Questions & Answers
What is yoga? Is it a religion?
Yoga is not a religion, it is a system for living a fuller and more enjoyable life. You can take or leave any parts of the philosophy and/or practice that do not work for you. I believe that a consistent yoga practice can have positive effects on ALL facets of your life. The practice of yoga helps to put all of the components of one's self into a cohesive working unit. Yoga helps strengthen and balance body and mind. A consistent yoga practice has a huge transformational effect on the practitioner,helping to heal physical and emotional wounds. It can also help you to become more mindful in your daily life , having a trickling effect in all that you do and everyone you meet along the way.
What is Hatha yoga?
There are so many styles and expressions of yoga that is can be very confusing. Hatha Yoga describes any of the physical practices of yoga. Yoga has eight limbs, only one of which, asana, involves doing yoga poses. All yoga where you are moving your body is Hatha Based. Read more here about common Hatha Yoga based practices.
What age do you have to be to do yoga?
Young (ages 7–8) children can playfully be introduced to yoga. Children should never be forced into poses as their bodies are still developing. No one is ever too old to learn yoga. However, yoga will look different as we age. Modifications should be considered and used for all ages. Yoga is a science of the mind (not the body) as long as you’re breathing and practicing presence you are doing yoga. The most advanced practitioners will be more subtle in their movement.
If I am not flexible can I still do yoga?
It is quality NOT quantity that matters. Flexibility is one component of a well rounded Yoga practice. Although it might appear that someone who is very flexible can perform yoga asanas (postures) better than a less flexible person, this is a misconception. Yoga should not be confused with gymnastics. Yoga aims to develop one’s understanding, alignment, and awareness through subtle adjustments made to the body—the skin, muscles, tendons and joints—while in a yoga posture. Therefore, it is not important whether you can touch your head to the knees when bending forward. Flexibility does make achieving postures easier. But it is only one element of many necessary for a good asana. Flexibility is also developed with dedicated practice.
I’m overweight, can I still do yoga?
Yoga is for EVERY BODY. Yoga can be a wonderful form of movement that larger framed people can adapt for themselves. For those carrying more weight, low-impact exercises like yoga may be more comfortable than higher impact exercises like running. Most postures can be modified to fit your body.
"Yoga is the technology & foundation of my well-lived life — and well-loved body. It’s changed my world, rocked my core — and become my life’s work. I have no doubt that all these twists and turns brought me exactly where I am meant to be."
—Anna Guest-Jelley, CurvyYoga.com
What's the best level class for me to begin with?
If you have questions about your ability to practice the physical parts of yoga, try out a gentle class first and see how it feels. If you decide you want more of a challenge, try out a basic or all levels class. Make sure to tell your instructor if you are a beginner and of any physical limitations you have. A private lesson is a great way to start if you still feel unsure about where to begin.
What do I need to know or have before attending a class?
Be Patient! Yoga is meant to be a consistent practice for a long period of time. Yoga is practiced in bare feet so that you feel your connection to the earth (or yoga mat) and for better balance. It is good to have your own personal yoga mat. It’s more hygienic as you will be barefoot and most likely sweating. Wear clothing that is both comfortable and made of breathable fabric. Your first few classes may seem a bit overwhelming: the language (yoga terminology and anatomical references) may be new to you and you’ll feel and discover new things about your body and mind. Remember to breathe.
Will yoga make me sore?
It’s not uncommon to experience sore muscles after doing yoga, especially if you are just starting out or practice infrequently. Delayed muscle soreness usually occurs a day or two after exercising, which differentiates it from the sudden and immediate pain you would feel from pulling a muscle. Yoga can cause soreness, even if you are in good physical shape, because it encourages you to use muscles that are otherwise neglected. A hot bath with epson salts or apple cider vinegar can help relieve soreness. Light stretching and hydration can also alleviate soreness. If you continue to do yoga regularly, you will most likely discover you experience less soreness.
I have an ongoing problem with my back/shoulder/neck/knee, etc. Will yoga help?
Yes, absolutely. The practice of yoga can enhance flexibility, reduce stiffness, improve blood circulation and breathing, and relieve tension. This in turn can heal injuries and improve overall well-being. Starting with a teacher that focuses on the importance alignment and the foundational components of yoga is essential. I recommend taking a few private yoga lessons to address your personal and unique needs.
How often should I do yoga?
If you do yoga once a week, it will be hard to see much improvement. I recommend at least twice a week. You will be able to gain some ground. However three times a week is optimum for truly seeing improvement. You’ll be able to see and feel your body changing and healing for the better! More than that is okay, but don’t get extreme! Let your body rest and absorb the benefits of your yoga practice.