Yoga 101

Whether you are new to yoga or the practices of this studio, this page will help you understand what to expect as you enter your first class and illustrate a few other points to keep in mind.

Yoga is an ancient method of bringing body, mind and spirit into a united state. For most people in the west, when we think of yoga we are thinking about the physical practice which is called asana. The word asana can also refer to the physical postures such as downward facing dog, that we practice in each of our classes. The asana practice allows us to stretch and strengthen our bodies, which in the ancient world served the sole purpose of preparing the body for long periods of seated meditation.

As master teachers such as Krishnamacharia educated their students, different styles of yoga such as Ashtanga, Iyengar and Vinyasa were developed to meet the varying physical needs. Our studio generally focuses on the Vinyasa style where we learn to move smoothly from position to position with careful attention to alignment of the body.

In all yoga classes, the student has the responsibility to honor their own personal physical limits. A great way to know when you are pushing your body too far is to become aware of your breath. Should your breath become forced or labored, it’s time to decrease the intensity of your practice by coming into a comfortable seat or moving into child’s pose. If you’re unfamiliar with this posture please ask your teacher before your first class.

Many people avoid experiencing yoga because they think they aren’t flexible enough to participate. The goal of yoga is to become more flexible! Please join us for a Gentle or Beginners class to see what yoga has to offer. You’ll be glad you did.

Here’s a few things to expect when you attend your first class:

Shoes - We generally remove our shoes and practice barefoot. There’s a place to leave your shoes in the lobby of the studio. This helps us keep traction on our mats. If this makes you uncomfortable, you can always leave your socks on.

Mats - You’ll need a mat to practice on. This helps you be more stable in your poses and can be a bit of a cushion under your joints when we’re in poses that involve being on hands and knees. You can purchase an inexpensive mat at most department stores these days or you can borrow one from the studio until you purchase your own. We have high quality Manduka brand mats available for you to borrow and sell these same mats in our studio boutique. We recommend this brand of mat for their quality as well as their longevity. 

Props - You’ll find that there are a variety of props available in the studio to help facilitate your practice. People come to yoga class with all manner of physical challenges and props allow us to move into poses with good alignment in a safe manner that does not over-stress the body. Blocks can allow us to reach the floor when the body cannot. Straps allow us to safely move deeper into postures that otherwise might not be available. Bolsters can help us relax at the end of our practice or sit up tall and relaxed at the beginning of practice. Blankets can be an extra cushion for joints or keep us warm in our final relaxation.

Adjustments - Your teacher may give you a hands on adjustment. This means that she may put her hands on your body to gently guide you into a pose. These adjustments are not necessarily because you are doing something “wrong”. They are to help you in your experience of the posture to find more ease and harmony in alignment. To let your teacher know your comfort level when being touched, we provide "Flip chips" that you can leave at the top of your mat to let your teacher know to either "Assist" or "Do not assist". You'll find these on the desk when you sign in for class. Even if you put your chip on the "assist" side, please know that you can tell your teacher "no thank you" at any time.

Clothing - You’ll want to wear comfortable clothing to class that allows you to move freely. Be careful to avoid anything too tight that will interfere with your comfort or too loose that might trip you up or not allow your teacher to see your alignment. Depending on the time of year, you may want to layer as you’ll warm up and cool down throughout the course of your class.

Perfumes or Cologne - While scenting your body can be a beautiful expression of your individuality and taste, it’s generally best avoided when coming to a yoga class. Those around you may be sensitive to scent and it could make their experience uncomfortable.

Chanting - We chant at the beginning and end of each class. Chanting is a beautiful way to continue to warm up your breathing apparatus and close our class together. Generally we’ll chant in Sanskrit which is the traditional language of yoga. As you learn the chants, try not to be concerned about the quality of your voice or the pronunciation of the words. Whatever sound you make is a beautiful expression of where you are in the present moment. Should chanting make you uncomfortable, you are always welcome to just simply listen.

Other considerations

- Yoga practice has its roots in India and also has aspects of spiritual practice that we honor at our studio. For instance, at the beginning of a class your teacher may mention aspects of different Hindu Gods and Goddesses, festivals or other Indian traditions. These aspects of the practice are offered as part of a broad experience of yoga and are in no way presented to dishonor or minimize whatever tradition you may come from or your personal beliefs. In fact, you may find that many of these aspects are in harmony with whatever spiritual tradition you practice.

- "Do men do yoga?!" Absolutely! We have several men that practice at our studio. You will definitely find the ratio of men to women heavily in favor of the women, but yes, men can do yoga too!

We hope this page has answered many of your questions! Should you have further questions or would like to know more, please email Jessica at