What is yoga and where does it come from?
Yoga is an ancient practice originating from India that dates back over 5,000 years. In Indian philosophy, yoga is of one of the six orthodox philosophical schools. The word yoga comes from the Sankrit word yuj meaning to yoke or to bind and yoga is often interpreted as a union. Yoga is a practice of discipline that includes eight limbs: the yamas (restraints), niyamas (observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyani (meditation), and samadhi (absorption).
What is the purpose of yoga?
The purpose of yoga is to quiet the mind. This, of course, takes a lot of discipline to accomplish. ‘Hatha yoga’ is one means to finding this end of peace and inner stillness. Hatha, from the Sanskrit words ha, meaning “sun” and tha, meaning “moon,” implies a physical practice where work is done in order to purify the body. Traditionally, hatha yoga is seen as a practice to prepare the body for deeper meditation. All of our classes are different variations and levels of hatha yoga. Check out our Class Descriptions to find the right class for you!
Why are all of the classes heated?
Heat during yoga practice has numerous benefits. It allows for a deeper cleanse of the body and boosts the body’s circulation. Heat loosens up the muscles and detoxifies the organs. Heat allows for greater range of motion in joints, muscles, ligaments and other supporting structures of the body. Heat also has a calming affect on the mind. When the mind slows down and the heart rate picks up you have the perfect combination for a hatha yoga practice. Our classes are heated from 80º F to 105º F. Because of the heat, we have an age restriction of 14 years or older. Check out our Class Descriptions to find the right class for you.
Do you have an age requirement to attend class?
We require students to be 18 years or older to practice at Yoga by Degrees. However, students who are 14 to 17 years old can have a parent or guardian sign their registration and waiver form permitting them to attend class. While we may occasionally offer a kid’s workshop, we do not permit anybody under the age of 14 to practice yoga in our regularly scheduled group classes.
What do I wear to yoga class?
Wear clothes that are light, comfortable, breathable and non-restrictive. You will sweat a lot during class so it’s a good idea to bring an extra set of clothes to change into after class. (Even if you don’t normally sweat during your workouts, since our classes are heated we’re betting that you won’t be leaving class completely dry). If you’re still not sure what kind of clothing to wear, check out our wonderful boutique full of the latest fashionable yoga-specific attire.
What should I bring with me to yoga class?
Bring a yoga mat, a towel, a water bottle and a change of clothes. Mats are available for purchase or rent and towels are available for rent in the Yoga by Degrees boutique. We also sell Yogitoes towels which go over your yoga mat in order to prevent you from slipping when the body is moist or sweaty. Showers are located in both the men’s and women’s locker room for your convenience.
What is proper yoga etiquette?
Once you enter the yoga class room, silence is your best friend. Yoga is all about quieting the mind so please be respectful of your fellow classmates by utilizing the locker rooms or the lounge for talking with friends before and after class. Please do not bring cell phones into class with you. We have lockers with keys for all of your belongings in the changing rooms. Remember that yoga is a sacred time where you can put everything else in life on hold and just let go. Allow yourself to take a time-out and be mindful of those around you who are attempting to do the same.
Personal hygiene is an important aspect of personal well-being. Please come to class clean. Avoid wearing heavy perfumes or colognes and avoid using tobacco prior to coming to class. Strong odors, especially in the heat, can have an overwhelming and unpleasant effect on your neighbors in class.
How often should I practice yoga?
Like with most things, the more you practice the better you become. Having a consistent yoga practice will give you more results than if you were to come to class only once a week. When you practice yoga regularly your body will start to open up, your range of motion and flexibility will improve and your overall stress and anxiety levels will likely reduce. Increased metabolism and weight loss are also promoted with regular yoga practice. So, for the best results, both mental and physical, a consistent yoga practice of three to six classes a week is best.
