Welcome to yoga!
WELCOME TO YOGA!
Yoga, which comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “union,” originated in India more than 5,000 years ago. There are many forms of yoga, but in general, yoga focuses on breathing techniques (pranayama), postures (asanas), flexibility, and meditation (dhyana). It can be very spiritual, linking the mind, body, and spirit.
Yoga offers all practitioners—whether you do it once a week or twice a day—an increased mind-body connection, greater flexibility and strength, improved balance and coordination, and stress relief. But that certainly does not mean you need to need to be able to tie yourself up like a pretzel or even touch your toes before coming to your mat.
In preparation for your first class, here’s what we recommend.
YOUR FIRST CLASS
Attending your your first Yoga class can be intimidating. However, keep in mind that unlike other physical activities, Yoga is a non-judgemental and non-competitive activity that incorporates internal mental focus. Additionally, your fellow yogis and our friendly staff will make your first class inviting and comfortable.
WHAT TO WEAR
We recommend you dress in clothing that is close-fitting and comfortable. Fitted clothing will best stay in place as you move and provide less distraction. It also allows the instructor to better see your body’s alignment and offer adjustments as needed. The room will be warm (~93 degrees) so moisture wicking clothing can be beneficial. Bare feet are also strongly recommended as socks can be slippery and shoes are not allowed in the studio.
WHAT TO BRING
Bring a water bottle and yoga mat (if you have one) and a small towel. We also have mats and towels for rent at the studio and water bottles for sale.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The River focuses primarily on Power Vinyasa Yoga, though we offer a few additional formats increase intensity, such as YogaCross and Align & Burn as well as classes to tap into yoga’s more meditative qualities, such as Deep Stretch & Mediation and our candlelight classes. We feel that vinyasa classes offer an ideal yoga experience for people who are ready to tap into their physical and spiritual power. The practice is a combination of different traditions of yoga. It will tone your body and ignite your mind. It is a flow that has many different levels which allow for beginners, intermediate and advanced students to be challenged in the same class. The classes are taught in a heated room (approx. 94 degrees) to help cleanse the body and warm the muscles. This flow will torch calories, tone your body, and relax your mind. Finally, please feel free to rest at any point during class. Listen to your body, quiet your mind!
We encourage our teachers to be who they are and express their uniqueness in class. This means that every class will be a little bit different. But generally speaking, the class will begin slowly with some gentle stretches or a guided meditation, move through a series of traditional yoga poses, and eventually end in savasana, or “corpse pose,” in which practitioners lay on their backs with eyes closed and, ideally, experience complete relaxation. At the end of the class, the instructor will likely close the class with a final “OM” and , bow his/her head, and say “Namaste” (meaning “the light in me sees the light in you”). You are welcome to join in these practices, but are certainly not required to do so.
- Arrive early 15 minutes prior to the class start time to introduce yourself to the instructor and get checked in. Please let him/her know that it’s your first class and that you might need extra guidance for proper pose alignment. Communicate any injuries you have so that he/she can suggest pose modifications for you.
- Remove your shoes before entering the yoga room. Cubbies are located outside the studio door or leave your belongings in our locker room (locks not provided, you may want to bring your own)
- Bring your water bottle with you to class, sip from it as needed
- Use the restroom before class to avoid interruptions later. If you must excuse yourself mid-class, do so as quietly as possible.
- Refrain from wearing perfumes or any lotions with a strong sent
- Respect savasana (final resting pose). If you must leave class early for some reason, tell the instructor before class begins and exit before the class relaxes into corpse pose.
- After class, exit the studio quietly. The instructor may ask about your experience. Feel free to give honest feedback and ask questions. Studio showers and locker rooms are available to you following class.
We look forward to welcoming you to your mat soon!
Still have questions? Check out our FAQ’s.
What is yoga?
The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “Yuj” meaning to yoke, join or unite. This implies joining or integrating all aspects of the individual – body with mind and mind with soul – to achieve a happy and balanced life, both mentally and physically.
