What Is Yoga?
Can you give me an example of yoga?
Are all yoga classes the same?
What style of yoga do you teach at Healthy Life Yoga?
What are some of the benefits of yoga?
Who can practice yoga?
How often should I practice yoga?
What do I need to prepare for class?
What is the proper etiquette for class?
Which class level is best for me?
Do I need to register before I attend?
What do I do if I’m late for class?


What is yoga?
The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root “yuj”, which means to join, union or yoke. In essence, yoga represents the unity of body, mind, and spirit through concentration and movement. The main goal of yoga is to quiet the mind and connect with the deep peace within. Yoga originated in India over 5,000 years ago as one of six core components of Indian philosophy. About 2,500 years later, a revered teacher Patanjali systemized yoga and comprised the Yoga Sutras, which consists of 196 brief lessons on yoga. The Yoga Sutras have been translated by many different authors since then, so a variety of commentaries on the Yoga Sutras are available. Some people wonder if yoga is a religion. It’s not. It’s a systematic approach to controlling the mind and keeping the body healthy. In its simplest form, yoga is a physical and mental practice which supports our natural desire to improve our well-being.

There are five main aspects of yoga.
• Hatha Yoga represents the physical poses we practice to keep the body strong and healthy.
• Raja Yoga represents the control of the mind we practice during meditation to reduce stress brought on by worried thoughts.
• Karma Yoga represents selfless action we practice when we volunteer our time and do not expect payment.
• Bhakti Yoga represents devotion to a higher power, or something greater than our individual selves, which we practice when we come together as a community for the highest good of all.
• Jnana Yoga represents the path of knowledge we practice when we learn more about ourselves through personal study. Practicing all of the aspects of yoga in a variety of ways, creates a healthy, balanced person.

Can you give me an example of yoga?
To demonstrate the subtle effects of yoga, try this `exercise.

1. Sitting in your chair, give yourself a good stretch. Raise the arms over head and stretch the upper body (yawning is encouraged). Now, stretch out the legs.

2. Take a moment to get comfortable. Sit up, elongate the spine and relax the shoulders down away from the ears.

3. Settle into the seat and softly close the eyes to draw the awareness inward.

4. Place a hand on the belly to help keep the awareness on the breath. Try to gently direct the breath into the belly so it expands on the inhalation and pulls in on the exhalation. Take slow deep breaths that do not feel forced or strained. Allow the inhalation and exhalation to be the same length ~ about 3 – 5 seconds each. Stay as relaxed as possible. Whenever the mind wanders off to the to do list ~ gently return the awareness back to the breath.

5. Try this for a couple of minutes, keeping the awareness on the breath. Try not to be frustrated with the fluid mind. Just return to the breath when the mind wanders off. Listen to your own inner wisdom and finish when you are ready to by slowly opening the eyes.

6. Notice how you feel.   For some highly stressed people, this simple exercise can be very challenging. With patience and practice, it becomes easier and a welcome break during a hectic day.

Are all yoga classes the same?
Since yoga, in all of its aspects, has been passed down from teacher to student for thousands of years, different lineages formed through the different experiences and understandings of each teacher – creating different styles of yoga. The poses are the same among the different styles, but the approach to doing the poses is where they differ. Hatha Yoga is the description of the physical poses practiced in yoga, but one teacher approaches the same poses differently than another based on his or her own experience. Hence, there is debate on the “correct” alignment of poses and the best way to practice them. So, which is the best style of yoga to practice? The one that resonates with you the most! It’s your practice! Yoga is non-competitive. Find a style and teacher that connects with you, that brings you balance and a connection to your own inner peace.

What style of yoga do you teach at Healthy Life Yoga?
We teach an eclectic style influenced by Integral, Iyengar, Anusara and Ashtanga styles to make yoga accessible for you regardless of age, gender, body type or ability.

What are some of the benefits of yoga?
Physical Benefits:
• Controls cholesterol level
• Reduces weight
• Normalizes blood pressure and improves heart performance
• Reduction of physical stress and greater vitality
• Posture improves
• Promotes correct breathing practices
• Normalizes digestion
• Sleep improves
• Immunity increases
• Endurance increases
• Psychomotor functions improve:

  • Grip strength increases
  • Dexterity and fine skills improve
  • Eye-hand coordination improves
  • Choice reaction time improves
  • Steadiness improves
  • Depth perception improves
  • Balance improves
  • Integrated functioning of body parts improves

Mental Benefits:
• Mood improves
• Self-acceptance and self-actualization increase
• Social adjustment increases
• Anxiety and depression decrease
• Hostility decreases
• Cognitive function improves:

  • Attention improves
  • Concentration improves
  • Memory improves
  • Learning efficiency improves

