Yoga Basics

Yoga is a complete fitness program and will release endorphins in the brain as well as any regular exercise program. Yoga postures stretch, extend, and flex the spine, while exercising muscles and joints, keeping the body strong and supple. When done in conjunction with breathing techniques, yoga postures stimulate circulation, digestion and the nervous and endocrine systems. As a workout, yoga can be intense, easy, or somewhere in between.

Yoga is not just for athletes, pop stars and supermodels... Yoga is for EVERY BODY! Young or old, male or female, whatever your physical condition. Yoga is easily adapted to your individual needs and modified so that anyone can experience its transformational effects.

It's easy to start yoga. If you are faced with challenges in your life, start doing yoga and you will experience its instant benefits. Yoga is an individual, non-competitive practice which makes it a perfect antidote for stresses you may be experiencing in your health, at home, work or school.

As your practice grows, you will discover a renewed sense of positivity and enthusiasm seeping into all aspects of your life.

Yoga is safe. Other forms of exercise can put strain on the heart, muscles and joints. However, when practiced properly (with awareness of your personal limitations), yoga is a completely harmless form of exercise.

Yoga needs no special equipment. While there are a few props that can make your practice more comfortable, the only thing you need in order to do yoga is your body and your mat.

Yoga tones the respiratory system and helps you to breathe more fully, deeply and easily. By increasing your oxygen intake, yoga improves your physical and mental well-being.

Yoga is increasingly embraced by the medical community. Popular health practitioners who possess mainstream medical credentials and are open to alternative practices include Andrew Weil, M.D., Dean Ornish, M.D., Joan Borysenko, M.D., and Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. Such practitioners have long encouraged patients and clients to take up yoga.

Yoga is also an integral part of many stress management programs endorsed and paid for by HMOs and insurance companies.

Benefits of Yoga

People use yoga for an incredible variety of health conditions including anxiety disorders, pain management, asthma, high blood pressure, stress reduction and depression. Yoga is also an increasingly popular way to optimize overall health, achieve physical fitness and relax!

Research suggests that yoga will help you:

  • build strength & flexibility
  • realign your spine & improve your posture
  • create longer, leaner muscles
  • increase your metabolism
  • increase your lung capacity
  • increase your energy level
  • lose weight
  • enhance your balance
  • recover from injury and chronic pain
  • reduce heart rate & blood pressure
  • Manage chronic health conditions
  • counteract stress
  • improve your mood and sense of well-being
  • achieve a greater level of calm and clarity
  • enjoy life more (yes, really!)

Your Etiquette

Be on time.

Plan to arrive 10 - 15 minutes before class starts so you can get settled and relax into the space. Class doors are shut 5 minutes after the class begins.

Be open about injuries or health concerns.

Take a moment to tell the instructor of changes in your health or if you have experienced any injuries that could effect your practice. This will allow the instructor to adjust relevant poses and give modifications for your safety and comfort.

Practice on an empty stomach.

To receive all the benefits of yoga, you should not eat at least one hour before class. If necessary, meals eaten prior to practice should be light. Keep your body hydrated by drinking water before and after class. Drinking water at room temperature is best for your stomach and your metabolism.

Remove your shoes.

Since people will be walking around the studio barefoot, it is most hygienic if everyone removes their shoes before entering the training room. There is a rack for your shoes outside the lobby. Bags and jackets may be brought inside and left in the cubbies on the shelf.

Turn off your cell phone.

Yoga is much more than the poses we do. It is a process of understanding and respecting yourself and those around you. Please remember to silence your phones so rings and alerts do not disrupt your practice and meditation.

Respect your teacher.

When you enter a yoga class you sign on to respect the teacher for the next hour or so. You may discover halfway through the class that you don't care for a teacher, style or hour of the day. You should finish the class with grace and chalk it up to experience. Different strokes for different folks.

Don't skip savasana.

Your final relaxation in savasana is an important part of your practice. Don't plan to leave class early. If you must leave early, tell the teacher in advance and take a short savasana before you go. You'll be glad you did!