How do I get to you?
Our new home, upstairs @ The Lane Cove Tennis Club is on the top (north) end of Kenneth St, Longueville - right next to Central Park. There is street parking on Kenneth St, and also on William Edward St, right near the rear entrance to Central Park.
What’s so good about yoga? Why are so many people into it at the moment?
Different people experience different benefits from yoga. It often relates to what you need most in your life – your body and mind will typically gravitate towards whatever will serve you best at any given time. Some of the benefits you can expect might include: increased energy levels, improved sleep patterns, enhanced ability to handle stress with grace and focus, increased strength and flexibility, postural improvement, and revitalized spirit. At the end of your yoga class, expect to feel empowered, yet relaxed with a calm sense of focus.
Do I have to be really flexible to do yoga? Some of those poses look completely impossible!
Most people actually practice yoga to improve their flexibility. However because different people have different levels of strength AND flexibility, means that some people will begin yoga with a slight advantage. This doesn’t mean they’ll be better at it, it just means they’re starting from a different place. Our goals are all the same – to gain strength, flexibility and balance. And those “impossible-looking” postures - they can all be modified to suit where you’re at, and the use of props can help too. Failure to successfully perform those “impossible postures” doesn’t equate to failure at yoga. The journey is always more important than the destination – that’s why they call it yoga practice.
Do I have to be young and fit to benefit from yoga?
All ages, shapes and sizes all over the world enjoy the benefits of yoga. You can expect an increase in your strength, flexibility, grace, calmness and balance in just a short while. It doesn’t matter how old or how fit you are. Yoga will rejuvenate the body, relax the mind and revitalize the spirit - no matter what.
Can I change my body shape / burn calories with yoga?
A lot of yoga movements elevate your heart rate, so can have a cardiovascular effect. We do a lot of work against our own body weight, so once you progress beyond beginner level, you can be sure you’ll have the option of working quite hard in a yoga class. Yoga can also build muscle – physical AND mental muscle. Your body may become leaner, stronger and more flexible, while your mind becomes sharper, clearer and more positive. This renewed focus and discipline facilitates your allover mind/body strength.
I'm pregnant. Do you have any recommendations?
Yes - Yoga is a wonderful thing to take into your pregnancy with you. I recommend you attend the GENTLE classes (as we're prenatal trained @ YB)...See this section of the site for more information
I’m carrying an injury/condition/postural issue/pregnant – can I still do yoga?
Because we can modify poses and exercises to suit individuals, we encourage people to participate. You will be taught how to modify around your condition and gain a heightened experience of the mind/body connection - as your body will be giving you clearer signals than most. However, YOU MUST speak to your instructor about your condition prior to starting yoga, and keep them updated as things progress; and YOU MUST obtain your doctor/physical therapist’s approval before joining in.
What should I wear / bring?
We suggest you wear lose, comfortable, layered clothing and bare feet for the session. Bring your own yoga mat (OR you can borrow or buy one when you get here), and perhaps some water to drink. It’s best to start your class with an empty bladder, an empty stomach and an open heart.
Typically what happens in yoga and what happens when food is digesting, isn’t a happy match - a full meal no less than 90 mins before class. A small snack is OK during that hour prior to class if you’re hungry, but wait till after class for a full meal.
Do you offer PRIVATE (one-on-one) sessions?
Yes, YOGABOWL offers private sessions for students who want a focused, individual practice with their teacher. A private lesson can help you deepen your practice by exploring the fundamentals of yoga (or Pilates), specific breathing techniques, hands-on alignment adjustments and modifications for injuries or special populations. Sessions can be at your home, office, hotel room, park, the beach – anywhere. We offer both private and semi-private sessions.
For more info, see the website here:
What`s with the whole mind/body thing?
The direction towards mind/body exercise has been a Godsend to our sedentary, stressful culture. All bodies - and their owner’s expectations, are different. They don’t come with specific instructions. We can best learn how to keep them healthy and performing to our expectations by listening to what they tell us, and acting accordingly. When we learn to achieve this connection and give our bodies and minds the care they are asking for, our overall health and quality of life improves. It’s important to acknowledge that in your yoga practice you need to do what your body wants to do, not what your brain thinks it should be able to do.
Does YOGA conflict with my religious beliefs/faith?
Yoga is not aligned with any religion, though it does connect you towards your own truth and so is complementary to most people’s belief systems and spirituality. In any group Yoga practice there may be Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Catholic & agnostic or even atheists all enjoying the practice together.
When you start on your yoga journey, the focus is initially on the physical aspects (poses and breath work) as well as the quietening of the mind – rather than raising concepts of ideology. During your practice, if your teacher chooses chanting or perhaps uses spiritual-based terminology, interpret it through a filter that suits and supports your own faith. The yogic spirit is really honouring the spirit within ourselves, and for the general greater good. Further interesting reading: http://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/284
What does NAMASTE mean?
The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. "Nama" means bow, "as" means I, and "te" means you. Therefore, Namaste literally means "I bow to you."
To perform Namaste, we place the hands together at the heart charka, close the eyes, and bow the head. It can also be done by placing the hands together in front of the third eye, bowing the head, and then bringing the hands down to the heart. This is an especially deep form of respect. Although in the West the word "Namaste" is usually spoken in conjunction with the gesture, in India, it is understood that the gesture itself signifies Namaste, and therefore, it is unnecessary to say the word while bowing.
