Can I just show up for any class?
If you are unsure, please contact Sharon at 604-989-9642 (YOGA) for a phone consultation.
Do I need to bring my own mat?
You are welcome and encouraged to bring your own yoga mat for hygienic reasons.
What is Yoga?
Yoga was first discovered in India 5000 years ago. The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root yuj meaning “to join” or “to yoke”. Yoga is the union of one’s individual consciousness and the universal consciousness. Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind” or “Yoga is the calming of the mind”. Learning how to calm the mind is where the real practice of yoga begins.
It can be considered a science, philosophy and to the serious practitioner, a life’s path.
Patanjali (the 1st ancient sage to document this tradition) describes yoga as a complete path towards total well being. Within his writing, he outlined the 8 limbs of yoga:
Asana: Physical conditioning
Pranayama: Breath control
Pratyahara: Withdrawal of the senses
Samadahi: Superconciousness… joy and peace
Hatha Yoga is the physical component of Ayurveda (the traditional naturopathic healing science of India) and Ayurveda is the medicinal component of hatha yoga.
I’m not flexible – can I do yoga?
This is a great reason why you should practice! Come as you are and you will find that yoga will help you become more flexible, balanced and coordinated. A regular yoga practice will enhance cardiovascular health, physical confidence, mental clarity and overall well-being. Yoga is a complete body and mind experience.
Why are you supposed to refrain from eating two to three hours before class?
In yoga practice we twist from side to side, turn upside down, and bend forward and backward. If you have not fully digested your last meal, it will make itself known to you in ways that are not comfortable. If you are a person with a fast-acting digestive system and are afraid you might get hungry or feel weak during yoga class, experiment with a light snack such as yogurt, a few nuts, or juice about 30 minutes to an hour before class.
How many times per week should I practice?
Yoga is amazing–even if you only practice for one hour a week, you will experience the benefits of the practice. If you can do more than that, you will certainly experience more benefit. We suggest starting with two or three times a week, at your own pace. Don’t let time constraints or unrealistic goals be an obstacle–do what you can and don’t worry about it. You will likely find that after a while your desire to practice expands naturally and you will find yourself doing more and more.
How is yoga different from stretching?
Unlike stretching or fitness, yoga is more than just physical postures. Patanjali’s eight-fold path illustrates how the physical practice is just one aspect of yoga. Even within the physical practice, 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. The father of classical ashtanga yoga (the eight-limbed path, not to be confused with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois’ Ashtanga yoga) is said to be Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutra. These scriptures 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.
What does Om mean?
AUM is how it is traditionally spelt and sounded. It is a mantra, or vibration, that is traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of yoga session to tune in to universal consciousness and internal presence. It is said that it is the sound of the universe.
The ancient yogis knew what scientists today are telling us–that the entire universe is moving. Nothing is ever solid or still. Everything that exists pulsates, creating a rhythmic vibration that the ancient yogis acknowledged with the sound of Om. We may not always be aware of this sound in our daily lives, but we can hear it in the rustling of the autumn leaves, the waves on the shore, the inside of a seashell.
Chanting Om allows us to recognize our experience as a reflection of how the whole universe moves–the setting sun, the rising moon, the ebb and flow of the tides, the beating of our hearts. As we chant Om, it takes us for a ride on this universal movement, through our breath, our awareness, and our physical energy, and we begin to sense a bigger connection that is both uplifting and soothing.
What does Namaste mean?
The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. “Nama” means bow, “as” means I, and “te” means you. Therefore, Namaste literally means “bow me you” or “I bow to you.”
What are some of the benefits of Yoga?
Perhaps the first and most profound benefit that most people notice is stress reduction. The next benefit that all physicians’ support is circulation. Although Hatha Yoga does improve your flexibility, most people are not aware that Yoga asanas are also good for increasing strength. Balance of strength and flexibility is the focus. As the practice becomes more regular (2-3 times a week) most practitioners notice and increase in vitality and an over all sense of well-being.
Is Yoga safe?
In most cases yes. However if you select the wrong level of difficulty in a large group class and have some physical limitations, you could have some problems. It is very important that you are in the right class and inform the teacher if you have any potential problems.
Is Yoga co-ed?
Yes, on the average there are more women in Yoga classes than men; however some of the more physical styles of yoga are moving towards and almost equal ratio.
What do you wear to a Yoga class?
There is a wide variety of clothing worn in Yoga classes, depending on how physical the class is and the temperature of the room. Women often wear tights or shorts. Men often wear shorts or sweats. The most important consideration is to be comfortable and able to move and bend in your choice of clothing. Although there is a growing trend to wear specifically designed and marketed “yoga clothing”, this clothing can be very expensive while you can find suitable yoga wear at your local department store. What you wear is a very personal expression but keep in mind that you do not need to wear anything in particular to find peace of mind.