Simply Start Where You Are At
To help you get a better understanding of yoga and what it can do for you, let's
begin at the beginning...what is yoga:
WHAT IS YOGA?
Yoga literally means “union” or “to yoke”. It is the union of individual beings
with the absolute, the supreme spirit, the Divine, God, the experience of oneness
with the great Reality, or whatever term has meaning for you. It also refers to
reuniting us with who we really are; our true nature. It, therefore, represents the
experience of Truth, the consciousness of Reality, the union with the Divine.
Yoga aims to connect our mind, body, emotions, and spirit. It is that which
joins – the individual self with the Universal self. It is an expansion of the narrow,
constricted, egoistic personality to an all pervasive, eternal and blissful state of
Yoga, simply put, is a practical aid, and NOT a religion. It is an ancient
art based on a harmonizing system of development for the body, mind, and
spirit. The continued practice of yoga will lead you to a sense of peace and
well-being, and also a feeling of being at one with your environment.
Yoga is a journey of returning home to ourselves and a process of remembering great love. It is a practice that reconnects us to the flow of the natural world. Just as rivers flow into the ocean, we refine the flow of energy in the body so as to merge with the energy of the universe. Yoga aims to bring balance through:
Mind and body
Being and doing
Light and dark
Masculine and feminine
Effort and ease
Stillness and movement
Spirit and matter
The practice of yoga makes the body strong and flexible. It also improves the functioning of the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and hormonal systems. Yoga brings about emotional stability and clarity of mind. In the practice of yoga, the ultimate aim is one of self-development and self-realization.
There are also secondary meanings of the term yoga. It is a set of scientifically evolved and intelligently formulated practical techniques, enabling man to shed himself of all the impurities imposed upon him by the nature of his body, mind and senses. These techniques aid him to concentrate his thoughts entirely upon the Supreme. Thus, yoga means anything that man may do to purify his lower nature, to restrain his senses, to direct his mind toward “God”; to come into a deep interior level of worship of the Divine; and to realize his eternal oneness with the Divine Consciousness.
What Yoga is Not
There have been so many misinterpretations of this practice that clarifying what is not yoga is so important. Holding your breath, twisting your body or standing on your head is not yoga. While these are various yogic practices, when we refer to yoga we are referring to a particular state. It is a certain way of being; it’s living in the union of self and the supreme consciousness. This state is possible only by adopting and performing the complete yoga practice. Merely twisting the body in certain ways is definitely not yoga.
Some examples of what yoga is not, that are an insult to the beautiful ancient practice of conscious living:
Swinging on ropes and performing acrobatics
Using exercise balls to twist and bend the body
Performing yoga poses on a surfing board
Over the years, yoga has been adopting a shape which is totally opposite to its original roots, purpose and practice. Yoga has started taking the form of an industry. Various new styles are added every single day without maintaining the sanctity of the ancient treasure and wisdom.
(**Credit for much of this information goes to one of my wonderful enlightened Yoga teachers and mentors: Yogacharya VIneeta Sharma, YOGYAM Yoga 2015; www.yogyam.com)
A TYPICAL YOGA CLASS/SESSION with me (60 – 80 minutes)
Before your class – what to bring/wear
In order for you to feel comfortable and enjoy the class more, here are a few suggestions that might help:
Do not eat for at least one hour before the class, preferably two hours
Dress in comfortable, stretchable, layered clothing (i.e. t-shirt with a hoodie over it with stretchy pants)
Bring a bottle of water
Bring a blanket and small cushion/pillow to use during relaxation (Savasana) at the end of class
Bring your yoga mat, if you have one (I have extras if you need one – just let me know)
You will also be asked to fill out and sign a waiver form prior to participating in the class. It outlines any medical/physical concerns that I will need to know about. A sign-in/out form is also used at each class.
Your Yoga Class
We live in a fast-paced, hectic, and stress-filled world; my main goal in all my classes is to counter-balance this. I will lead you through a practice that focuses on moving the body (through strength / flexibility / endurance / balance), that will leave you feeling relaxed, calm yet energized, and definitely less stressed, with a sense of peace. I like to keep things light and informal, so everyone feels more comfortable and at ease. And, of course there will be calm, soothing music playing in the background.
If you come early, you will be encouraged to lay down on your mat and place your legs/feet up the wall. This allows the blood to flow away from the feet, where it tends to pool throughout the day, especially if you are on your feet a lot. It also stimulates your immune system.
Class begins sitting on your mat as we chant Om 3 times – a sound that has high spiritual and creative power that vibrates at the same frequency as all things found in nature; it also calms the mind and the nervous system. This is followed by a centering and connecting with your breath, which allows you to start focusing more on yourself as you leave the “outside world” behind. We proceed to warm up the upper body and do some poses and stretches before we come into a standing position on our mats. While standing we do some grounding, centering, and balancing poses that integrate flexibility, strength, endurance, and coordination.
We then go back down on our mats and do sitting, twisting, prone (face down) and supine (face up) poses which help to stimulate the body systems, and bring them further into balance. The final pose is Savasana, or relaxation pose. During this time, you lay down and allow your body to rest as it reaps all of the benefits of everything you have just done in the class. I will talk you through a guided relaxation and healing mediation sequence that will help to cleanse and clear any blocked energy channels in your body and bring you more into balance. We will then have a “TLC shower”, as we use the positive healing energy all around us to give ourselves a little extra love and healing through personal touch. And finally, I will guide you through a few self-reflexology points on your feet to bring you further stress relief and relaxation. The class will then end with 3 chants of Om, and an offering of Namaste (a show of respect to each other).
** PLEASE NOTE: ANYONE can do yoga, no matter your age or fitness level. You just do what you can within the limits of your body. Modifications and variations of poses will be shown so that everyone can do them. I will also go over a few important points at the beginning of each class, especially a reminder to be kind, gentle and non-judgmental of yourself.
BENEFITS OF YOGA
The benefits of yoga are immeasurable! Here are just a few of them:
Increases muscle strength and tone
Improves respiration, energy and vitality
Helps to maintain a balanced metabolism
Helps with weight loss
Cardio and circulatory health – improves heart function
Improves athletic performance
Helps with protection from injury
Lowers blood pressure
Helps ease physical discomfort caused by anxiety
Increases body awareness
Reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation
Sharpens attention and concentration
and so much more!!