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  • What is yoga?
    Yoga is the union between the body, mind, and spirit. The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj, means to yoke or bind, and is often interpreted as “union” or a method of discipline. The Indian sage Patanjali is believed to have collated the practice of yoga into the Yoga Sutra an estimated 2,000 years ago. The Sutra is a collection of 195 statements that serves as a philosophical guidebook for most of the yoga that is practiced today. It also outlines eight limbs of yoga: The yamas (restraints), niyamas (observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyani (meditation), and samadhi (absorption). While exploring these eight limbs, we begin by refining our behavior in the outer world, and then we focus inwardly until we reach samadhi (liberation, enlightenment). Today, most people practicing yoga are engaged in the third limb, asana, which is a program of physical postures designed to purify the body and provide the physical strength and stamina required for long periods of meditation.
  • What is Sanskrit?
    Sanskrit is the oldest language in the world and was discovered by the ancient sages of India. It is developed systematically to include the natural progressions of sounds created in the human mouth. There are 49 letters in Sanskrit including vowels, consonants, semivowels. Each letter has a particular vibration. Each consonant has included the vowel sound corresponds to a particular aspect of the Absolute, or creation.
  • What is a mantra?
    A mantra is a sound, word, or phrase that is repeated by someone who is praying or meditating.
  • I'm not flexible—Can I practice yoga?
    Yes! There are hundreds of yoga styles, most people are a perfect candidate for yoga. Many individuals think they need to be flexible to begin yoga, but that's a little bit like thinking that you need to be able to play tennis in order to take tennis lessons. Come as you are, and you will find that yoga practice will help you become more flexible. This newfound agility will be balanced by strength, coordination, and enhanced cardiovascular health, as well as a sense of physical confidence and overall well-being.
  • What should I expect while participating in Jennesis yoga classes in person?
    Classes are offered in a safe and clean health & wellness space (Balance Massage & Wellness Center). Please bring a yoga mat and props (available but may not be your preference). Small-sized classes with socially distanced students are held in a private room with HEPA air filtration. Masks must be worn if not vaccinated.
  • What should I expect while participating in Jennesis yoga classes virtually?
    Setting up a space dedicated to your practice in a remote capacity can be ideal for many of us. Please show your entire body during class. This helps the yoga teacher with alignment suggestions to prevent injuries while also encouraging several other comfortable approaches.
  • What can be worn while practicing yoga?
    Yoga pants might have been popular a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean they must be worn during your yoga practice. Practice in clothing that feels most comfortable to you – whether it be leggings or sweatpants. Moving freely and comfortably is important. Explore what feels good to you.
  • How many times per week should I practice yoga?
    If you practice for one hour a week, you will experience the benefits of the practice. My suggestion would be to start with two or three times a week, for 30-60 minutes or an hour and a half each time. This can be a physical, mental practice and of course both. If time allows 20 minutes per session, that's fine too. Eliminate time constraints or unrealistic goals be an obstacle—do what you can and don't worry about it. You will likely find that after a while your desire to practice expands naturally and you will find yourself doing more and more.
  • How is yoga different from stretching and other types of fitness?
    Unlike stretching or fitness, yoga is more than just physical postures. Patanjali's eight-fold path illustrates how the physical practice is just one aspect of yoga. Yoga is unique because we connect the movement of the body and the fluctuations of the mind to the rhythm of our breath. Connecting the mind, body, and breath helps us to direct our attention inward. Through this process of inward attention, we learn to recognize our habitual thought patterns without labeling them, judging them, or trying to change them. We become more aware of our experiences from moment to moment. The awareness that we cultivate is what makes yoga a practice, rather than a task or a goal to be completed. Your body will most likely become much more flexible by doing yoga, and so will your mind.
  • Is yoga a religion?
    Yoga is not a religion. It is a philosophy that began in India an estimated 5,000 years ago. The father of classical ashtanga yoga (the eight-limbed path, not to be confused with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois' Ashtanga yoga) is said to be Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutras. These scriptures provide a framework for spiritual growth and mastery over the physical and mental body. Yoga sometimes interweaves other philosophies such as Hinduism or Buddhism, but it is not necessary to study those paths in order to practice or study yoga. It is also not necessary to surrender your own religious beliefs to practice yoga.
  • What is a male/female in yoga named?
    A male who practices a yoga lifestyle is called a yogi, a female practitioner, a yogini.
  • Why is it recommended to refrain from eating 2–3 hours before class?
    In yoga practice we twist from side to side, turn upside down, and bend forward and backward. If you have not fully digested your last meal, it will make itself known to you in ways that are not comfortable. If you are a person with a fast-acting digestive system and are afraid you might get hungry or feel weak during yoga class, experiment with a light snack such as a few nuts or piece of fruit 30-60 minutes before class.
  • What does Om mean?
    Om is a mantra or vibration that is traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of yoga sessions. It is said to be the sound of the universe. Somehow the ancient yogis knew what scientists today are telling us—that the entire universe is moving. Nothing is ever solid or still. Everything that exists pulsates, creating a rhythmic vibration that the ancient yogis acknowledged with the sound of Om. We may not always be aware of this sound in our daily lives, but we can hear it in the rustling of the autumn leaves, the waves on the shore, the inside of a seashell. Chanting Om allows us to recognize our experience as a reflection of how the whole universe moves—the setting sun, the rising moon, the ebb and flow of the tides, the beating of our hearts. As we chant Om, it takes us for a ride on this universal movement, through our breath, our awareness, and our physical energy, and we begin to sense a bigger connection that is both uplifting and soothing.
  • What yoga style should I practice?
    There are many forms of yoga. Choosing a style that best suits your interests will depend on many factors: age, current level, type of other activities/exercise, temperature preference, fitness goals, and your temperament. Some yoga is fast paced, and other styles are slow. Some yoga practices are meditative, some restorative. Experiment with different styles of classes. You may be surprised by how different they can be. Keep searching until you find the style of yoga for you.
  • Can I practice yoga if I’m overweight?
    Yes, you can practice yoga at any weight, size, and fitness level. A good yoga instructor can help you adjust poses and positions to accommodate your body type and shape.
  • Can yoga help me lose weight?
    Yes, yoga can help you lose weight. Various postures coupled with mindful breathing help to detoxify the body, cleanse the digestive tract, decrease anxiety, and relieve stress. Stress is one of the biggest culprits behind weight gain. Yoga can help reduce your stress as well as provide a gentle form of exercise that can strengthen the body and tone your muscles.
  • Do I have to mediate in a yoga practice?
    In some yoga classes (styles) a meditative practice is not integrated. Ask your yoga teacher before class participation if meditation is included in the class you’re taking or in all classes.
  • Should I speak with my doctor prior to joining yoga classes?
    Yes, if there is a medical condition/s and/or a physical limitation/s. Share your doctor’s note with your Yoga Teacher.
  • Can health concerns and/or mobility challenges prevent a consistent practice yoga?
    Inform your doctor with the style/s of yoga you’ll be practicing and how often you’ll commit to your practice. If your doctor approves, a note for your Yoga Teacher is recommended to validate that you can practice yoga. Share this doctor’s note with your Yoga Teacher prior to class.
  • Why does a waiver need to be filled out prior to starting a yoga practice?
    Your yoga teacher must be informed of physical/mental limitations. This prevents injuries along with trigger points that impact mental and physical pain/discomfort. Experiencing a rewarding session is the goal for each practice.
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