Do I have to be young and fit to benefit from yoga?
Yoga is for everyone, it does not discriminate. All ages, shapes and sizes all over the world enjoy the benefits of yoga. Yoga has the potential to frighten people off even trying class because of the stigma attached to the word and association of what Yoga means to them.
Unfortunately some people can think you need to be flexible or thin or have the perfect body to attend. This is a myth and sadly prevents a lot of people from missing out on such a glorious lifestyle.
Yoga is for everyday people to bring greater acceptance and clarity into their body and mind. You can expect an increase in your strength, flexibility, grace, calmness and balance in just a short while. It doesn’t matter how old or how fit you are. Yoga will rejuvenate the body, relax the mind and revitalize the spirit – no matter what your challenges are.
Do I have to be really flexible to do yoga? Some of those poses look completely impossible and make me feel like a failure before I even start!
One of the most powerful benefits of practicing yoga is that it can assist us with self chatter. It gives us the opportunity of accepting exactly where we are right now without judgement. This takes not only time but a lot of courage to attend a yoga class for the first time. The below paragraph will hopefully help you with this and also inspire you to give Yoga a go.
Our goals are all the same to gain strength, flexibility and balance. And those impossible-looking postures – they can all be modified to suit where you’re at, or the use of props can help too. Failure to successfully perform those â€œimpossible postures doesn’t equate to failure at yoga. The journey and process is always more important and rewarding than the destination “ that’s why they call it yoga practice. Most people actually practice yoga to improve their flexibility. However because different people have different levels of strength AND flexibility, means that some people will begin yoga from a different starting place. Some people are naturally flexible however yoga is about much more than just being flexible. Lastly, Yoga is fun. It makes you smile, it makes you take life less seriously. You begin to enjoy where you body is in this moment, not where you think it should be.
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.. “Nama” means bow, “as” means I, and “te” means you. Therefore, Namaste literally means, “I bow to you.” I honour the divine spark in you. Another way to explain it is the light in me sees the light in you!
To perform Namaste, we place the hands together at the heart charka, close the eyes, and bow the head. It can also be done by placing the hands together in front of the third eye, bowing the head, and then bringing the hands down to the heart. This is an especially deep form of respect.
Namaste can be offered both at the beginning and at the end of class. Usually, it is done at the end of class because the mind is less active and the energy in the room is more peaceful. The teacher initiates Namaste as a symbol of gratitude and respect toward her students and her own teachers and in return invites the students to connect with their lineage, thereby allowing the truth to flowâ€”the truth that we are all one when we live from the heart.
Can I change my body shape / burn calories with yoga?
A lot of yoga movements elevate your heart rate, so can have a cardiovascular effect. Like any form of physical activity if it is practiced regularly and consistently you will be feeling an all over sense of well being and depending on your metabolism, food intake as well as your sleeping patterns, you will definitely begin to notice changes within your body. This renewed focus and discipline facilitates your all over mind/body strength.
Does YOGA conflict with my religious beliefs/faith?
Yoga is not aligned with any religion, though is complimentary to most people’s belief systems and spirituality. When you start on your yoga journey, the focus is initially on the physical aspects (poses and breath work) as well as the quietening of the mind “ rather than raising concepts of ideology. During your practice, if your teacher chooses chanting or perhaps uses spiritual-based terminology, interpret it through a filter that suits and supports your own faith. The yogic spirit is really honouring the spirit within ourselves, and for the general greater good. We choose any poems, readings or great spiritual messages from masters of all faiths and value systems. We explain to the class in detail the symbolism that these messages can represent to us and our lives.
I’m carrying an injury / condition / postural issue / pregnant – can I still do yoga?
Because we can modify poses and exercises to suit individuals, we encourage you to participate. It is advised that you have clearance or a recommendation from your health practitioner (physio, chiro-practor, doctor etc). You will be taught how to modify around your condition and gain a heightened experience of the mind/body connection – as your body will be giving you clearer signals than most. You will fill in an registration form that requires you to give all injuries or concerns prior to your class and we also advise that you speak to your Yoga teacher to confirm that they are aware of your condition or pregnancy.
Please know that Pregnancy yoga is currently not at our centre however we invite you to join any of our 6pm classes at our studio.
Do you run YOGA classes elsewhere I can attend?
We have a beautiful team of Yoga teachers that teach in many locations. Please ask us next time you are in at the Harmony Centre.
What should I wear / bring?
We suggest you wear lose, comfortable, clothing and bare feet for the session. All Yoga mats and props are supplies however you can bring a towel or some water to drink. It’s best to start your class with an empty bladder and an empty stomach. Typically what happens in yoga and what happens when food is digesting, isn’t a happy harmony – a full meal no less than 90 mins before class. A small snack is OK during that hour prior to class if you’re hungry, but wait till after class for a full meal. It is a wonderful opportunity for your body and mind to digest your yoga practice and not have to deal with digesting food at that time. You are encouraged to bring your own mat should you feel the need, some Yogis love the energy of there own mat and space.
How do I know if I`m ready for an intermediate class?
Unlike the (general) yoga classes where modifications are offered to make poses either easier or more challenging, in an intermediate classes you are required to have an in-depth knowledge of the yoga poses as the class is more flowing less gentler variations are offered. If you need to modify them, the expectation is that you have enough yoga experience and your own body awareness is such that if you know you need to modify a pose, you can do it yourself as you have the skill to listen to your own body’s intelligence. You need to be (relatively) injury-free, healthy and not or having trouble conceiving.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. -Helen Keller
Most yoga practiced in the western world is Hatha Yoga – which means any form of yoga that involves the act of doing poses (asanas), breathing with intention (pranayama) and creating a deep state of internal focus.
The word Hatha is translated as: Ha = Sun. Tha = Moon. Hatha = the union of sun & moon, which comes back to the definition of yoga – the union of opposites. To practice Hatha is to unite opposites. It is the physical approach to the 8 limbs of yoga. When you think about it, it bears an obvious relation to the opposites we experience in class: front/back, left/right, up/down, in/out, and mind/body.
Typically one will encounter different â€˜styles’ of yoga in the western world, eg. Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bikram, Power Vinyasa, Kundalini, Ki – and some classes will even be described as Hatha. This can be interpreted as a â€œHathaâ€ï¿½ style yoga class being probably a mixture of influences drawn from several other styles of yoga (such as Ashtanga, Iyengar, etc).