Yoga FAQ

Yoga is thousands of years old!

Yes, you read that right.

There is no way a blog post, a blog series, or even a big pile of books could cover ALL there is to know!

So it’s my humble desire to share a bit of background and help orient you to this life-changing practice.

Yoga old-timers – I think there’s some stuff here for you, too!

Please read on.

1. What is yoga? 

Yoga is an Eight-Limbed practice over 5,000 years old, originating in northern India. The eight limbs are the yamas, niyamas, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. I write more about those on my blog, but just so you know: yoga isn’t just “poses”.

2. What is a yoga class? 

Most (not all) “yoga classes” you see in America are focussed on asana – that third limb, the “poses” of yoga. So when you see the word “yoga” you probably think: exercise class. That isn’t quite accurate, but it isn’t wrong either.

3. If yoga isn’t just physical exercise – is it a religion? 

Yoga is not a religion, although it is part of religious practice for many. Yoga might best be described as a practical, structured, scientific framework and embodiment practice that aims at improving our personal and social ills and shifting our quality of life. Remember though: there are so many schools of yoga and yoga scholars as well as a rich heritage. No one person can define yoga!

4. Is yoga a workout? 

Oh yes. But not all yoga asana classes are vigorous. Some are gentle, or restorative – some are about healing and strengthening. Others are supportive of mental and emotional health: mindfulness, meditation, and nidra. Whatever physical, emotional, mental and social benefits you’re looking for – there are yoga modalities that can help.

5. What are the benefits of yoga? 

Oh goodness – there are too many to list! Yoga asana increases strength, mobility, and endurance. Yoga helps your body FEEL better. Yoga benefits your mental health: the right kind of practice will deliver more clarity and less agitation. Yoga can heal some kinds of backache, even something chronic! There is so many ways we can benefit. That said, yoga asana is not a cure-all nor a substitution for physical therapy, support groups, physician-prescribed medication, or other modalities of healing.

Yoga provides benefits if you practice! It is your responsibility to find the best yoga practices that work for you and carefully tend to your needs.

6. How do I pick the yoga class for me? 

The best way is to read through the class list on my site, book a session – and show up! 

7. How can I make the most of my yoga practice? 

Find the class that is best for you, and stay after class to discuss your experience with me! I am usually available for brief consultations after class. If you want something more in-depth, consider scheduling a private session!

8. What if I can’t afford classes? 

Little Switch has the lowest group class rate on the Harbor through our sliding scale membership. However, for some, they may not be ready to commit. Group yoga doesn’t just cost money per class, it also costs time and resources – like transportation and comfortable clothing, et cetera. Never fear! I provide many yoga resources at no-cost – including online resources and in-person no-cost events. Please stay patient in these early weeks, and stay on the list!

9. Do you provide private instruction as well? 

I absolutely do! In fact at the bottom of this post you can read more about that.

10. What should I expect in group class?

Make sure to come to class a few minutes early! Respect the time of all participants as well as the instructor.

All you need is a yoga mat and comfortable clothes. I suggest wearing layers so you can add or remove them as we practice.

If you don’t have a mat, never fear! Students are welcome to use the mats we have here. If you don’t have a mat, never fear! Students are welcome to use the mats we have here. (I do recommend investing in your own mat, so you are more likely to practice at home too.)

Arrive at least five minutes before class start time, take off your shoes (and socks, usually), and find a comfortable spot. Arrive at least five minutes before class start time, take off your shoes (and socks, usually), and find a comfortable spot. If you think you may need help with balance, find a place near the wall.

We typically begin with a few centering moments, followed by a series of asanas – physical movements and poses designed to improve strength, flexibility, and balance. We use my yoga space’s blocks, straps, blankets, and other props to help each person reach proper alignment, expression, and breath.

Towards the end of the class, we wind down with savasana, or another resting pose. Then we close out our class, clean our mats, and put them away (along with other props). I almost always have time after class to talk!

Sunday group class I bring tea to share. You are not required to stay, but you are welcome to! You will find connection with the other community members who are investing in their yoga practices.

I write more about group class here.

11. What should I expect for a private session?

Private lessons are a gorgeous, luxurious gift you give yourself! They allow the time and space for yoga instruction and modification that is not possible during group class.

In private lessons we discuss in detail your goals and desires as well as your specific strengths, abilities, and preferences for movement and expression. It’s a great chance to talk about any limitations of or hopes for your practice, and to celebrate who you are today. We’ll take a look at some unique flows and movements to emphasize a deeper understanding of each posture, as well as assess the best modalities for what you’re looking for.

I find private lessons allow a heightened connection to the transformational benefits of practice. They are an investment of your time, energy, and commitment. They are perfect to compliment group class.

I wrote a bit more about what to expect in private instruction here.

You can book a private session with me her