Beginners Yoga offers the practice of basic postures (asanas) and breathwork (pranayama) suitable for all ability levels, especially new or returning students and those looking to support their health and healing with gentle yoga exercises.
Students will practice the full range of asanas while sitting, standing and lying down. Techniques to modify or adjust postures to suit students’ individual needs and levels of practice will be available. As in all yoga practices, Beginners Yoga will support the union of mind and body, breath and intent to promote energy, relaxation, flexibility and strength.
Our Gentle Yoga classes are suitable for all levels of practice and abilities. They are truly perfect for those individuals new to yoga, those who haven’t practiced recently or those who want to take it a little easier. This serene gentle class focuses on an exploration of basic yoga poses and alignment principles and how to connect them through gentle breathing techniques for a holistic practice uniting body, mind and spirit. Class is therapeutic in nature. Learn techniques to strengthen the body, gain flexibility and quiet the mind. Immerse yourself into a yoga journey. Leave feeling relaxed and renewed with a sense of overall well being.
Qigong is the practice of exercises designed for energy cultivation through standing postures, gentle rhythmic movements, breath work and guided visualizations to increase energy (Qi) and vitality and to circulate energy through the body to cleanse and support health and healing. Qigong can be practiced by people of all age groups and ability levels. No previous Qigong experience is needed.
Bellydance will introduce history, theory, and basic technique to the inquiring novice dancer.
Belly Dance is all-inclusive and has a place for every interested individual from all backgrounds, race, identities, genders, shapes, and sizes. Applying yourself to intentional movement helps shape not only lyrics your body, but your mind and emotional well being. Taking control of the brain taking control of the body. After experiencing and witnessing these all encompassing benefits, it is our pleasure and passion to share with all willing participants. Together we explore posture, breath, muscle isolation, and balance by applying them to technical rhythmic practices.
Wear comfortable cloths you can move and stretch in freely. Showing your belly is not required. Bring a water bottle. We will have course coin belts you can borrow during class, but if you wish to sport your own feel free. Lastly a big smile.
Seasonal class ends with a graduation and performance party.
Q & A’s
- Why do we lay down at the end of class?
No yoga class is complete without savasana (translated as “corpse pose”). This is a time in class to practice the ultimate surrender and allowing your body to assimilate all the wonderful benefits of your practice. This is not a “yoga nap.” Nor is it time to lie there planning your next meeting or analyzing a past conversation with your significant other. It is time to rest the body and the mind. You are awake, but the body and mind are passive. Give yourself this gift of non-doing for several minutes—it’s incredibly refreshing… even more so than a nap!
- How is yoga different from working out?
In competitive sports and most workout regiments, we push our bodies to our limit without much compassion for ourselves. Our goal in yoga is to transform the running commentary in our heads about how we’re not strong enough or flexible enough or wearing the right pants into one focused on acceptance of who we are by cultivating a steady, smooth, full breath. If you are beating yourself up (mentally or physically) you are not practicing yoga. While we are all-human and will continue to struggle we have to make a personal commitment to meet our physical and mental challenges, to explore them, and to transcend them. What we learn about ourselves in this process helps us live our yoga off the mat.
Throughout class, accept where you are and work toward cultivating contentment. Be mindful and do your best. That is your offering. Let it delight you that you are committed to cultivating awareness and doing your best rather than trying to emulate what the person next to you is doing. Remember that there is a big difference between being self-aware and self-critical. Notice if you are judging yourself, acknowledge it, be thankful for this awareness, let the judgment go, and return to focus on your breath.
- Why is there so much emphasis on breathing?
Breath is often referred to as the bridge between the body and the mind. By observing the breath, we can cultivate awareness. Cultivating awareness helps us live in the present moment. Being aware in the present moment helps to bring about clarity. Clarity helps us make choices that enrich our lives.
Physiologically, when we lengthen the breath-cycle (the inhalation and exhalation make up a breath-cycle,) we soothe the nervous system. Long, deep, smooth breathing gets our sympathetic nervous system to relax. This is the part of the nervous system that is responsible for our “fight or flight” response, which due to the amount of stimuli around us in our modern lives, is always partially activated. Focusing on the breath in yoga encourages our parasympathetic nervous system to kick in. This is the part of the nervous system that is responsible for our “rest and digest” functions, which help to restore the body to a healthy state.