There are many forms of yoga, but in general, yoga focuses on breathing techniques (pranayama), postures (asanas), flexibility, and meditation (dhyana).
Many people think that yoga is just stretching. But while stretching is certainly involved, yoga is really about creating balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility. This is done through the practice of poses or postures, each of which has specific physical benefits. The poses can be done quickly in succession, creating heat in the body through movement (Vinyasa-Power style yoga) or more slowly to increase stamina and perfect the alignment of the pose. The poses are a constant, but the approach to them varies depending on the tradition in which the teacher has trained.
What are the benefits of yoga practice?
Everyone can benefit from practicing yoga. It can be used to manage stress, for weight loss, to strengthen and tone the body making it more supple, prepare for childbirth, recover from injuries, improve health and for overall fitness and well-being. It can also give one a philosophical perspective of life and bring tranquillity and mental strength. There is no-one who cannot benefit from practicing yoga.
What equipment will I need to practice yoga?
Even if you don’t practice yoga regularly, you can benefit from using yoga props—especially if you are new to the practice of yoga. Here’s an introduction to common props and how they are used:
- Yoga mats provide a thinly-cushioned, non-slip surface for yoga practices and work best when used on a smooth floor. Their sticky surface can be easily cleaned, and they roll up for easy storage and toting. Eco-friendly yoga mats (made from recycled materials, biodegradable materials, and/or natural and sustainable plant fibers such as hemp and jute) are available.
- Yoga blocks (or bricks) allow you to stay in proper form and alignment. Blocks are rectangular-shaped, allowing you to use them at three different heights, depending on your needs. One use for a block, for example, would be during a forward bend. If you can’t touch the floor, you can place the block accordingly so that you can remain in proper form, resting your hands on the block itself. Since each pair of sides is a different height, you can slowly progress in your poses until you don’t need a block at all.
- Yoga straps (or belts) are great for beginners or individuals who are less flexible. By holding a strap with both hands, it can help you stay in a pose longer and in better form. They can be used for seated stretches (around the feet in a forward bend) and one-legged standing poses (placing the strap around foot to aid in lifting or reaching your limb). Straps are also great for general flexibility training.
Who can practice yoga?
One of the great things about yoga is that anyone can do it! It just takes that first step to make it happen.
How often should I practice yoga?
The more one practices, the more benefit and improvements one will get; the rewards correspond to the effort put in.
However, a daily routine, even if only for a few minutes, is more beneficial than one long session weekly. A daily routine also builds it’s own momentum and encourages one to continue with yoga rather than bursts of irregular but intense practice.
My body is stiff and not very flexible. Can I still practice yoga?
Although it might at first sight appear that someone who is very flexible can perform yoga asanas (postures) better than a stiff person, this is a misconception. Yoga should not be confused with gymnastics. Yoga aims to develop one’s understanding, alignment and awareness through subtle adjustments made to the body – the skin, muscles, tendons and joints etc – while in a yoga posture. The aim is to attain firmness, stability and a feeling of exhilaration in an asana – to make “the effort becomes an effortless effort.”
It is therefore not important whether you can touch your head to the knees when bending forward or whether you can sit in full lotus but how well one attempts to do so. Quality not quantity matters. That is not to say that flexibility does not make achieving postures easier, but it is only one element of many necessary for a good asana.
Flexibility is also developed with a dedicated practice and devoted students can further develop their flexibility.
Are there different styles of Yoga?
While there are many styles of yoga, the primary style of yoga emphasized at the River is heated Power Vinyassa. Power yoga is a general term used in the west to describe a vigorous fitness based approach to Vinyassa style yoga. Most power yoga is closely modeled on the ashtanga style of practice.
The term power yoga came into usage in the mid 90’s when several yoga teachers were looking for a way to make ashtanga yoga assessable to western students. Unlike ashtanga, power yoga does not follow a set series of yoga poses, therefore any power yoga class can vary from the next. What they have in common is an emphasis on strength and flexibility as well as developing your mental clarity.