What is Yoga?Yoga is one of the great systems of Indian philosophy. It incorporates a range of practices from meditation, chanting, devotion and study to physical postures and breath control. Most of the yoga we teach at Yoga Junction comes under the umbrella term of 'Hatha' Yoga. Hatha Yoga specifically involves physical postures and breath control and meditation to purify and strengthen the body systems and focus the mind. There are many different syles of Hatha Yoga (Iyengar, Astanga, Viniyoga, Sivananda etc.) Where the timetable says simply Hatha Yoga this means it is a class in the classical tradition of Hatha Yoga and does not follow an particular 'Guru' or teacher. The ultimate goal of all forms of yoga is self-realisation, to help you discover your true nature.
Why practise yoga? Is yoga a religion?The regular practice of yoga can have a profound effect on your physical and mental state and whether you reach a state of self-realisation or not practising yoga can help:
- Build strength and Increase flexibility
- Promote calm and relaxation
- Relieve tension and Improve concentration
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- Boost energy
- Develop stamina
- Enhance body awareness and improve posture
Yoga has also been shown to help alleviate many common complaints such as insomnia, anxiety, IBS, digestive disorders, PMS, stress, backache and headaches. It makes you feel better, live better and age gracefully.
Yoga is a spiritual discipline which has its origins in both orthodox and non-orthodox systems of Indian thought and religion. We teach yoga as a doctrinally neutral system of personal and spiritual development, appropriate for anyone with or without religious beliefs. The key text for our work is the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali.
Who can practise yoga? Will I be the only man in the class? I'm not very flexible, can I do yoga?Almost anyone can practise Yoga, regardless of age, level of flexibility or strength. Yoga is not a competitive sport. It allows you to learn how your body works and maximise its potential. Through yoga you will discover what you are capable of in your own time. Depending on your individual circumstances you may prefer a very gentle class or one that is athletically challenging.
Lots of men practice yoga - we have quite a few male teachers too and chances are you won't be the only man in the class!
You certainly don't need to be flexible to start doing yoga - feeling stiff is a normal part of life for most people these days and regardless of whether you feel stiff because of illness, injury, a stressful and /or sedentary job or the sports you play Yoga offers a unique way of releasing tension both muscular and mental.
We also have special classes for people living with serious illness or injury, for children, for pregnant and post-natal women.
What happens in a class ?During a Yoga class, you will be guided through a series of Yoga postures (called asana). The teacher will both explain and demonstrate. She/he may also help you learn a posture by physically adjusting you - if you don't want this you can just let the teacher know. Some classes include breathing exercises (pranayama) and some include chanting and meditation. At the end of class there is usually a relaxation period, which is usually done lying down.
What should I wear ?Wear comfortable clothes that you can move in freely. You don't need shoes. In the more dynamic classes you will tend to get hot, so we recommend that you wear thin leggings or shorts and light T-shirts. For the gentler classes you might want to wear a little more clothing and bring some socks for the relaxation. We have lovely under floor heating so its never cold in the studio.
Do I need my own mat ?Yoga mats, blankets and other props are provided, but you are welcome to bring your own if you have one. If you would like to buy your own have a look at yogamatters.com for a vast selection.
What if I am pregnant ?We have 2 classes each week specifically for women who are pregnant. These classes are ideal from early pregnancy right through to delivery. It is sometimes possible to attend regular classes through pregnancy at the teacher's discretion. It is not advisable to do strong joint stretching or very heating type of practice during pregnancy. If you do plan to come to a regular class, please call first to check it is ok, and always remind the teacher that you are pregnant before the class.
Injuries, mobility problems, high blood pressure and other health problemsYoga postures can be adapted for most conditions. We would be happy to discuss the most appropriate classes for you. If you do come to a class and you have any injuries or health problems, please inform the teacher before the class begins. If you are very restricted in movement we would recommend that you come to the Gentle Yoga class on Tuesdays 9.30-10.30am.
Eating and drinkingWe'd advise you not to eat for at least an hour before class and even an hour may not be enough to digest a heavy meal. It can be very uncomfortable to practise yoga with a full stomach.
Generally it is important to drink enough water if you are exercising. We do not recommend drinking water during yoga practice as this is traditionally thought to negate some of the benefits of practicing asana (postures). So we discourage bringing bottles of water into the class but positively encourage you to make sure you have some water after a class (ideally room temperature and about 15-30 mins after practice.).