What is Yoga?
The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind. Linking breath with postures and body with mind and spirit.
The Indian sage Patanjali is believed to have written 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) and finally samadhi (liberation, enlightenment).
Today most people practicing yoga are engaged in the third limb, asana or postures, as well as meditation and breathing exercises.
The relaxation techniques you practice in yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. It can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia. Some other physical benefits include increased flexibly, increased muscle tone and strength, improved respiration, energy and vitality, balancing metabolism, possible weight reduction, improved cardio and circulatory health, improved athletic performance, and protection from injury.
Most of us come to yoga for the physical benefits. As our practice deepens, we discover the emotional and stress relieving benefits as well. This begins an upward spiral, eventually improving our relationships with our family, friends, community, and all living things.
Yoga is for Everyone
There are now as many styles of yoga as there are teachers. There is definitely something for everyone regardless or injury, illness, body type or age. At Advantage, our Qualified Yoga Teachers will assess your specific yoga needs and with choose a specific style or blend styles together for you.
Styles Available with Advantage Sports
Ashtanga - Ashtanga is the original flow practice from India. All the Power Yoga, Vinyasa Flow and other newer styles use Ashtanga as their inspiration. The technique of vinyasa, linking the poses together in
a flowing sequence of movements timed to the breath, originates with
Ashtanga. Ashtanga Yoga is traditionally taught in a fixed sequential order with the system consisting of six different series in all. Many of the poses from the different Ashtanga series also float through classical Hatha Yoga classes, just without the vinyasas. Good for all levels.
Haha Yoga - classical style of yoga focusing on poses and breathing exercises. Typically involves tuning in with breath awareness, setting of intention, physical poses with verbal and physical adjustment/assists to ensure alignment which aids in energetic flow. A gentler practice, good for beginner and intermediate levels.
Mum & Baby Yoga - is a class that stimulates all the senses for baby, and gives mum a good stretch, helps her to regain strength and of course is chance to spend some quality bonding time with your little one. Each session incorporates handling, touching and movement, yoga improves the function of all of the body’s systems, including digestive, circulatory, nervous and balance systems. These actions all help to encourage crawling, which is a hugely important neurological developmental milestone in a baby's life. This class is suitable for babies form 8 weeks until a baby is ready to crawl.
Pre-Natal Yoga - Classes are designed and sequenced to promote mothers-to-be health and well-being. The asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing), and meditation are designed to increase endurance, strength, and flexibility in safe and supportive way and to achieve calm and tranquil state of mind. Group classes provide space for expectant moms to share their experiences and to connect. The poses are modified to be suitable for all stages of pregnancy and beginners are welcome.
Vinyasa Flow - stronger, faster style of yoga where each breath is linked to a movement. Poses flow from one to the next, often linked by a half sun salutation. This is more of a workout than other styles of yoga. It is recommended that new yoga students take a few slower paced classes to get a feel for poses before trying a vinyasa class.
Yin Yoga – A slow paced, passive style of yoga, focusing on stretching the deeper connective tissue (fascia, ligaments and tendons) rather than the muscles. Poses are held for between 3 to 5 minutes. Increases circulation in the joints and improves flexibility. Also assists with learning the basics of meditation and learning to let go. Good for all levels, especially athletes who need to relax.
Yin/Yang Flow – this style combines yin yoga with a flow practice. The Yin portion of this class is a gentle, quiet, and meditative practice. All poses are done on the floor so that the muscles can relax and allow the deep connective tissues surrounding the hips, thighs, and lower back to be deeply stretched. Through mindful stretching, Yin Yoga maintains the health of the connective tissue and encourages free flow of energy in the body. Poses are held for longer periods of time (generally 3-5 minutes).
The Yang portion of this class allows us to integrate this openness and awareness into a sense of steadiness and alignment with a short vinyasa flow practice. This class is suitable for all levels.
How often do I need to practice?
Even if you only practice for one hour a week, you will experience the benefits of the practice. If you can do more than that, you will certainly experience more benefits. We suggest starting with two or three times a week, for 60 or 90 minutes each time. You will likely find that as you progress you will want to practice more and more often.
What do I need to begin?
All you really need to begin practicing yoga is your body, your mind, and a bit of curiosity. But it is also good to wear stretchy, comfortable clothes that aren’t too baggy. No special footwear is required because you will be barefoot. You will also need a yoga mat.