WHAT IS YOGA?
Yoga is an ancient system of philosophy that has many aspects, only one of which is the physical yogic exercises that we know as Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga is the practice of Asanas, which are the postures that make up our yoga classes. As, B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the great master teachers of Yoga responsible for bringing the practice of Hatha Yoga to the west, writes in his classic text Light On Yoga;
"Asana brings steadiness, health and lightness of limb. A steady and pleasant posture produces mental equilibrium and prevents fickleness of mind…by practicing them one develops agility, balance, endurance and great vitality. Asanas have been evolved over the centuries so as to exercise every muscle, nerve and gland in the body. They secure a fine physique, which is strong and elastic without being muscle-bound and they keep the body free from disease. They reduce fatigue and soothe the nerves. But their real importance lies in the way they train and discipline the mind."
In fact, Hatha Yoga is the third of the eight limbs that comprise the totality of Yoga, whose goal is the understanding of and mastery over the mind. The primary text of Yoga is called the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, dating back anywhere from 300 A.D. to 5,000 B.C. The word "Yoga" comes from the Sanskrit root Yuj meaning to bind, join, attach, unite and direct ones attention to. The definition of Yoga is given in the second Sutra as being "Yoga is the cessation of the mental fluctuations of the mind"- in other words, Yoga happens when we unite all our energy to one goal and the ceaseless chatter in the mind finally is quiet. Far from being a religion, Yoga is this discipline of bringing the body and mind under awareness and control, for greater health and well-being.
WHY IS IT HOT?
The heat increases circulation.
The heat warms the muscles, making them more elastic and less susceptible to injury.
The heat cleanses the body by flushing out toxins and metabolic waste through sweat. This is done by increasing vasodilation (dilating capillaries around the muscles that bring more oxygen to the muscles and help remove carbon dioxide and lactic acid from the muscles) to deliver more blood to the muscles.
The heat allows for maximum calories to be more easily burned.
The heat burns fat more easily. As fat is released during intense exercise, it releases a deluge of fatty acids into the bloodstream.
The heat speeds up the breakdown of glucose and fatty acids.
The heat can increase the function of the nervous system, meaning that messages are carried more rapidly to and from the brain.
HOW HOT DOES IT GET?
The temperature ranges from 90-105 degrees with around 40% humidity depending on what type of class it is. Our goal is to provide a consistent temperature for the classes, although there are many factors that can affect how hot it feels to different people on different days.
Our studio is equipped with a custom heating system that supplies fresh air flow to keep the oxygen levels high in the room.
WILL I GET IN SHAPE?
Health professionals average the calories burned as between 600- 1,200 per class. This will be affected mostly by how actively you participate in the class. With regular practice you can reshape and strengthen your entire body while shedding excess fat and resetting your metabolism. Additionally, many who want to gain weight find that as Yoga balances their metabolism they are better able to build and keep muscle tone.
WHAT IF I HAVE A HEALTH CONDITION?
You should always ask your healthcare practitioner before beginning any exercise program if you have any serious health condition or injury. With proper practice Yoga truly is a cure-all for many, many ailments, injuries and diseases of the body and mind. It is common for people to find their health conditions greatly improved or even cured by the regular practice of Yoga. Some hospitals are now even using Yoga as a form of physical therapy! The heat is soothing for chronic pain and increased circulation often helps injuries heal faster, and the boosted immune system function is helpful for anyone in any condition.
Your health is our highest priority- If you have an injury or health condition it is important to let your instructor know before class- don't be shy we've heard it all before! They will then suggest poses to avoid or substitute variations for postures that may not be appropriate for you. We also emphasize learning how to listen to what the body is communicating to you during class, such as going slowly, and if you feel pain, come back out of the posture to a place that feels ok. In developing this awareness of your body's signals, your body will be your greatest teacher in the process of health and rehabilitation. We also invite anyone to talk to the teacher before or after class for questions, concerns, or advice.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I DO YOGA?
Ideally you should come to class as often as you can, 3-4 times a week is optimum for most people to keep seeing positive changes on a day-to-day basis. Beginners especially should come at least this often as the muscle memory and other benefits you create in class are built upon from class to class, and seeing this progress is encouraging and motivating.
How long it takes to see results really depends upon the frequency of practice. With regular practice of 4 times a week or more, you will be noticing changes in your body in around two weeks. Again, as every body is different and you may practice differently from class to class, you may see results in less or more time.
WHAT IF I'M NOT FLEXIBLE?
It is a common misconception that you have to be flexible to do yoga. Yoga involves flexibility, strength, and balance. Yoga is the process of exploring how these three elements develop in the body from class to class. There is an anatomical truth of the human body, "with more flexibility comes less stability, with more stability comes less flexibility". Yoga works to develop both so they are in equal proportion. The important thing is to do the postures the right way for your body, since no matter how far you go into the posture you get 100% of the benefit if you are doing it the correct way and following the instructions of the teacher and your body. Bonus- you will get flexible!