What is yoga?
Yoga is an ancient technology that has been practiced for thousands of years. Yoga means "union" - of your mind, body and soul, which occurs when yoga postures are performed and the movement is linked with the breath. Doing yoga brings about an awareness of your mind and body and allows for introspection so that you can examine, challenge and change life habits and patterns. Just as your life is always evolving and changing, so does your practice...yoga will provide you with whatever it is that you're looking for. For some it's improved flexibility, better sleep, stress reduction, spiritual enlightenment, exercise, or just an enjoyable activity! Whatever it is that has piqued your curiousity about yoga, that need will be met and more!
Why should I do yoga?
Everyone has a different experience but bottom line...yoga is good for you, it makes you feel great! Yoga benefits you physically and mentally so that you can live your life to your full potential. As the saying goes "Health is Wealth" and doing yoga can bring you both. Here are some of the health benefits you can expect to enjoy from doing yoga regularly:
- Improved flexibility, strength, posture and self-confidence
- Longer, leaner, toned muscles and fat reduction
- Proper breathing to improve energy levels and calm the nervous system
- Mental calmness and clarity
- Ability to relax and release tension
- Improved immune system and detoxification
- Increased self-awareness and self-control
Basically, yoga helps what ails you and is preventative health care! Sounds too good to be true? You have to experience it for yourself. Yoga is also an excellent compliment to your existing exercise activity such as running, skiing, and golfing, as it improves recovery and prevents injury.
What are the different types of yoga?
There are many forms of yoga which have the same destination but the journey is the difference.
- Ashtanga (Power) - An athletic style of yoga emphasizing a series of progressive postures synchronized with the breath, which build strength, flexibility and concentration.
- Bikram (Hot) - An athletic style of yoga consisting of the same 26 postures and 2 breathing techniques performed in a heated room (26-38 degrees Celsius). The raised temperature creates a deeper stretch, detoxifies the body and elevates the heart rate for a cardio workout.
- Hatha - Physical postures and poses that work directly on the body, and in turn on the mind.
- Kripalu - A "meditation in motion" using breathing, stretching postures and deep relaxation practiced with compassionate, non-judgmental self-observation.
- Kundalini - Focuses on linking movement with the breath to strengthen the nervous system and balance the glandular system. This produces a change to both body and mind so that you can fulfill your highest potential.
What is kundalini yoga?
Kundalini yoga is the most complete and effective type of yoga. It includes warmups, a yoga set (chosen from over 800 different yoga sets), breathing techniques, relaxation and meditation. The effects produced by doing 1 hour of kundalini yoga is equivalent to having done 16 hours of various other types of yoga! Kundalini yoga was brought to the west in the 60's by the master Yogi Bhajan. He recognized the need for everyday people to have a means for dealing with the constant pressures of life and since then thousands of teachers worldwide have been trained on how to use kundalini yoga as a tool to live Happy, Healthy and Holy regardless of religious beliefs or culture.
Can anyone do yoga? Do I have to be flexible (i.e. like a pretzel)?
Anyone can start a yoga class, you are not required to be in perfect physical shape or take on a shape of a pretzel! By practicing yoga at least once a week, you will notice flexibility and strength develop quickly. Yoga is noncompetitive, which can be quite liberating, so just let go of the ego and be content with how you are at the moment...everyone goes at their own pace and does their best. You have to start somewhere, otherwise you go nowhere!
If I have an injury can I still do yoga?
We recommend consulting with your doctor first to ensure that you can safely practice yoga without further aggravating your injury. After obtaining permission from your doctor, practice with awareness and use your own judgment to ensure that your practice is challenging but not painful.
What can I expect from a yoga class?
Each kundalini yoga class has the following structure: tuning in, warm-ups, a yoga set, relaxation, meditation and closing of the class. At Yoga & Tea, you also have the opportunity to share a warm cup of tea, cookies and chat it up with others in your class…a great way to meet others in the community!
- Tuning in with a mantra - We open the class by chanting a mantra. You’ll probably agree that music has a huge impact on your emotions and state of mind, and in yoga we harness the power of sound. It’s like listening to your favorite radio station, you’ve got to tune in to the frequency channel first. Likewise, we’re tuning in to our frequency so that we’re fully present and aware to begin our yoga practice.
- Warm-ups – 10 minutes of warm up exercise to increase circulation and flexibility before doing the yoga set.
- Yoga set – A kriya is a formula of postures, breathing techniques and sound done in a particular order to generate specific results. In kundalini yoga there are over 800 different yoga sets (kriyas) that can be taught in a class! They are each a complete body workout but can also address certain bodily functions or be abstract like improving creativity!
- Relaxation – After doing the yoga set, relaxing by lying on the back for 10-15 min allows for the flow of energy, hormones and blood to circulate throughout the body. By doing the kriya, you’ve done the work and now this is where the change occurs. By relaxing and doing nothing (!) you learn what it feels like to let go of tension in the body and to just be in the moment. Don’t be surprised to hear some zzzzzzz’s as some people find themselves transported into a pleasant yogic sleep, very healing, and awake refreshed. Ahhhhhh!
- Meditation – All yoga is to prepare the mind and body to reach a state of awareness where one can meditate and let go of all subconscious junk that clutters the mind. You take a shower everyday right? Meditation is considered a “mental shower” to cleanse your mind of all negative imprints that form fears, blocks, and patterns that hinder you from really being you!
- Close – The class ends with final thoughts and the Sunshine Song
I'd like to try a class, when can I start?
If we’re already into our class session, you’re still welcome to join midway or drop-in for a class. So you can start your yoga practice at any time... just arrive 15 minutes before the start of your first class to fill out a registration form and receive a short orientation session.
What should I wear and bring to yoga class?
- Clothing - We suggest that you wear comfortable clothing that you can move and breathe in. Yoga is done barefoot so expect to remove those socks!
- Yoga Mat – A sticky yoga mat is required for class, if you don’t own one, buy one at our studio, or rent one from us for a minimal $2 fee.
- Blanket - You will need one to cover up when lying down in order to retain body heat and allow for a deeper relaxation.
- Water – Bring a water bottle to stay hydrated before, during and after class!
- Mug – You’re encouraged to bring your own mug to class to participate in tea & cookies after class.
- Positive attitude & a smile! - Optional, but guaranteed you will leave class wearing both!
What is the recipe for your Chai Yogi Tea?
Mmmmm....you've been enjoying tea after class and want to recreate the yummy experience at home? Besides tasting great, the Yogi Tea we make from scratch and serve at the studio has numerous health benefits. Here's a link to the Yogi Tea Recipe so you can make it at home. For those days you just can't be bothered, you can also enjoy packaged Yogi Tea, available at our studio or online store.