Frequently Asked Questions
What is a private class?
A private class is a one-on-one session taking place in the privacy of the student’s home. These are perfect for those new to yoga and/or meditation, or for those with physical limitations who need special guidance. Private classes are available in both 60, or 90 minute sessions.
Do I need to be physically flexible to start yoga?
No. Over time, yoga will help to improve your flexibility. During the class modifications are offered so that everybody can work according to his or her own physical capabilities. It is very important to listen to your own body in an honest way and decide what is appropriate for you.
Do I need my own yoga mat?
Having your own mat is nice, for sanitary reasons and comfort. Mats, blocks, blankets and straps are available to borrow for all classes.
Should I eat before the class?
Yoga should be practiced on a fairly empty stomach so it is a good idea not to eat a big meal just before the class.
How many types of Yoga are there?
Hatha Yoga, which includes postures and breathing, and is the form most popular in the West, is actually part of Raja Yoga, the royal path of self control. The path most followed in India is thought to be Bhakti Yoga, the path of devotion. Within Hatha Yoga there are many styles, such as Iyengar, Anusara, Vinyasa, and Kripalu, to name a few. These Yogas all share a common lineage back to Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, a text outlining the basic philosophy and practices of Classical Yoga. It was written sometime between the second century B.C. and the first century A.D.
Do I have to do yoga in bare feet?
Yes, please - it will help your balance as well as strengthening your feet.
What should I do if I am late
Being early to a Yoga class is the best situation. This will allow you to settle in before class begins and to shift your energy from the outside world, inward. It is important that class begins at the time stated, as a sacred, nourishing atmosphere is held for the benefit of all. If you find yourself late for a class, you have the responsibility to decide at that moment whether you will still benefit from entering after class has started, and whether you are interfering with the subtle energy that has already been formed in that space. Out of respect for your fellow practitioners and for the teacher, it is preferred that you wait until you sense movement in the class before entering, and do so with as little distraction as possible.
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 and you have discussed it with your health care professional. 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 and inverted postures, especially in the later stages. It's also a good idea to work with a yoga teacher with pre-natal yoga experience.
Is Yoga a Religion?
Adapted from The Pure Heart of Yoga: Ten Essential Steps for Personal Transformation
"One of the nice things about yoga is that it contains no religious dogma and allows for anyone who practices it to follow their individual spiritual beliefs. In this way, the religious person might understand his or her connection to the infinite as a process of becoming one with God, while an atheist might call it transcending the human ego. Yoga can be adapted to a variety of belief systems while remaining equally effective and transformative. One of the reasons for yoga's popularity is that it is extremely adaptable and can be practiced alongside other belief systems. In the end, yoga provides a path to quieting the mind so that we can all feel the innate stillness and joy of being alive. Swami Aranya, the great yogic scholar and practitioner, describes the idea of connecting to the infinite (ananta-samapatti) in the following way: "My body has become like a void dissolving itself in infinite space and I am like the wide expanse of the sky.
One of the foundational texts on yoga is The Yoga Sutras written around the second center BCE by the great Indian sage Patanjali. The Yoga Sutras provides a theoretical and philosophical basis for yoga as well as clarifies many important esoteric concepts. Like Swami Aranya, The Yoga Sutras also describes the experience and purpose of yoga, especially the poses, in terms of the infinite: "By relaxation of effort and meditation on the infinite, postures (asanas) are perfected." The goal of a pose is no different from the goal of spiritual life: to put you in touch with the larger universe or reality."
A few words from Georg Feuerstein, Ph.D.
"Some Westerners who are practicing Christians or Jews are concerned about Yoga being an Eastern religion. They fear that by taking up the practice of Yoga, they might undermine their own religious faith. Are their fears warranted? Is Yoga a religion? The quick answer to both questions is: Instead of undermining their personal faith, Yoga can actually deepen it. In the following I will offer a more detailed explanation.
At the heart of all forms of Yoga is the assumption that we have not yet tapped into our full potential as a human being. In particular, Yoga seeks to put us in touch with our spiritual core—our innermost nature—that which or who we truly are. That nature is described differently by the various schools of Yoga. Rather than being expected to believe in any of the traditional explanations, we are free to allow our personal experience and realization to shape our understanding.
Over the millennia, Yoga has become associated with various philosophical and theological systems—none of which can be said to define Yoga itself. For Yoga is first and foremost a practical spiritual discipline that emphasizes personal experimentation and veriﬁcation. In other words, direct personal experience or spiritual realization is considered senior to any theory or conceptual system."
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