Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any questions that aren't answered here, please don't hesitate to call us.
- What are the benefits of a yoga practice?
- What is Yoga? Isn’t it just stretching exercises?
- Can anyone really do yoga?
- How long does it take to see results?
- What if I don’t have time?
- Will taking yoga classes make me lose weight?
- I can’t stop my thoughts. Can I still meditate?
- Do you have any articles on yoga?
- Stress Relief
- Increased Flexibility
- Improved Circulation
- Mindfulness/Ability to Focus on the Present
- Balance of Left/Right Brain Function
- Improved Oxygen Absorption
- Relief of Depression
- Greater Self-Awareness
- Better Breathing
- Restoration of Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Better Body Alignment and Posture
- Release of Chronic Muscle Tension
- Pain Relief (of many types including cancer, MS, arthritis, back/neck, auto-immune and chronic conditions)
- Increased Strength
- Cardiovascular Conditioning
- Increase in “Feel-Good Hormones” such as Oxcytocin and Prolactin
- Improved Memory, Concentration, Cognitive Functioning, Motor Skills and Visual Perception
- Easier Relaxation
- Weight Management
- Greater Self-Esteem and Feelings of Confidence
- Better Sleep
- Elevation of Mood
What is Yoga? Isn’t it just stretching exercises?
No, yoga is more than just stretching. While some asana/postures provide a stretch for the body, there are many postures through which the body gains great strength and cardiovascular conditioning. Yoga provides a well-rounded type of exercise that anyone can do.
“Yoga” is a Sanskrit word meaning union, or to yoke. Yoga can be about unifying the body, mind and spirit; the conscious and the unconscious mind (bringing the unconscious to the conscious); the male and female aspects of ourselves; or many other concepts. Yoga was developed in India many thousands of years ago (there are petroglyphs in India depicting yoga and meditation postures, so there is disagreement on how long yoga has been around).
Patanjali codified yoga practice in approximately 200 BCE in India, as the Yoga Sutras, a collection of aphorisms which detail the eight different limbs of the complete yoga practice. The description of the limbs is collectively known as Ashtanga, meaning eight limbs in Sanskrit. (This definition of Ashtanga is not to be confused with the style of yoga practice known as Ashtanga Yoga, developed by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and followed by his school and students.)
Most people in our society are familiar with the limb called “asana.” Asana is the physical aspect of yoga, also known as yoga postures. One theory about says that asana was created to keep the body comfortable while the yogis sat in meditation. Asana allowed them to comfortably sit for longer periods of time.
Can anyone really do yoga?
ANYONE, even those who are unable to walk, can do yoga. There is even wheelchair yoga! I’ve seen people with one leg practicing yoga. Bob Harper’s team on The Biggest Loser television show practice yoga! People with chronic and terminal diseases practice yoga!
Many people come to class and they can’t bend over and touch their toes or sit on the floor, or they might be overweight and out of shape and are afraid of hurting themselves. The trick is to modify the pose to suit your body and to move slowly while paying attention to your body. Everyone’s body is different. One person’s body is usually different on one side than it is on the other.
At Awareness Village, our instructors are trained to help you modify the poses, often using props such as blocks, straps, blankets and chairs, and to help you take care of your body. We have those props at the studio for students to use during class as needed.
If you have any physical limitations, tell your instructor before class. There isn’t anything to be embarrassed about, nearly everyone has something.
How long does it take to see results?
It depends on your body and what results you are looking for. Our bodies get more flexible quite quickly. You may notice that first. We develop strength quite quickly as well.
Immediately, you may also notice that you feel good after class, and that after a class your stress level has decreased. It is normal after a class to feel like you have worked on your body, while feeling peaceful and calm at the same time.
What if I don’t have time?
You may be a more productive use of your time if you do yoga and meditation. Yoga and meditation may increase your ability to concentrate, make your body more comfortable during the day and help you sleep better, all of which may make you more productive and free up some of your time.
How often do you feel the need to stop and stretch while sitting in your office chair? How often do you forget what you are doing after you are distracted? Yoga and meditation may alleviate these issues.
A yoga and meditation practice doesn’t need to take up too much time. Even 10 minutes a day can help. Ten minutes a day is better than two hours once a week.
Who doesn’t have ten minutes a day? Try taking one class a week and spending ten minutes a day on your own. Make the time and see what happens.
Will taking yoga classes make me lose weight?
Yes, you can lose weight as a result of taking yoga classes. The classes at Awareness Village may help you lose weight by:
- Burning some calories
- Lowering your stress level, thereby reducing your cortisol levels (the stress hormone responsible for weight gain around the middle of your body)
- Helping you to be more mindful of your body’s needs
- Increasing your self-esteem, confidence and feelings of empowerment
- Helping you learn to respond, rather than react, to occurrences in your life and emotions which may trigger overeating.
I can’t stop my thoughts. Can I still meditate?
Yes! Even experienced meditators have trouble stopping their thoughts. In meditation we do not strive so much to stop our thoughts, we strive to be present in the moment. We are not judgmental of our thoughts, we simply stay mindful that they are there and consciously return to the object of our meditation, be it our breath or a mantra, for example.
This idea of being mindful of what is going on in our minds at the present moment is what can help us to be more focused and able to concentrate. It can also help us learn to respond, rather than quickly react, to situations in our daily lives. This can make us feel more peaceful and happy. When we are peaceful and happy, those around us are, too. When we are in this state of mind, we interact with people differently, from a place of peace and happiness.