What is Yoga?

The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as “union” or a method of discipline. A male who practices yoga is called a yogi, a female practitioner, a yogini.

The Indian sage Patanjali defined the practice of  yoga in the Yoga Sutra an estimated 2,000 years ago. The Sutra is a collection of 195 verses that serves as a  guidebook for most  yoga that is practiced today. It also outlines eight limbs of yoga:

1. Yamas (restraints) & 2.Niyamas (observances)

You can think of these as the  the Beatitudes in the Bible.

3. Asana (postures)

4. Pranayama (breathing)

5. Prathyahara (withdrawal of senses)

6. Dharana (concentration)

7. Dhyana (meditation)

8. Samadhi (absorption).

As we explore these eight limbs, we begin by refining our behavior in the outer world, and then we focus inwardly until we reach samadhi (liberation, enlightenment).

Today most people who practice yoga are engaged in the third limb, asana and a bit of  Dhyani Asana is a series o of physical postures designed to purify the body and provide the physical strength and stamina required for long periods of meditation.

What is Hatha Yoga or  Vinyasa Yoga?

Hatha Yoga refers to a set of physical exercises . These  exercises ( postures and asanas) are often combined in sequences that are designed to align your skin, muscles, and bones. The postures are also designed to open the many channels of the body—especially the main channel, the spine—so that energy can flow freely.

Hatha is  is a sanskrit term when translated HA means “sun” and THA means“moon.” It is the union of opposites which creates balance in us.  Think of it this way, the  masculine aspects—active, hot, sun—and feminine aspects—receptive, cool, moon— join and exist within all of us. With consistent practice of Hatha Yoga, our physical bodies we develop a balance of strength and flexibility. We also learn to balance our effort and surrender in each pose.

Vinyasa  Yoga Combines a series of flowing postures with rhythmic breathing for an intense body-mind workout. Visualize a pearl necklace, the postures are the pearls and your  breath is the string. The breath links the next posture with the next. You are constantly moving ( flowing ) from one pose to the next.

Hatha Yoga  & Vinyasa Yoga are both powerful tools for self-transformation. It asks us to bring our attention to our breath, which helps us to still the fluctuations of the mind and be more present in the unfolding of each moment.

What is Restorative Yoga?

Rest, Relax and Release, this style is 

Restorative Yoga  practice frequently relies on the use of props and the prolonged holding of a few simple poses to achieve a deep level of relaxation. Restorative yoga provides you with a safe  and supported space , wherein you can relax and reconnect with your true nature. Our true nature is fearlessness, purity and limitlessness.  Making the connection through poses, breathing, and deep relaxation  you are able to let go of fear and embrace  your true self. You emerge feeling safe, secure, supported and happy!

Yin  Yoga
Yoga focuses on the Yoga that you can not see the organs , meridians, connective tissue. In the yin practice, muscles are relaxed versus being tense. The attention is aimed on the joints and the deep tissues wrapping them, not the more superficial tissues of the muscles or skin.  The poses are similar to many yang poses that you are familiar with but the intention and the length of time that the posture is held is different.  Yin poses are usually held for 3 minutes are longer.

Partner Yoga
Traditionally Yoga is seen as an individual practice. Often time there are asanas that can benefit two people at a time, or deepen the pose for and individual who has another yogi on hand. Partner Yoga  can be practiced by any two people and is a great way to foster confidence and trust to build better relationships.

What does Namaste mean?

The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a divine light within each of us, when we say it it is simply  an acknowledgment of the  divine presence of one sould by the soul in another person.  The light or God in me acknowledges the presence of God in you! It’s really a beautiful salutation. It takes away all of the things that could cause judgement or predjudice to what really matters,Our Souls!

Im not  Vegetarian, Can I Practice Yoga?

Ahimsa, which means non harming to self and others is a yoga principal. Thou Shall not Kill. Some people interpret this to include not eating animal products. This has been an ongoing debate in the yoga community. I believe that vegetarian is a personal decision that one has to make for themselves. Be sure to take into account your personal health issues as well how your choices will affect those with whom you live. Be mindful when making that choice and careful to not impose it on others around you, that kind of aggressive action in itself is not an expression of ahimsa.

