I’m not flexible – is yoga for me? Back To Top
Yoga is not a practice of being flexible – it is a practice that helps develop flexibility. In your first classes you will learn how to modify poses to suit your current level of flexibility, so that you can cultivate your practice gracefully.
I’m not skinny – is yoga for me? Back To Top
Yoga is for every body. Young, old, big, small, man, woman – everyone can benefit from making their body stronger and more limber, their breath more easeful, and their mind more serene. Yoga can help improve both your body and your body image, teaching you to find contentment in the present moment.
Is yoga a religion? How does spirituality fit into the practice? Back To Top
Yoga is not a religion. It is meant for anyone, regardless of their background. Yoga has been used in some religions, but it is a discipline that stands alone. Perhaps you will see evidence of eastern cultures in yoga, but that makes it no more of a religion than taking a trip to India or eating Italian food. If there’s anything you encounter in a yoga class that makes you uncomfortable, you have full liberty to leave that part out. Some consider the type of union of body, mind, and emotion attained through yoga inherently spiritual. But no matter whether you experience spirituality as literal, metaphor, or myth, you are encouraged to ask questions and decide for yourself what the system of yogic principles and practices mean to you.
Why all this focus on the breath? Back To Top
The breath is simple to observe, so it can be like a metronome guiding us with rhythm, and a tool to ground us in the present moment. Once we learn to observe the breath, we can then learn to use if more fully. When we inhale, our chest expands. When we exhale, our abdomen contracts. We inhale to rise up, backbend, and to invigorate, because our ballooning chest levitates us. We exhale to strengthen and release, as in chaturanga, and to hollow, as in forward bends. And steady breathing calms the nervous system. The breath is the very definition of our vitality – it is what proves that we are alive! So as we observe it we come into contact with our own life force.
What do I wear to class? Back To Top
Comfortable clothing you can move in. Yoga pants or sweat pants are fine, and you’ll prefer a close-fitting T-shirt. We remove our shoes in class so that we can pay close attention to our foundation – our feet!
How often should I practice yoga? Back To Top
Many yogis practice daily – newer yogis can practice once a week and build from there. It is more important that you develop a consistent practice than a rigid number of practices per week. For some, the benefits are felt instantly – for others, it may take a few classes to feel the effects. So stick with it in the beginning, and you’ll probably find your body telling you to come to class more and more, without ever having to set rules for yourself.
Why shouldn’t I eat an hour before class? Back To Top
Since yoga involves some twisting and forward bending, it is advisable to come to class with an empty stomach. You will feel lighter and more agile as you practice. However, if you need a very light snack before class to feel strong, you should go ahead and take it. It is also best to come to class well hydrated, but not drink too much water right before class or during class.
I have an injury or chronic condition, can I still practice? Back To Top
Yes, but take care. Go to an appropriate class level. When you arrive, tell the teacher what challenge you have and ask him or her to make suggestions for your practice. Listen to your body’s signals. Yoga can actually improve many conditions, like strengthening sore knees and soothing lower back pain, just to mention a few.
Why do they always have Savasana (final relaxation) in a yoga class? Back To Top
Savasana has been called the most challenging yoga pose, because it requires great surrender. It is very important to take time for stillness. It gives the nervous system a break and helps us cultivate poise and calm. Practicing Savasana can help us experience rest as relaxation with intention, rather than a state of inaction or lethargy – leaving us renewed and refreshed.