A common occurrence with repetitive yoga practice is the gradual change from “needing” to go to yoga class to “wanting” to go to yoga class. Because yoga makes you feel so good during and after practice, people become somewhat addicted to everything that yoga does for them. The more you practice yoga the more it becomes a pleasure rather than a chore.
Will there be music in class?*
Yes. Yoga by Degrees sees music as a tool for inspiration. The right type of music played at the right time during a yoga class can enhance a students overall experience. Our teachers will develop music playlists in a way that is appropriate and complimentary to the structure of the class. For example, there is music to calm, music to energize, music for uplifting the spirit, music for soothing the soul, music for relaxation and music that induces meditation. (*Bikram / Traditional Hot classes to not include music.)
What is a “yogi”?
A yogi is someone who regularly practices yoga. (Often times you will hear a differentiation between male- yogi and female- yogini).
Why do we say “Namaste” in yoga?
Namaste is a traditional Indian gesture and greeting that represents the belief that there is a divinity within each and every one of us. When we greet each other with “Namaste” we are recognizing & honoring that divine light. To perform Namaste, place your hands together at your heart center, close your eyes and bow your head.
What is “Om” and why do we sometimes chant it before and/or after class?
The Universe- everything in existence, is always moving, never still creating a rhythmic vibration that the ancient yogis acknowledged with the sound of Om. Om is the root of the universe and therefore the root of everything that exists. It is an external vibration of awareness. When we chant “Om” it is a beautiful reminder that we are all connected to each other and all is one consciousness.
Why are all of the poses in Sanskrit?
Sanskrit is the oldest language known to man and it is the classical literary language of India, the birthplace of yoga. The first written texts on yoga were all written in the divine language of Sanskrit. Maintaining yogic terms in their original language keeps the authenticity of their meanings and allows for the deepest, most complete significance to be kept in tact. So instead of ‘yoga pose’, you may hear the teacher instead say ‘asana’ and so on. Don’t hesitate to ask your teacher the meaning of a word you don’t understand. Be patient with yourself as you slowly start to grasp the names of poses or catch on to possible mantras recited in class.
Is yoga a religious practice?
Yoga is more of a spiritual path rather than a religious one. Ultimately, how you view your practice is up to you. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit root yuj, which means “to yolk” and yoga is a “yolking” or “union” of the individual soul with the universal soul. Some like to think of this universal soul as “God”- meaning their yoga practice will bring them closer to God. Yet, many others like to see this universal soul as a universal spirit- meaning their yoga practice brings them closer to the unified whole of creation. So, while some may wish to make their practice religiously based, it is not that way for everyone. Yoga can be seen and experienced as a spiritual practice rather than a religious practice. It’s what you want it to be. You are the one who decides whether you want your practice to be spiritual, religious or none of the above. Yoga by Degrees respects all religious backgrounds and personal beliefs. The individual experience of your yoga practice is completely up to you.
Is this ‘Bikram Yoga’?
While we do offer some Bikram Yoga classes, also referred to as “Traditional Hot”, “Hot Yoga” is not necessarily the same as “Bikram Yoga”, although it is a widely believed misconception. It is true that all Bikram classes are “hot” – in that they are heated to 105º F, but it is not true that all heated yoga classes are specifically “Bikram Yoga.” Most of Yoga by Degrees’ classes are different from Bikram yoga in that our classes include a variety of poses and sequences, not just 26 postures and we offer classes at a variety of heat levels, not just 105º F. Yoga by Degrees offers classes that are heated to as low as 80º F and as high as 105º F and everything in between. Unlike Bikram yoga, most our classes are not the exact same sequence every time, but instead, include an array of yoga poses and sequencing. There are thousands of yoga poses that exist in the entire index of the practice. While there are the core and fundamental postures that appear in most all of our classes, the teachers at Yoga by Degrees will continue to introduce new and different poses in class so as not to limit the progression of our students and to help encourage the expansion of knowledge of this great practice. In addition, Bikram yoga classes never have music whereas all classes at Yoga by Degrees are complimented by great music.