Yoga Tips

  • Please refrain from eating right before class. If you must, eat a small snack no more than an hour before class.
  • Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too far. If you feel pain, stop. If you can’t do the pose, don’t.
  • We can always modify postures. Don’t be afraid to ask!
  • Do your best to be on time.
  • If you have a mat, you can bring it to class. However if you forget, we can provide you with one.
  • Always honor your body and spirit.
  • Be patient. Yoga is a lifetime practice.

Yoga FAQ’s

What is Yoga?

Developed in India, Yoga is a psycho-physical discipline with roots going back about 5,000 years. Today, most Yoga practices in the West focuses on the physical postures called "asanas," breathing exercises called "pranayama," and meditation. However, there's more to it than that, and the deeper you go the richer and more diverse the tradition becomes. The word "Yoga" means union. Linguistically, it is related to the Old English "yoke." Traditionally, the goal of Yoga is union with the Absolute, known as Brahman, or with Atman, the true self. These days the focus is often on the more down-to-earth benefits of Yoga, including improved physical fitness, mental clarity, greater self-understanding, stress control and general well-being. Spirituality, however, is a strong underlying theme to most practices. The beauty of Yoga is in its versatility, allowing practitioners to focus on the physical, psychological or spiritual, or a combination of all three.

Is Yoga a religion?

No and...maybe. It depends on how you define "religion" and how the Yoga practitioner approaches his or her practice. The physical and psychological benefits of Yoga are real and don't discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, political persuasion or any other way people like (or dislike) to categorize themselves. The benefits also don't depend on chanting Om. On the spiritual side, most mystical traditions -- East or West -- draw similar maps of the spiritual path. So in that respect, Yoga is mainstream. Like Shakespeare said, "A rose by any name would smell as sweet." For these reasons, many people feel they can practice Yoga without conflict with their religious beliefs. However, Yoga is connected to the Hindu tradition and draws on many Hindu beliefs -- karma, dharma, reincarnation, Atman, etc.

I’m not flexible? Can I do Yoga?

Yes you can. Not everyone comes into a yoga practice with flexibility. It’s something that is gained over time, along with strength, balance, coordination and body awareness.

Is Yoga aerobic exercise?

Yes and...maybe. Aerobic exercise is simply exercise that improves oxygenation of the blood through an increased heart rate and deeper breathing. Yoga can do that, especially those styles such as Astanga and Vinyasa that have a strong focus on the flow of one posture to another.

What's the difference between Yoga and just plain stretching and normal exercise?

Traditional exercise is goal oriented: How many push ups can I do? Can I touch my toes? I'm going to do 10 more crunches today than I did yesterday. Yoga, by contrast, is a process. The idea is to focus your awareness on what you are doing and how you feel as you perform the postures. In exercise, you fail if you miss your goal. In Yoga, you succeed by trying. There's also a difference on the physical level. Weight training, for example, makes you stronger by breaking down and rebuilding muscle tissue. It's this breaking down and rebuilding that results in the bulky muscle look. Yoga increases strength by toning the muscles. (Top)

What is Om?

Om, also spelled "Aum," is a sacred Hindu sound symbolizing the Absolute. It often is used as a mantra during meditation. Although often pronounced as if it rhymed with "home," it is also pronounced "ah-oo-mm." (Top)

Will Yoga help me lose weight and which style is best?

Yoga can make you look and feel better, regardless of your weight. That said, Yoga can help you slim down in a couple of ways. First, the exercises will help you burn calories. In addition, they'll help tone your muscles and improve of your posture. Yoga is also about healthy living, which includes a healthy diet. That doesn't mean you have to become a vegetarian, just that you should be conscious of the foods you eat, sticking with natural, fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, etc. as much as possible while limiting your intake of junk food and foods high in fat, like red meat. Any of the basic hatha styles will help. The important thing is to practice daily or as often as you can. If possible, try and find a teacher. Books, videos and website can be a great help, but nothing beats a live instructor.
What is the most physically challenging form of Yoga?

Any one of the basic styles can be physically challenging. It depends on what you do and how you approach it. Some styles focus on holding postures for a long time, which can be very challenging, while others link a series of postures into a single flow, which results in physical workout. Ashtanga, Bikram's, Iyengar and Power Yoga are probably the most physically focused forms of Yoga.

Is it okay to practice Yoga while pregnant?

It's okay to continue practicing Yoga while you are pregnant as long as you were practicing before conception. Yoga is a great way to keep fit during pregnancy. In particular it can help strengthen the pelvic area, normalize thyroid functioning and blood pressure, and help keep you calm and relaxed -- all of which is good for the baby, too. In general, however, you want to avoid strain, compressing the belly, or abdomen, avoiding forward folds and inverted postures, especially in the later stages.

Should women do Yoga during menses?

Mostly it's a matter of personal preference. Some women don't want to do Yoga during their period, many don't mind and continue to practice during menses. For women who do choose to practice, it is suggested that they avoid inverted poses, abdominal strengtheners, extended holding of any pose, or energizing breaths (kapalabhati). The issue is that these practices might interfere with the downward flow or cause discomfort.