Who can practice yoga?
Some people believe they need to be flexible and strong to take yoga, which can produce some hesitation in trying a class. On the contrary, yoga provides the ability to modify the poses to each individual body for support in gaining flexibility and strength. So, if you haven’t exercised in a while and feel stiff or weak, yoga can help you to regain your flexibility and strength. Many yoga advertisements show young, thin, bendy people practicing poses that can be unattainable for the average person. It’s just marketing. They can get their foot behind their head so they must know what they are doing, right? Not necessarily. It is not the goal of yoga to get your foot behind your head. It’s to be healthy in body and mind. If along the way, you gain enough flexibility to get your foot behind your head ~ kudos! It is fun to see what you are able to physically do, and you may surprise yourself along the way. However, the benefits of yoga are not limited to the thin and bendy, nor are they strictly physical. Some people have concerns about practicing yoga because they have health issues. Rightly so, no one wants to do anything to feel worse when they are ailing. However, many people with Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, and heart disease experience improvement and relief because of their yoga practice. Studies have shown yoga helps to relieve the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression too. If you have concerns about taking yoga, talk with your primary health practitioner ~ a good idea when starting a new exercise routine anyway. If your doctor does not practice yoga, ask us. We are available to answer any health questions you have concerning yoga, as well. Everyone can practice yoga in some form and benefit from it. We see students of all ages ~ some younger, some older ~ all shapes and sizes, all with different abilities and needs, and all grateful for an accessible fitness routine.

How often should I practice yoga?
Most people take a class once a week to learn how to practice safely and do some at home as it fits into their schedule. It is recommended to do a little something each day for the most benefit. Even a few minutes of mindful breathing daily can have positive impact on setting the tone for the day!

What do I need to prepare for class?
• Wear comfortable clothing… To be comfortable for class, wear clothing that is not too bulky, or loose. Clothes should fit well, but not restrain movement. Natural fabrics help to absorb toxins from the body as you practice. Remove hard contact lens, glasses and any restrictive jewelry before you start class to avoid discomfort. Soft contact lenses are Ok.

• Bring a yoga mat… We use a yoga sticky mat to help prevent slipping and potential injury. You may borrow a studio yoga mat if you do not have your own.  However, we encourage you to bring your own yoga mat as a matter of personal hygiene.

• Abstain from eating before class… Avoid eating heavy foods within 90 minutes before class. The body stops digesting while performing the poses. In addition, it can be uncomfortable to do the poses on a full stomach. People with blood sugar difficulties can have a little juice an hour before or maybe some soft fruit that will pass through the stomach quickly. Please discuss any concerns you have with your doctor. It’s best to allow the benefits of your yoga practice to settle in when you finish by not eating for one hour after class. The body is still eliminating toxins. Eating stops toxic elimination and starts digestion.

• Listen to your body… For your safety, it is important that you notify the instructor of any physical limitations you have before class begins, and we encourage you to stop at any time during class when you experience strong pain or discomfort. “Pushing through” pain is counterproductive in a yoga class and can lead to injury. Pregnant women should attend a class specifically designed to meet their needs or in a class with a prenatal trained instructor.

• Be patient… Even though you may feel good after class from stretching and moving the body, it will take about 3 to 6 months before you start to experience any real physical changes, such as increased strength and flexibility.

• Be confident… Remember that you are learning something new. As you get better at it, the poses will become easier to hold and the correct alignment for the poses will take shape. Do not hold the poses longer than is comfortable for the body. You will receive the most benefit from class if you listen to your inner teacher.

What is the proper etiquette for class?
The following guidelines help in creating a peaceful atmosphere for you and others during class.

• Arrive early and stay until the end of  class. Yoga classes start with a quiet centering exercise to set the tone for the practice. It is best to arrive 5 minutes early to get set up for class and find a spot. Rushing in late creates a disruption to the peaceful tone of the classroom and generates anxiety for the person running late. Additionally, we wind down class with deep relaxation, so rushing out before class is done breaks the momentum of class and deprives the person leaving of the best part of class! If you cannot attend on time or need to leave early, please arrange to make up your class on another day.

• Turn off cell phones and pagers. We want to help you in creating some personal time for yourself. Remember to turn off your cell phone and pager before class. This will give you and the other students, at least 80-minutes of uninterrupted peace and quiet. What did we do before cell phones?!

• Remove your shoes. Since we perform most of the yoga poses on the floor, please do not wear shoes inside the actual studio space to prevent tracking in dust and dirt. Attendees with allergies will be very grateful.

• Avoid wearing heavy perfumes. The nose is very sensitive, especially in a closed room. Come to class clean, and avoid heavy perfumes and heavily scented lotions. Strong smells can be very distracting and trigger allergies too.

• Create quiet. Please speak in a low voice to support the meditative atmosphere of the studio. If you are waiting in the lobby for the class before yours to finish, remember they are probably doing deep relaxation. Everyone appreciates your support in providing the best environment for class.

Which class level is best for me?
Our beginners class series is a great place to start if you are brand new to yoga. It introduces the alignment for the basic poses in the Level 1 class and acclimates new students to the flow of class, as well as how to use different props available for different needs. You can always ask if you are unsure. We are happy to help you find the right class for you, especially if you have physical challenges or injuries. We encourage you to try the different levels to see which is best for your ability, so all of the classes levels have a drop in option, as long as there is space in class.

Do I need to register before I attend?
Yes. We specialize in small class sizes to give personal one-on-one attention, as needed, during class. Since our classes size is limited, please call before attending, or register online. To register online, go to the “Register Online” page using the link at the very top of this page. We want you to be able to relax in class and not feel over crowded.

What do I do if I’m late for class?
The centering portion of class at the beginning is very important for setting the tone for class. Rushing in late stresses you and everyone else, so please make arrangements to attend a different class if you are going to be more that 5 minutes late. We like to start and end on time, as well, so everyone does not feel rushed when they leave. It helps to maintain the peaceful vibration created during class.

Let us know what you think!