What is Yoga?
The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word yug, meaning ‘yoke’, and is also interpreted as ‘union’, a joining with a higher level. The physical practice of yoga was primarily designed to facilitate the real practice of yoga, namely the understanding and mastery of the mind. Its ultimate aim is to bring about a thorough metamorphosis of the individual who practices it sincerely, to bring the practitioner to a place of inner peace, joy and harmony with others. As the mind, so the man; bondage or liberation are in your own mind.
What is “Vinyasa Flow?”
Vinyasa flow refers to a sequence of postures, or asanas, that are linked together. Vinyasa can be gentle or rigorous, depending on the type of class you take. We link our movements in a vinyasa practice with our breath, so that movement and breath are effortlessly combined.
What is Om?
Om is a mantra often chanted at the beginning or end of Yoga class and is said to be the vibration of the Universe. You don’t have to chant it if you don’t feel like it: you will still benefit from the vibration around you. Our entire Universe is in constant motion: the rising and setting of the sun, the ocean’s tides, the rustling of leaves, the beating of our hearts. Everything that exists has a rhythmic vibration that we acknowledge with the sound of Om, drawing us toward the connection of all living beings.
Why do we greet and depart with Namaste?
Using the word Namaste is an ancient form of greeting in India. The word has its origin in the Sanskrit words of ‘Namah’ which means bow, salutation, and paying obeisance, and ‘Te’, which means ‘to you’. The greeting is usually accompanied by pressing the hands together and holding them near the heart. The whole act communicates to the world;
"I honor the place in you where Spirit lives
I honor the place in you which is
of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace,
when you are in that place in you,
and I am in that place in me,
then we are One."
Can I do Yoga if I’m not flexible?
Perhaps the biggest misconception about Yoga is that you have to be ‘flexible’ to practice. To begin a healthy practice you need only a flexible mind; your body will follow.
What if I can’t do all the poses?
None of us can. Yoga is never a competition. Listen to your body and do what it is telling you. Begin slowly and your body will progress when its ready. Yoga class is a place of non-judgment and acceptance, and never a place to achieve “perfection,” which is why we call it practice.
Is Yoga a Religion?
No, Yoga is not a religion. Yoga is a philosophy. People of all faiths practice Yoga, and often find that Yoga draws them closer to their own faith. In the tradition of Sri Swami Satchidananda, founder of Integral Yoga, we say that “Truth is One, Paths are Many.” Yoga is an inclusive opportunity to bring people of all faiths together to see the oneness in all spiritual endeavors. 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.
Do I have to be a spiritual person to enjoy yoga?
People practice yoga for all different kinds of reasons, be they purely physical or with the endeavor of broadening minds and promoting inner peace, kindness and compassion. Yoga is what you make of it, and the goal is to enjoy it and walk away from a class feeling better about your mind, your body and the world around you.
How long do I have to practice Yoga before I see results?
As with most physically-based practices, this depends on you. It is both beneficial and necessary to attend class on a regular basis if you are seeking to achieve goals such as becoming more flexible, having better balance and posture, gaining muscle strength and enhanced cardiovascular health, as well as a sense of physical confidence and overall well-being. We recommend attending class at least twice a week to work towards these goals. Mentally, however, you will benefit from practicing Yoga almost immediately! You will more often than not leave a Yoga class “blissed out,” as we say, or having a calmer, happier outlook on your day and on life in general.
Do I have to be a vegetarian to practice Yoga?
The goal of Yoga practice is to be non-harming towards all living beings, which is the practice ofAhimsa. Some people interpret Ahimsa to mean the non-harming of animals and therefore abstain from eating animals and animal products. This is a personal choice. Being a vegetarian should not be something that you impose on others—that kind of aggressive action in itself is not an expression of ahimsa.
What should I bring to class?
Props are available for your use, and we have mats you can borrow from our studio. However, it’s a good idea to have your own mat: we have mats available for purchase.
What should I wear?
Comfortable and modest clothing is recommended, something that will allow you to move freely and won’t interfere with your physical practice. There is space at the studio for you to change clothes and store your personal belongings securely while you practice.
How do I know what class to take?
At The Yoga Tree Studio we offer classes at every level: please take a look at the class descriptions on our website and consult with us on which one would be right for you. Whether you seek a rigorous, more athletic practice or a relaxing, gentle journey, we have something that’s perfect for you. We encourage students to try lots of different classes and teachers in order to find one that resonates with you.
What is Savasana?
Savasana is the pose of complete relaxation done at the end of class, and is as vital as any other more active pose. It’s a lot more than just laying there: it is the way we assimilate the benefits of yoga we’ve accrued during our practice. A Yoga teacher once likened it to spending hours cooking a delicious meal and then sitting and eating it slowly, savoring it, letting all of the delicious flavors sink in. It is incredibly important not to roll up your mat and leave before or during savasana: not only is it disruptive to other students, but can you imagine spending all of that time and energy cooking that meal and then not eating it?
You’ve worked your muscles hard for an hour or more, and lying down with your body still allows your breath and mind to relax and release any tension. You can meditate if you want to, or just zone out, and sometimes you can get to the point where you’re so relaxed that you feel like you’re floating. Then when the instructor slowly wakes you up, you feel an amazing combination of serenity and energy