathless) or too little (our mind wanders).

  • Learning to relax and go fully into the stillness of your natural breath, you may find a doorway for the expansion of your spirit!

  • Targeted breathing exercises are extremely effective for shifting our chemistry from the Fight or Flight response of the Sympathetic Nervous System, to the Rest and Digest state of the Parasympathetic Nervous System.

  • Learning to let our breath expand to its natural fullness is an invaluable tool for shifting your thought process out of reactionary mode.

inner connection and reflection

Meditation is a richly rewarding way to connect to your inner spirit.  It is also widely practiced as an effective stress management tool.  A simple breath-focused meditation is taught in most yoga classes.

Caring for Oneself and service to others

Whether or not you have any specific health challenges, yoga practice naturally brings about a desire for increased wellness.  The release of tensions and increased feelings of vitality can really inspire a person to take the next step in becoming healthier in all areas of their life. Yoga is an excellent support for many health challenges. If you would like to explore how yoga can help with a chronic health condition you are experiencing, check out our Individual Instruction page.

Another wonderful benefit of yoga practice is the unfolding of an understanding of how very connected we are to our whole environment, each other and our planet.  Many people feel inspired to adopt an attitude of service and go on to create beautiful and tangible expressions of flow and love within their family and the larger community.


  • It is not rigid. It is said that there as many yoga practices as there are students.

  • It is not just for the slim, fit, or young.

  • It is not a religion. You do not have to adopt religious beliefs that are different than those you hold dear. Yoga opens you to a deeper experience of your own beliefs and your religious and spiritual inclinations.

  • It does not require a commitment to any particular teacher, unless you choose to do so.


Our method of teaching asana and breathing makes it ideally suited for those needing a more measured pace of movement, or wanting to connect more deeply with their breath and spirit.  

On our schedule you'll find classes ranging from gentle to core-strengthening and everywhere in-between. Regardless of your age or physical condition yoga at The Movement Center is a dynamic experience that will put a spring in your step and smile on your face. You'll feel energized and more alive! We’re happy to recommend a good class for you to get started in.

Our studio location, in the heart of Northeast Portland, offers one of the most beautiful, peaceful settings for yoga practice in town. 

If you have questions about a specific class, please email us at, or call 503-231-0383, ext 2201.

The point of hatha yoga is to be able to feel the movement of energy within your body. To feel a change of state in your muscles, to feel an old strain pattern, an old constraint, or lack of development shift and become a vibrant muscle system that is refined enough and vital enough that you can feel the movement of energy through it, that is the point of yoga.

Once you have developed the sensitivity to feel these changes of state in your physical body, you can begin to feel changes of state in your energetic system. And as you continue to work on that, in time, increasingly finer changes of state become available to you and your health and creativity increase on every level.
— Swami Chetanananda