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 “Hatha” Yoga?
Hatha yoga refers to a set of physical exercises (known as asanas or postures) designed to align your muscles, joints and bones. The postures are also designed to open the many channels of the body—especially the main channel, the spine—so that energy can flow freely.
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.
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 of Ahimsa. 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?
Towels and props are available for your use, and we have mats you can rent for a nominal fee. However, it’s a good idea to have your own mat: we have a few different kinds 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 Satya 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 favorite teacher of mine 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
Rules and Yoga Studio Etiquette
We don’t like to think of them as “rules,” per se, but really just practices based on common sense and courtesy that deal with some issues specific to yoga classes and studios.
“Namaste” roughly means “I recognize and bow to your presence and existence in the Universe.” It is a sign a mutual respect, and that’s what its all about in our studio.
- Be on time. We have a small, one-room studio, which means that a late arrival will be disruptive to the teacher and students. Just as important is the need to have a few minutes on your mat before class to quiet your mind and be present: rushing in to a yoga class is counter to the purpose.
- Turn off your cell phone when you enter. Turn off vibrate while you’re at it: we’re a cozy little studio and you’ll be able to hear it. Airplane Mode is preferred.
- Remove your shoes when you enter the studio.
- Refrain from wearing perfume or heavily-scented lotions or oils
- Don’t skip Savasana. Not only will you be robbing yourself of the reward of your practice, you will be denying others this special time.
- Respect others by not chatting loudly before class.
- Show respect for your teacher by following his/her class and not “doing your own thing.” This is incredibly distracting to both the teacher and to the other students in your class.
- Refrain from eating heavily at least 2 hours prior to class. We’re going to be twisting and inverting our bodies, and doing this on a full stomach is rather unpleasant. If you are a person with a fast-acting digestive system and are afraid you might get hungry or feel weak during yoga class, experiment with a light snack such as yogurt, a few nuts, or juice about 30 minutes to an hour before class.