Breath is shape-change in the body. Inhaling creates more space in certain areas of the body. Exhaling decreases this space. This can be useful for the asana practice, or physical practice. For example, backbends are initiated on the inhalation to expand the chest and to create fullness in the back to support the bending action in the spine. Twists are initiated on the exhalation as we need to decrease volume in our mid-section as we gently wring ourselves out. Unless told otherwise, breathe through your nose.
- What about mantras?
Chanting is sometimes referred to as the “yoga of sound—words and music that vibrate at the highest level of awareness.” Chanting in sanskrit helps some practitioners feel peaceful, calm, and centered. Others find that a simple period of silence is more effective for finding their center. Some teachers begin class with chants. Don’t be afraid to ask a teacher after class what a particular mantra means.
- Sitting meditation: Why is this so hard?
Our culture doesn’t prepare us for sitting on the floor past a certain age. Over time, our hips tighten up which effects the knees and the spine, making it hard to sit comfortably on the floor. At the beginning or end of class, you will most likely sit for 5 to 10 minutes. That doesn’t sound like long, but you want to get comfortable. Props may be helpful: sit on blankets or blocks or prop your knees if you need to.
Then focus on your breath to still your mind and settle into your seat without feeling static or rigid. When you experience discomfort imagine your breath traveling through your body to gently stretch and soften muscles that instinctively want to harden as they hold you upright.
- Why do we “om” at the beginning of our practice?
Om is a sacred syllable in many religions, but you need not belong to any of those religions to chant it. Also spelled aum, is made up of three sounds, “A, U, M,” which represent the following triads:
- earth, atmosphere, and heaven
- birth, life, and death
- creation, preservation, transformation
- body, mind, and spirit
It is also referred to as, “The sound from which all other sounds arise,” or “The sound of the universe.” By chanting we lengthen the breath cycles, and set the stage for long, deep breaths throughout the practice. Chanting also creates a resonance in the body and in the room. It’s a way of coming together at the beginning of our practice.
- What should I bring to class?
Wear comfortable clothing that you can move in. If you own a yoga mat you can bring that. We also lend mats for free if you don’t have one. You may want to bring a bottle of water.
- What does “yoga” mean?
Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning “to yoke” or “to unite”. We practice yoga to unite the body, breath, mind, and heart. The Yoga Sutras say, “Yoga is the ability to direct the mind without distraction or interruption.”
Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of Class
- DO arrive early. Getting to class about 10 minutes early can help you settle in and prepare for class. You might do some simple stretches or just take the time to relax and breathe a bit.
- DO let your teacher know about injuries or conditions that might affect your practice. If you are injured or tired, skip poses you can’t or shouldn’t do, or try a modified version.
- DO create an intention. To help you focus, you may find it helpful to dedicate your practice to a certain intention. This might be to become more aware and understanding, more loving and compassionate, or healthier, stronger, and more skillful. Or it might be for the benefit of a friend, a cause—or even yourself.
- DO be quiet. It’s great to share a class with people you know, but it can be distracting to yourself and others to have an extended or loud conversation.
- DO bring a towel or your own mat if you sweat a lot, and arrive clean and free of scents that might distract or affect others. Yoga involves much deep breathing, and it’s not uncommon for individuals to have respiratory or allergy issues.
- DO pick up and use the spray cleaner provided to wipe off the props for the next person to use them and neatly put away any props you use.
- DO take time afterwards to think about what you did in class, so you can retain what you learned. Review the poses you practiced, and note any instructions that particularly made sense. Even if you remember just one thing from each class, you’ll soon have a lot of information that can deepen your own personal practice.
- DON’T eat for two or three hours before class. If you practice yoga on a full stomach, you might experience cramps, nausea, or vomiting, especially in twists, deep forward bends, and inversions. Digesting food also takes energy that will take away from your ability to fully participate in the practice.
- DON’T bring pagers or cell phones to class. Leave socializing and business outside the studio, for your own benefit and out of respect for others present.
- DON’T push it. Instead of trying to go as deeply or completely into a pose as others might be able to do, do what you can without straining or injuring yourself. You’ll go farther faster if you take a loving attitude toward yourself and work from where you are, not from where you think you should be. Try to remember to relax with each exhale and allow the tightness to just let go.
- DON’T enter class late or leave early; it’s disruptive to others. Often times, the door to the studio entrance may be locked at the beginning of class, to ensure the safeguard of students and staff belongings.