Yoga 101

We LOVE sharing the gift of yoga!  New students are always welcome to in our classes.  You do not need to join a specific session nor sign up in advance – space is always available in our spacious studio.  You need no previous knowledge of yoga nor do you need any specific equipment – mats and props are available to borrow.  

If you are new to Northern Life Yoga, please arrive 10-15 minutes early so you can register and the instructor can help get you set up with mats and props.  If you are a current student, arriving 5-10 minutes early allows you time to calmly find parking, settle in and start your practice in the best possible way.

Yoga meets you where you are – your practice is individual to you, so you are free to modify according to how your body feels each time you come to the mat.  In each pose, strive for a balance between effort and ease, tenderness and strength.

Common Misconceptions by Allie Brawley

I’m not flexible enough to do yoga.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be flexible to practice yoga.  In fact, yoga is appropriate for just about anyone.  If you’re interested in achieving a greater mind-body balance while enhancing strength, flexibility and range of motion, you can enjoy the benefits of yoga.

Yoga is for young people – I’m too old to start.

Yoga is a lifelong practice and you can begin at any age.  Many people are drawn to the practice for relaxation, so it’s common for the age range in local classes to be 25-75.  Practicing yoga regularly is also a great way to age gracefully!

I don’t want to be the only guy in class.

Yoga is growing in popularity with men – even here in Sault Ste. Marie.  Men of all ages are committed to practicing yoga regularly since it complements other fitness routines like running and weight lifting.  Candlelight yoga is also a popular date night for many couples.

I don’t want anyone to watch me.

The only person watching you in a yoga class is the instructor whose role is to keep your body in safe alignment.  Most people are so focused on what is happening on their own mat that they are not paying any attention to others around them – and that’s part of the practice – to tune into your own mind and body and disconnect from distractions around you.

I took a class once and felt sore afterwards!

When you engage your body in any new activity, you’re bound to feel it the next day. If you played basketball for an hour after not playing for 20 years, you’d feel the effects too!  The same is true for yoga…yet the more you practice, the better the body adapts.  Students who have a dedicated once a week practice often tell me they can tell a big difference if they miss class because their body has been conditioned to the practice.

I’m afraid I won’t be able to do the poses.

Yoga meets you where you are…and it’s your practice, so you can always modify based on your energy level and how you feel each time you come to the mat.  The basic rule of yoga:  always listen to your body and rest when you need it.  All instruction is a suggestion, so taking the guidance and adjusting for your own body will ensure you have a good experience.

I’m almost convinced to try yoga…but how do I know what class to take?

Be sure to find the right class that is beginner friendly, often labeled as “level 1”.  It’s best to start in a gentle yoga class that moves at a slower pace to allow more time to adapt to each pose.  Yoga is a wonderful practice that is guaranteed to leave you feeling refreshed!

Some of the many benefits of practicing yoga on a regular basis include:

·      Brings balance and harmony to the body, mind and spirit

·      Helps with strength, flexibility range of motion and balance

·      Calms the mind, reduces stress and anxiety

·      Revitalizes the body and mind

·      Slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure

·      Increases circulation

·      Strengthens and tones muscles

·      Helps to detoxify system

·      Improves function of internal organs

·      Balances muscular system

·      Increases metabolism and energy

·      Can help reduce depression, stress and insomnia

Etiquette

  • Read class descriptions carefully and take classes suitable for your level.  Level 1 classes are appropriate for beginners.  Level 2 classes for intermediates require some yoga experience. 
  • Arrive 5-10 minutes before class to set up your mat and get the appropriate props.  Please avoid being late since it is disruptive to the instructor and other students.  If you arrive late, please wait in the lobby until after meditation is complete.  The instructor will gladly find a place for you.
  • Remove your shoes before entering the studio.  You are welcome to bring personal belongings in with you.
  • Allow yourself to fully disconnect and dedicate the time to your practice – please turn your cell phone or pager off before class. 
  • For your own comfort, avoid eating for 2-3 hours prior to class (particularly vinyasa flow classes).  Also, you will find your mat less slippery if you do not use lotion or moisturizer before class.  
  • Yoga is community – however, be mindful that some students need quiet time before class to transition from their day into their practice.  Enjoy quiet conversation in the studio before class begins.
  • Be mindful of when class is about to start and refrain from talking once class begins as it is disruptive to the practice for you and others around you.  Of course, smiles and laughter are always welcome!
  • Always make sure to listen to your body and rest when you need it.  Remember, all instruction is a suggestion – take the guidance and adjust for your body; nothing is mandatory.  Rest is always an option.
  • If you need to leave class early, please inform your instructor in advance and leave before final relaxation, so it is less disruptive to other students.  Remember that meditation and relaxation are two crucial elements of your yoga practice, so try to make time to incorporate them into your schedule when possible.