You We're Wondering?
Things to Know
What is yoga?
Yoga literally means to unite and yoke. It is often mistakenly thought of as strictly a physical practice in which the practitioner moves through a series of "postures" or "poses." But this perspective does the ancient, wise practice a disservice. Yoga is much more. Here at Greenleaf yoga is for every body no matter what stage or state of life, age or physical condition! Read on :))
What more is there to yoga than flexibility & strength, and people chanting, "OM?"
Actually a whole lot more! When I was a much younger teacher, I would wonder how I could come up with novel class ideas that were well-rounded, bringing harmony to mind, body and spirit. What I returned to time and time, again as I grew in my yoga practice, was that if taught as it was originally intended, yoga is a perfectly balanced method which addresses the physical, energetic, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of our being . Practiced in a non-violence, mindful way it meets us ,'where we are at,' every time we come to our yoga mat to practice.
What differentiates yoga from exercise?
What makes yoga very different from most types of exercise is that first, it is considered a practice. This isn't the outdated ideal of ignoring the body or "no pain, no gain," mentality. The beauty of this practice is that the yogi (what someone is called who practices) is continually evolving and growing, no matter what age, or state of health. The practitioner is gentle with themselves and respectful, yet creates non-violent effort to challenge themselves from right, "where they are," each time they practice.
Yoga is also practiced without forced judgement, but instead with a sense of mindfulness, in other words, paying attention to elements such as one's breath, inner and outer sensations, and what the senses pick up on, to help guide the yoga practitioner. What is taught is a respectful awareness of the body, and the language of the body called, sensations, to foster optimal wellbeing. And even though we are keenly born with the insight and awareness to pay attention to our primal intuition, in modern, fast-paced culture, over time, we've learn to ignore, abuse, suppress our innate intelligence.
The practice of yoga is a reuniting~ a reorienting to what is wholly natural in us: health and wholeness! When we begin to grasp awareness of feelings in our body and "listen" to those sensation, we are guided so intelligently. We then realize our "body" (included in this is our mind) holds as it's True North our ultimate health and wellbeing. As the body in a sense, "speaks to us" through sensations, we have the opportunity to choose over time to understand. We learn to move the body in a certain way when it needs to move; we understand to be still in silence when the mind seeks calm; and we learn to relax, and breathe when we need a respite.
I've never done yoga; I'm not flexible, either. I'm afraid I'll embarrass myself in a class. What's your advice?
I understand someone's apprehension if they are new to yoga, and feel like they will break before they can bend like a pretzel! And that is exactly why I created Greenleaf Yoga so no one would be treated in a judgmental way, or feel like yoga is a competition. It's not! We're all on a journey called life, but at different places along the path. I understand it takes a lot of thought and courage to arrive at the stage where you're ready to make a commitment to make a change. I, also know how embarrassed, out-of-place and judged it can feel in certain studios or gyms which have almost a competitive edge. . . which has no place in the tradition of yoga. My studio has not only a warm, welcoming ambience, but the teaching is always compassionate and gentile, We are a welcoming, like-minded, gentle-souled community.
I have never taken yoga, is Greenleaf right for me?
Yes, absolutely. You need no experience to take classes. It is best if you chat with me about your goals and background prior to registration. At times, it may be suggested to come in for a private consultation, to be best guided to either classes or private sessions. Once we talk about personal goals and intentions, I collect a bit of background history as to whether the student has had physical injuries, or health conditions I should be made aware of as your instructor. Then we explore together, a bit of movement, flexibility and strengthening so I can best guide you. Then, you're ready to start yoga, meditation or work with hypnosis for positive changes, if that is among your goals. The Yoga Consultation fee is $65, and is not required for all classes, but is for private therapeutic sessions and semi private class participation.
Do I need special yoga clothes or equipment?
No, but there is a caveat! When I began practicing over 30 years ago, I chuckle, I didn't even have a yoga mat! That, I don't suggest. Boy did I slip and struggle to practice postures like adho mukha shvanasana (downward facing dog)!
An inexpensive yoga mat is typically under $15, and definitely needed if not for just your practice at the studio, but also if you are taking classes via Zoom, and for your home practice time away from classes. If you are practicing at the studio, props including blocks, straps, blankets and bolsters, used as supportive accouterments, are supplied. As your practice grows you'll discover how very helpful they are in enabling you to get the most out of your yoga practice while keeping it safe!
I have had one too many irritating practices where my cotton t-shirt just wouldn't stop slipping up, or my cute, but baggy Thai fisherman pants embarrassingly slipped all the way up to my thigh top, while stretching in supta padangustasana (lying Hand-to-Big-Toe Posture). Lesson learned, pick up a clingy, pair of yoga pants you are comfortable with and a top which will not slip up while practicing forward-type postures. The magic material called, Spandex works wonders!
Also I am not a believer is tight- fitting sports bras in general, but definitely, not for yoga. Because of the amount of attention on the breath in yoga, freedom in the diaphragm and intercostal muscles between the ribs is important to gaining greater control to the breath. Control of our breath is the doorway to greater control of one's energy and ability to cope with stress. So skip the crazy-tight sports bras that are simply a modern answer to the coresets women had to endure for centuries.