New to Yoga?
Welcome! We know what it’s like when you’re just getting started. It can be confusing, exciting and all a bit unclear. Let’s start from the beginning, together.
What is yoga?
Yoga is a classical Indian system dealing with well-being in body, mind, and spirit.
Yoga is a practical philosophy involving every aspect of a person's being. It encourages the evolution of the individual through the development of self-discipline and self-awareness.
What is commonly referred to as yoga in the West refers to the discipline of physical yoga. Through a series of physical poses, called asanas, yoga teaches us how to quiet the mind by placing attention on the breath and on the movement (and stillness) of the body. A refined system of physical development, the practice of yoga focuses not only on flexibility but also on strength, balance and endurance.
Who is B.K.S. Iyengar?
B.K.S. Iyengar developed his approach to yoga based on the yoga tradition handed down to him by his teacher, Shri T. Krishnamacharya, a classically trained Hindu scholar and yoga master. Mr. Iyengar's system of yoga is unsurpassed in grace, subtlety, and precision. Iyengar-style yoga emphasizes alignment and develops flexibility, strength, balance and endurance. It emphasizes the importance of regulated breathing; the use of blocks, chairs, and other props; and the therapeutic value of adapting the poses to the needs and limitations of the individual students. Mr. Iyengar has authored a number of classic texts on hatha yoga including Light on Yoga. Mr. Iyengar died in 2014 at the age of 95. His daughter, Geeta, and son, Prashant and other teachers continue his work at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Institute in Pune, India.
What are the benefits of yoga practice?
Practicing yoga on regularly can:
- Help proper functioning of organs, nerves, and glands
- Improve circulation and respiration
- Aid digestion
- Strengthen the immune system
- Improve coordination
- Increase vitality
- Reduce stress
- Strengthen bones
What can I expect in a typical CYC yoga class?
A yoga class is typically 90 minutes in length and will include combinations of some or all of the following types of poses:
- Standing poses for flexibility, strength and stamina
- Seated poses for a healthy back, and reflection
- Forward bends for calming and nurturing the body and mind
- Inverted poses for circulation and stress reduction
- Breathing awareness and deep relaxation for energy and renewal
The poses or asanas have Sanskrit names. The teacher may use Sanskrit name interchangeably with the English translation. Props such as blankets, mats, bolsters, ties, and blocks are often used to modify or prepare or deepen a yoga pose.
In some classes you many actually focus on more controlled breathing or be asked to observe normal breathing in a seated or supine position. This latter is the beginning of another aspect of yoga, Pranayama.
At the end of yoga class, the teacher may invite you to bring your hands together in prayer position and repeat, Namaste. Namaste is a traditional Indian greeting of respect and reminds us that we are all on the same path. In English we might say:
Namaste – I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides, I honor the place in you of love, of light, of truth, of peace.