Frequently Asked Questions:
What is yoga?
The word "yoga," from the Sanskrit word "yuj," means “union,” which can be thought to mean the union of mind, body and spirit. There are four main paths of Yoga: Raja, which encompasses Asana (postures) and Meditation, Karma (Action and Selfless Service), Jyana (Knowledge and Study), and Bhakti (Devotion). Most people today think of yoga as Asana, or physical postures designed to purify the body.
How is yoga different from stretching or other kinds of fitness?
Yoga is unique because we connect the movement of the body and the fluctuations of the mind to the rhythm of our breath. Connecting the mind, body, and breath 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. We become more aware of our experiences from moment to moment. The awareness that we cultivate is what makes yoga a practice, rather than a task or a goal to be completed. Your body will most likely become much more flexible by doing yoga, and so will your mind.
Is yoga a religion?
Yoga is not a religion. It is a philosophy that began in India an estimated 5,000 years ago. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the classical texts of Yoga, provide a framework for spiritual growth and mastery over the physical and mental body. Yoga sometimes interweaves other philosophies such as Hinduism or Buddhism, but it is not necessary to study those paths in order to practice or study yoga. It is also not necessary to surrender your own religious beliefs to practice yoga, and yoga does not conflict with any religion.
I'm not flexible. Can I do yoga?
Yes! You are a perfect candidate for yoga. Many people think that they need to be flexible to begin yoga, but that’s kind of like thinking that you need to be able to be a good golfer in order to take golf lessons. Come as you are and you will find that yoga practice will help you become more flexible. This newfound agility will be balanced by strength, coordination, and enhanced cardiovascular health, as well as a sense of physical confidence and overall well-being.
I have injuries. Can I do yoga?
One thing I always like to mention to my students is "Yoga meets you where you are." Which means, as long as you pay attention to how your body feels during practice, you will probably be able to do much more than you think you can. Just take it slow and easy; there is nothing to prove - not to yourself or anyone else. Modify where needed, rest when needed, and work at your own pace. If you have any specific conditions you are concerned about, please let me know before class.
Will yoga help me lose weight?
Yoga helps balance your mind and body, and my class will certainly give you a workout! If you practice yoga and reduce stress in your life, your body’s weight may normalize. However, eating a healthy diet, exercising and personal growth are all necessary to help with weight. Yoga is very beneficial in helping you increase your awareness of your eating patterns and lifestyle choices, so with time, weight and unhealthy behaviors tend to fall away naturally.
What do I need to bring to class?
All you really need to begin practicing yoga is a positive attitude. Wear a pair of yoga leggings or shorts, and a tank or t-shirt that’s not too baggy. No special footgear is required because you will be barefoot. Bring your own yoga mat. It can also be helpful to bring a small towel and some water.
What style of yoga do you teach?
I teach a Vinyasa, or Flow, style of Yoga, which means that the postures are a flowing series of movements linking the body with the breath. It is not "Power Yoga" and it is done at a moderate pace. My class also incorporates a lot of stretching and freestyle movement. I play and sing kirtan music in my class to infuse the practice with Bhakti, or the Yoga of Love and Devotion. Meaning, I emphasize opening the heart and feeling love for the Self and others.
What is spirituality?
Spirituality is about discovering that underneath our various backgrounds, races, religions and belief systems, we are at our core the same. To know this truth, one must go beyond personal thoughts and preconceived ideas based on ego. As one nears this discovery, one nears spirituality. If you consider the needs of another person for no gain of your own, then you are being spiritual. If you meditate to quiet your thoughts to go beyond your ego, you are being spiritual. If you choose love, forgiveness, and unity over fear and separation, you are being spiritual. Practicing yoga helps one to become more spiritual.