Basic Yoga Information
Yoga means to yoke, to unite, to bring together opposites, to connect the external with the internal: Body/Mind/Spirit.
Things to do for class:
Come to Class with:
1. Clothing that is flexible and comfortable yet not too loose.
Do not wear clothing that might get in your way or cause any restriction
in your movements. Make sure it is clothing that will not cause you or another class member to be uncomfortable.
2. An empty stomach. Three to four hours after a large meal. One
to two hours after a snack. Food in your stomach in a yoga class can be
3. A commitment to learning, experiencing and exploring yourself,
and an acceptance of who you are and where you are at in your yoga practice
day to day. Leave your ego outside of class.
4. Personal equipment if it is labeled properly. The University
provides all necessary equipment that will be used in class. Water
bottles and towels are optional.
2. Have an open mind. Come with NO self expectations, and an acceptance of who you are Right Now. Be intuitive to what YOUR BODY needs, not what your ego needs. Have a commitment to learning, experiencing, and having patience with the WHOLE Yoga experience.
“Yoga is like Music. The rythmn of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul, create the symphony of life.”
Things to pay attention to during class:
1. Being Present
Be present in “the Now;” leaving the worldly influences and stresses outside the class. Tune into how you are feeling physically, emotionally, and spiritually NOW, TODAY.
2. Your Breath
Use only nose breathing: (Unless a health issue makes that uncomfortable.)
Breathing in and out of the nose allows the breath to warm the body, brings an evenness to the breath, and allows you to meditate on the sound of your breath. The breath is TOP priority in yoga. Yoga is essentially a breathing exercise, bringing Prana(life force) deeper into the body. Keeping the breath deep and fluid brings a sense of calm and focus to your practice, and teaches you the ability to bring that same sense of ease to other aspects of your life.
If your breath becomes shallow or choppy, this indicates you are going too far, trying too hard, or that your body needs to take a break. Child’s pose is a good place to go at that time. Remembering yoga is about releasing tension, not building it. Honor your body, and your body will honor you. Learn to truly listen.
3. Yoga is non-judgmental
There is no such thing as a perfect pose. It is called a Yoga Practice, not yoga perfection. Everybody is different genetically as well as having different life experiences that brings you to how you are now. Keep your ego out of your practice and tune into feeling sensation. As long as you are feel sensation while in a pose, you are gaining the benefits. Your understanding of the pose will develop as you practice.
How flexible you are has nothing to do with being able to do yoga. We practice yoga to get more flexible, not because we are flexible. The important thing is to go into the pose until you feel sensation, and then let your breath monitor how deeply you progress into it. Your breath will never let you go past your edge. Listen to your breath. Keep it even and smooth. Come out of a pose with the same level of mindfulness you go into a pose. Be willing to let your body come in and out of a pose when it needs to. Honor your body. Learn to recognize and accept where you are, and then work from there to move forward, challenging yourself within your limits.
4. Svadhyaya (Self-Study)
Use the self-awareness you develop in class throughout your daily activities. Practice living in “the Now.’ Deep breathing always to stay calm as well as keeping a good supply of oxygen in your blood. If you are tired, focus on lengthening the inhales. If you are agitated or feeling stress, focus on longer exhales.
Pay attention to your posture. Are you keeping your low belly in to prevent back strain? Are you keeping your spine long and in alignment? Are you paying attention to body alignment as you perform daily tasks? Are you living Your Yoga?
5. Practice Ahimsa (non-harming)at all times
In your yoga practice, and life, the practice of Ahimsa (non-harming) can change struggling and irritation into acting with awareness. In this way, you are always acting in harmony with life. A way of checking with yourself as to whether or not you are practicing Ahimsa, is to pose the question to yourself of:
Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?
This will make all the difference.
Namaste': Pronounced (naw-mu-stay)
Joining the palms of the hands is a gesture of prayer in many cultures.
In India, this gesture, known as Namaste' is a sign of respect, used in
greeting, paying homage, and acknowledging a gift. The right and left
hands can be said to represent our active and passive sides, so joining
them evenly can suggest the harmonization of these complementary
opposites in our nature.
Namaste' is often used at the end of a yoga session by the teacher to thank the students for their participation and for the energy they share with the class, and is used by the students to in turn thank the teacher. The word 'Namaste' translated means:
I honor the place in you in which the Divine Spirit/Universal Spirit dwells.
I honor the place in you which is of love, faith, truth, light, and peace.
When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me,
we are one.
And so at the end of class, with respect and gratitude to each other, we say, "Namaste."