What is Yoga?
Before getting into specifics on styles, let's define what yoga is. With a simple google search, you can find a zillion different descriptions of Yoga. At its origins, yoga has an incredibly rich history, was birthed in Ancient India and has been practiced for centuries. Modern yoga, as we find it here in the West, most often falls under the umbrella of Hatha Yoga (more on Hatha Yoga below). While yoga historically was part of Hindu religious practices, it is not a religious practice in and of itself. It has many spiritual elements to it, but you do not need to prescribe to any religion or sacrifice your existing beliefs in order to practice and receive the benefits of yoga.
Yoga, in its most literal translation, means 'union'. It is the practice of unifying the mind, body, and spirit in order to assist practitioners in cultivating a greater connection with the self. Ultimately, anything done with awareness can be considered yoga. As defined by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras, "Yogas Chitta Vritti Nirodha" meaning yoga is the calming of the fluctuations of the mind.
The 8 limbs of yoga, according to Patanjali:
Yamas: Restraints, or moral disciplines/vows
Niyamas: Observances / Self-disciplines
Asana: Postures / Poses
Pranayama: Breathing techniques
Pratyahara: Withdrawal of the senses
Dharana: Focused Concentration
Dhyana: Meditative Absorption
Samadhi: Bliss / Enlightenment
What types or styles of yoga are offered?
While most classes blend one or more types of yoga to provide a well rounded practice, a breakdown of the different lineages that are pulled from are listed below.
Hatha Yoga encompasses most yoga seen in the West. This practice is largely focused on the physical postures, called asanas, paired with the breath to find balance in the body and mind. Hatha classes are typically a slower flow with longer holds in postures when compared to a typical vinyasa class.
Translated literally, vinyasa means 'to place in a special way.' Vinyasa classes entail a sequence of postures that artfully flow together and align with the rhythm of the breath. It is common to see different levels of vinyasa classes indicating the intensity of the postures and pace of the sequence.
Bhakti is the yoga of devotion or love. It is often described as the surrender to the divine in one's inner self. Bhakti yoga aims to bring the heart back into the practice of yoga. Classes with heavy Bhakti influences incorporate more music, mantras, and even kirtan.
Restorative yoga is based in the science of relaxation. The ultimate goal of restorative yoga is to find postures that support all parts of the body, so that all tension and gripping can be released. A restorative class usually consists of just a handful of postures supported by props such as bolsters, blocks, and blankets. Postures are then typically held for 5 or more minutes, giving the body time to fully and completely relax in each posture.
Chronic stress, unresolved traumas, and our modern over-stimulated lifestyle can wreak havoc on the body by over stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, our fight or flight response. Restorative yoga, allows the body to tone the vagus nerve, activate the parasympathetic nervous system, and shift into a mode of relaxation, digestion, and regeneration, which has a myriad of health benefits.
I've never done yoga.
How do I know it's for me?
Only you can answer that. There are different styles for everyone, and each person has their own preference. If you're ready to explore yoga but aren't sure what type of class to take, I suggest beginning by taking a private class with a teacher that has a diverse background. If you prefer to start with a public class, a slow/gentle flow class or restorative class are great places to begin. When taking your first class, nothing fancy is needed, just wear comfortable clothing you can easily move in. You can get inexpensive mats at many different locations, most studios also have mats available to loan out.
If you have any questions, use the contact information below to get in touch.
What is Sound Healing?
At an atomic level, we are energy. All energy moves. Anything that moves has a vibration. All vibration has a sound (even if we cannot perceive it with our human ears). 'Sound Healing' is the practice of utilizing different instruments, in this case Tibetan and Crystal Singing Bowls, to connect with your being's vibrational frequencies. By utilizing sound, we can facilitate changes in the fluctuations of brainwaves by providing a stable frequency brainwaves can attune to. In addition to calming the nervous system and providing a sense of tranquility, sound healing sessions can reduce levels of stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, improve sleep, and more.
Recordings are a beautiful place to start, but when you have a chance, get yourself to a live session so you can fully experience the vibrations produced by the different instruments used in a sound session.
Currently offering Sound and Energy Healing Workshops incorporating a variety of techniques including movement, crystal singing bowls, Tibetan/Himalayan Singing Bowls, Mantras/Chanting, and more. To inquire or set up a personal or studio session please email email@example.com