How Many Times Per Week Should I Practice?

Every day that you eat! 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 benefits. You will have to create time in your day, make it a priority and committ to the time that you have allotted. You can begin with 20 minutes and over time your desire to practice more will grow, if it doesn’t right away that’s okay. Don’t allow time constraints or unrealistic goals be an obstacle — do what you can and leave the rest.

Is Yoga a Religion?

Yoga is not a religion. It is a philosophy that began in India an estimated 5,000 years ago. Patanjali, wrote the Yoga Sutras which are texts that  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, but you may find that it enhances your personal spiritual growth.

How Is Yoga Different From Stretching or Other Kinds of Exercise?
Yoga is more than just physical postures. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras  illustrates how the physical practice is just one aspect of a yoga practice. During yoga,  we connect the movement of the body and 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 become more aware of our  habits, judgement , feelings and are able to experience them fully moment to moment. A yoga practice heightens your awareness and creates flexibility in your body and mind.

I’m Not Flexible,Can I Do Yoga

Come as you are and you will find that yoga practice will help you become more flexible.  You will gain flexibility as you practice both in body and mind. Basketball players attend practice to gain basketball skills, You will practice yoga to gain flexibility.  

Do I Need Special Clothes or a Special Mat?

All you need is comfortable clothing so that you are able to move freely without constraints. Any yoga mat will do. As you get deeper into your practice and explore other types of yoga, additional items may be required to make your practice more safe and efficient. * Hot Yoga may require a towel over your regular mat*

Does Yoga Make You Loose Weight ?

Yoga is physical, any physical activity will promote some weight loss, as you practice yoga you become more aware of how your body feels when you consume certain foods.  You become more mindful and therefore make mindful food choices. Your asana practice combined with mindful eating will help you shed both mental and physical weight. 

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"If we practice the science of yoga, which is useful to the entire human community and which yields happiness both here and hereafter – if we practice it without fail, we will then attain physical, mental and spiritual happiness, and our minds will flood towards the Self." 
- Pattabi Jois If we practice the science of yoga, which is useful to the entire human community and which yields happiness both here and hereafter – if we practice it without fail, we will then attain physical, mental and spiritual happiness, and our minds will flood towards the Self." 
- Pattabi Jois

Why  Should I Do Yoga ?

1. STRESS RELIEF: Yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on the body. By encouraging relaxation, yoga helps to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Related benefits include lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting the immune system as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma and insomnia.

2. PAIN RELIEF: Studies have demonstrated that practicing yoga asanas (postures), meditation or a combination of the two, reduced pain for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune diseases and hypertension as well as arthritis, back and neck pain, and other chronic conditions. Some practitioners report that even emotional pain can be eased through the practice of yoga.

3. BETTER BREATHING:Yoga teaches people to take slower, deeper breaths. This helps to improve lung function, trigger the body’s relaxation response and increase the amount of oxygen available to the body.

4. FLEXIBILITY: Yoga helps to improve flexibility and mobility, and it increases range of motion and reducing aches and pains. Over time, the ligaments, tendons and muscles lengthen and you may see improved  body alignment.  Better alignment  results in better posture and helps to relieve back, neck, joint and muscle problems.

5. INCREASED STRENGTH:Yoga  postures use every muscle in the body, while increasing strength from head to toe. In addition,  the postures strengthen the body and help  to relieve muscular tension.

6. WEIGHT MANAGEMENT: Yoga can aid weight control efforts by reducing the cortisol levels as well as by burning excess calories and reducing stress. Yoga also encourages healthy eating habits and provides a heightened sense of well-being and self-esteem.

7. IMPROVED CIRCULATION: Yoga helps to improve circulation and, as a result of various poses, more efficiently moves oxygenated blood to the body’s cells.

8. CARDIOVASCULAR CONDITIONING: Even gentle yoga practice can provide cardiovascular benefits by lowering resting heart rate, increasing endurance and improving oxygen uptake during exercise.

9. FOCUS ON THE PRESENT: Yoga helps us to focus on the present, and helps us to become more aware, it also  improves concentration, coordination, reaction time and memory.

10. INNER PEACE: The meditative aspects of yoga help many to reach a deeper, more spiritual and more satisfying place in their lives.