Namaste can be offered both at the beginning and at the end of class. Usually, it is done at the end of class because the mind is less active and the energy in the room is more peaceful. The teacher initiates Namaste as a symbol of gratitude and respect toward her students and her own teachers and in return invites the students to connect with their lineage, thereby allowing the truth to flow—the truth that we are all one when we live from the heart.
Very basically speaking, NAMASTE loosely translates to: The light in me honours the light in you; we are the same.
Why do we sometimes chant OM in class?
CHATING is when 2 or more people create a simultaneous, universal sound with their voices. Chanting can be as easy as teachers guiding students to simultaneously say the sound OM, at the beginning, during or at the conclusion of yoga practice. Chanting is used in a wide variety of settings, from ritual to recreation: sporting events, warriors in battles, community sings, tribal ceremonies, religious rituals, protests, holiday traditions.
The saying of a synchronized sound creates ENTRAINMENT, which brings together the energy of all into the present moment. Entrainment is the process whereby two connected oscillating systems; having similar cycles/rhythms/patterns, fall into synchrony. A common example of entrainment is when two clocks are ticking in unison. It is thought that an exchange of energy between the two oscillating systems is responsible for the synchronization.
OM is an ancient, sacred sound. It is considered the origin of every other sound. It is a monosyllabic sound, which is present in every language. OM is believed to be the basic sound of the universe, and said to contain all other sounds. Yoga practitioners have recited OM over many centuries. It is thought to contain infinite power & wisdom, denoting existence, knowledge and bliss.
Although written in English as 2 letters, OM is really comprised of 3 different sounds – A, U, and M. Each individual sound, pronounced, “Ah”, “Oh”, and “Mmm” – are symbolically representative of something. Some say the 3 sounds stand for the mind, body and spirit; for physical meditation, mental meditation and spiritual meditation. Many feel that the 3 sounds represent the waking, dreaming and deep sleep states; while others say they stand for creation, preservation and destruction. Some feel the letters represent past, present and future, and still others feel the letters represent mother, father and the preceptor. Another interpretation is focusing outward, transition, inward.
Even the silence that surrounds the word OM has meaning. The quietness represents the perfect state of bliss, which happens when the individual self recognizes their identity with absolute consciousness.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras suggest repeating the sound OM constantly “with contemplation on its meaning and the feeling it evokes. By continuously repeating the word OM, one will remain steady, pure, and faithful, finding peace and freedom from fear”.
What does YOGA mean? What is YOGA?
The word YOGA comes from a Sanskrit word meaning union, to yoke or to join; the union of opposites.
It originated in India hundreds of years ago, and incorporates physical exercises (poses or asana’s), breathing techniques (pranayama), meditation or mindful relaxation, and philosophies for living in harmony with yourself and others. It is not aligned with any religion, though is complimentary to most people’s belief systems and spirituality.
There are 8 limbs of yoga:
Yamas – how one deals with the world
Niyamas – how one deals with one’s self
Asanas – doing physical poses. Many of the 8 limbs can be practiced within this limb.
Pranayama – focused breathing
Pratyahara – minimizing of the 5 senses
Dharana – concentration
Dhyana – meditation
Samadhi – bliss or enlightenment
….and there are 6 approaches to the 8 limbs of yoga:
Hatha – yoga, cultivating the physical body.
Raja – yoga, transcending the mind or mental space
Bhakti – yoga, nurturing and loving one’s self and others.
Karma – yoga, loving acts and selfless work
Tantra – yoga, celebrating and expressing artistically, and spiritual ritual.
Jnana – yoga, the journey toward wisdom and enlightenment.
Most yoga practiced in the western world is Hatha Yoga – which means any form of yoga that involves the act of doing poses (asanas), breathing with intention (pranayama) and creating a deep state of internal focus.
The word Hatha is translated as: Ha = Sun. Tha = Moon. Hatha = the union of sun & moon, which comes back to the definition of yoga - the union of opposites. To practice Hatha is to unite opposites. It is the physical approach to the 8 limbs of yoga. When you think about it, it bears an obvious relation to the opposites we experience in class: front/back, left/right, up/down, in/out, and mind/body.
Typically one will encounter different ‘styles’ of yoga in the western world, eg. Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bikram, Power Vinyasa, Kundalini, Ki - and some classes will even be described as Hatha. This can be interpreted as a “Hatha” style yoga class being probably a mixture of influences drawn from several other styles of yoga (such as Ashtanga, Iyengar, etc).
The style of Hatha yoga I teach has a flowing style to it, drawing influence from Ashtanga and Iyengar yoga, infusing traditional yoga poses with fitness principles (ie. safety guidelines) to make the poses completely safe and more accessible for most individuals. The mind and the body join to rejuvenate, strengthen and stretch the body, relax the mind and revitalize the spirit. All shapes, sizes and ages will enjoy the benefits.
My yoga mat is slippery/dirty. What can I do?
Most mats are made with a `non-slip` coating, though for some people this turns out to be even more slippery than non. If it`s a problem, follow these WASHING INSTRUCTIONS:
Put your mat through the GENTLE CYCLE in your washing machine, perhaps with a little bit of wool wash (softly, etc), and then hang it over a clothes line, clothes horse or even a door to dry - it’ll take a good couple of days to dry - they absorb a lot of water (and are hard to squeeze out).
That should fix the problem.
If you find your hands are still slipping on your mat (downward dog pose especially), make sure you give your hands a good soapy wash before your class to get rid of any body lotion/hand cream residue.