New to Yoga
Yoga is a vast and deep subject, and understanding it can be a lifetime pursuit. The simple answer is this: the word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word "Yuj" meaning to yoke, and is often interpreted as “union” or “harmony”.This implies joining or integrating all aspects of the individual self; body, mind, and spirit or body, mind and breath.
What are the benefits of yoga?
- Brings balance and harmony to the body, mind and spirit
- Helps with strength, flexibility, range of motion and balance
- Calms the mind, reduces stress and anxiety
- Revitalizes the body and mind
- Slows heart rate
- Lowers blood pressure
- Increases circulation
- Strengthens and tones muscles
- Aids in detoxification
- Improves function of internal organs
- Balances muscular system
- Increases metabolism and energy
- Can help reduce depression, stress and insomnia
I'm not very flexible, can I still do yoga?
Yes! Yoga is perfect for you. In fact yoga is for "every body". Many people think that they need to be flexible to begin yoga, but that's a little bit like thinking that you need to be able to ski before you take a ski lesson. You need only to choose a gentle or beginning level class to get started. Come as you are and you will find that yoga practice will help you become more flexible.
Is it safe to do yoga if I have an injury or medical condition?
In most cases the answer to that question is yes. In fact, yoga is an excellent way to support the body in its healing process. However, you will want to inform or consult with your doctor or health care provider before you begin your practice, and be sure to let your teacher know that you have an injury or medical condition so they can address your specific needs. You may consider scheduling a one-on-one session with an instructor prior to taking on-going classes so that your unique needs can be discussed.
How many times per week should I practice?
This is the beauty of yoga - even if you only practice for one hour a week, you will experience the benefits of the practice. If you can do more than that, you will certainly experience more benefits, and more rapidly. We suggest starting with two or three times a week.
Perhaps you can make it to two classes a week and then you can try to do 10-20 minutes at home once a week. Don't let time constraints or unrealistic goals be an obstacle - do what you can and be happy! Never be worried about practicing or rushing to get to practice. This is counterproductive. You may find that after awhile your desire to practice expands naturally and you will find yourself wanting to practice more and more.
How is yoga different from stretching or other kinds of fitness?
Unlike stretching, sports, or other kinds of fitness, yoga is so much more than just physical exercises. Patanjali's eight-fold path illustrates how the physical practice (asana/postures) is just one aspect of yoga. And even within this physical practice, yoga is unique because it connects the movement of the body and the fluctuations of the mind to the rhythm of our breath.
Connecting the mind, body, and breath in this way helps us to direct our attention inward. Through this process of inward attention, we learn to recognize our habitual thought patterns without labeling them, judging them, or trying to change them; in other words, we learn to become more peaceful. Slowing down the mind in this way also allows us to become more aware of our experiences from moment to moment. In addition, yoga is not competitive nor is there a goal to be achieved. You are simply asking yourself to be present, work with your own body, at your own level, and breath. Not only will your body become more flexible by doing yoga, but mostly likely, so will your mind.
Is yoga a religion?
Yoga is not a religion. It is a both a philosophical system and a science that began in India an estimated 5,000 years ago. Patajali's Yoga Sutras simply provide a framework for self-awareness and mastery over the physical and mental body.
In our classes you will learn the basics of Asana (postures), Pranayama (breathing techniques), Meditation (a way to calm the fluctuating thoughts of the mind and to feel deep peace), and some philosophy. For instance, at the beginning of the class you may be asked to set an intention for your practice, or you may be asked to embody gratitude, or perhaps listen to the wisdom of a Patajali: "A yoga pose is a steady, comfortable position" or simply hear words such as: "Inhale deeply and find the still point within, from that place, let all action begin."