What is Yoga?
What are the different styles of Yoga?
What yoga do you teach?
Is Yoga a religion?
What are the benefits of Yoga?
I am not very flexible. Can I still do Yoga?
I am new to Yoga. What should I do?
I have an injury or medical condition. Can I do Yoga?
I am pregnant. Can I do Yoga?
How should I prepare for class?
Who can do Yoga?
The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit (ancient Indo-Aryan language) word “yoke” or “union.” It is the union of a person’s consciousness with the greater universal consciousness.
When people think of yoga, they often get the image of someone twisted into a pretzel. That is only a part of yoga. Yoga is not just a physical, but more importantly a mental and spiritual discipline.
Scholars estimate it is about 5,000 years old. Over time, yogis achieved the balance of mind, body and spirit through exercise, breathing and mediation. All three are part of the practice of yoga.
There are six branches of yoga:
- Hatha – Yoga of postures
- Jnana – Yoga of the mind, of knowledge and study
- Bhakti – Yoga of devotion and selfless love
- Karma – Yoga of service
- Raja – Yoga of control of the mind
- Tantra – Yoga of rituals to find spirituality (includes breathing exercise and mantras)
Most styles of yoga taught in the west fall under the Hatha branch. More details on different styles of yoga.
The yoga I teach is a combination of Kripalu, Iyengar, Ashtanga and Yoga Nidra, all of which fall under the Hatha branch of yoga. Here are the different yoga classes I teach.
I have studied yoga since 2001, focusing on Ashtanga, Hot Yoga (Baron Babtiste style) and Jivamukti. Yoga is a great passion in my life and I practice it every day. It has changed and energized my life in the most positive ways imaginable, and continues to do so every day. To focus more on my yoga practice and give it back to others, I quit my corporate job of 7 years and devoted myself to expanding my routine and going through an intense Teacher Training program.
Yoga is not a religion, but rather an ancient physical and mental discipline originating in India. Its goal is to achieve balance, harmony and peace of mind, body and spirit.
- Strengthens and tones muscles
- Increases range of motion and flexibility
- Stimulates and massages internal organs
- Stimulates muscles, glands and nerves
- Increased lubrication of joints, ligaments and tendons
- Improves ability to balance
- Improves respiration and lung capacity
- Increases blood circulation
- Promotes cardio health
- Lowers blood pressure (except a few poses which raise it)
- Aids digestion
- Helps detoxify system
- Pain prevention: increased flexibility and strength can help prevent causes of back pain
- Increases metabolism and energy
- Improves quality of sleep
- Reduces stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression
- Strengthens mental equanimity
- Teaches you how to quiet your mind and focus your energy
- Encourages self-acceptance
- Encourages discipline
- Helps you gain an inner awareness, of your body and feelings, as well as of the world around you
- Brings balance and harmony to mind, body and spirit
- Helps you connect your higher self with universe
- Yoga is nondenominational and simply teaches universal values: patience, forgiveness, gentleness, love, etc.
Absolutely – in fact, I encourage you! Yoga is for everyone and every body is unique and different. Know your limits and your body and you will do just fine. Stretching further into a pose does not make it better. The key is to work on symmetry, alignment, balance and extension.
My beginner’s classes focus on the many easier poses and stretches. If you start practicing on a regular basis, you will notice a difference in your flexibility very soon.
I recommend the Level 1 yoga class for beginners. There is also a workshop called Yoga 101, which teaches the basics of yoga in more detail and over the course of 4 hours.
Check with your doctor prior to starting a yoga practice. In most cases it is safe to do yoga because you simply adjust the pose to your condition. Depending on what you have, you may want to take a gentler and more meditative class.
Check with your doctor prior to starting a yoga practice and let your yoga teacher know. Usually it is fine to do yoga and can be a great support for the body and the developing baby. There are modifications for poses and you have to pay particular attention to your body and what you feel. Restorative and meditative yoga are especially recommended.
- Wear comfortable, stretchy workout clothes.
- Since body temperature changes during a routine, wear layers so you can remove/add as necessary.
- Avoid perfumes or colognes as that can be distracting to others.
- Bring a towel in case you sweat during practice
- Avoid practicing on a full stomach
- Bring some water
- Be patient with yourself, respect and listen to your body.
No matter what age you are, you can do yoga. There are various adjustments based on your physical condition that can be made, and as long as you can breathe you can enjoy the benefits of yoga.
No matter what size or shape you are, yoga is about loving and accepting you and your body exactly how you are, and it’s accommodating and gentle enough to be done by just about anyone.