YOGA FAQ  and YOGA ETIQUETTE

                                            FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

     What is yoga?  Yoga is sacred science that is many centuries old. It is a Sanskrit word that means yoke or union The practice of yoga incorporates the use of physical postures, meditation, breathing techniques, diet, self reflection and more. Through these methods, the student of yoga develops a sound body, mind and self knowledge. The goal of yoga is self study that leads to " Kaivalya"  ( ultimate freedom or true consciousness )     

•    Can anyone practice yoga? Yes, yoga is for anyone willing to learn. No prior experience is necessary, but if you have an existing medical condition, please consult your doctor first.   

  •    What are the benefits of yoga?  An overall sense of well-being, increased peacefulness and concentration is common. Improved circulation, posture and balance is also possible.You may find that your muscle tone, sleep and your level of energy improves as well.   

  •    I am not flexible, can I still do yoga? Absolutely! Flexibility is not the goal of yoga, but it is a great side benefit. If you practice regularly, you will notice a change in your range of motion and flexibility. Just be yourself, go at your own pace and have fun!                                                                                               

     •    How long should I practice (how often)? A typical yoga class usually lasts anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes. Many of my students do well with practicing 2 or 3 times a week in the beginning, some practice daily. If you don't have time to do a full class, try 20 or 30 minutes at first. Some yoga is better than no yoga. As time goes by, you'll likely find that you want to practice more.  Do what feels right for you.   

  •    Is yoga the same as stretching? No. There is nothing wrong with stretching, but yoga is so much more than just physical movement. Yoga brings a lot of mindfulness and BREATH awareness to each pose .The ASANAS (poses) can have a deep effect on the body, mind and spirit. With this increased attention your awareness, actions and body will improve.

   •    Is yoga a religion? No it is not a religion, but it is a spiritual practice. It is non-dogmatic, some practitioners think of it as an ancient philosophy. You don't have to change your religion to start practicing yoga or even have religious beliefs. You may even find that it helps to deepen the spiritual beliefs that you already have and gives you a sense of unity with all that is around you.    

•    What should I wear to practice yoga? Comfortable clothing that allows you to move freely  and that you don't mind working up a sweat in like shorts, sweatpants, leotards & T-shirts. No jeans. As far as footwear goes, there is none because yoga is practiced in bare feet. Some yogis also like to bring water and a small towel with them. Other suggestions about yoga etiquette can be found here.    

   •    What is Om? Often you will hear this sound at the beginning and the end of most yoga classes. The sound Om (AUM) is a  sacred sound that symbolizes the Absolute. It is the sound of the universe. We use it to help center the mind.     •    What does namaste (nah-MA-stay) mean? It is a lovely greeting that you are likely to hear in a yoga class. It literally means " I bow to you ".
Other definitions of Sanskrit words can be found here.             

  •   Do I need to have my own yoga mat? Most yoga studios and gyms have mats available, but I always suggest that students buy their own. Yoga mats come in different  lengths, textures, colors and so on. These days there are many styles to choose from that can match your needs exactly and with your own mat, you can practice at home anytime.   

 •    How do I care for my yoga mat? When I buy a new yoga mat, I usually wash it first. Washing sometimes helps the mat become more "sticky". I hand wash my mats using very little soap (because I want a sticky mat, not a slippery mat) and I always air dry them.    

•    Can I eat before my yoga practice? It is best to avoid eating 2 to 3 hours before class so that your food has time to digest.     •    Will yoga help me lose weight? Maybe. Some styles of yoga are rigorous and some are gentle. The regular practice of a vinyasa style ( a flowing type of yoga where the poses are linked together with the breath)  yoga and sensible eating may help you lose weight gradually and build strength.                                                                                                   

  •    Do I have to be a vegetarian to practice yoga? No, you don't have to become a vegetarian, but as your yoga practice deepens, you'll start to notice how food choices affect you on and off your yoga mat. In time you may find yourself moving towards a healthy vegetarian diet. It is a personal choice.    

•    Will I experience soreness after practicing yoga? Maybe, but only in the beginning. Yoga classes can be very different in their level of intensity, choosing the right class for you is important. When you practice regularly, the body quickly adjusts and you should feel great.                                                                                                                             

      •    If I have an injury or medical condition, can I still practice yoga? Always inform your teacher if you are working with an injury or medical condition. A qualified yoga teacher should be able to offer modifications to the yoga postures. Never do anything in class that doesn't feel safe to you. I would also recommend consulting your health care professional before starting yoga.  

  •    Can I practice yoga if I am pregnant? Yes you can. Just like the last answer, always consult with your doctor first. Please obtain permission and inform your teacher before class so that he or she can make you aware of the poses that should be avoided ( like asanas that compress the abdomen). Never do anything in class that doesn't feel safe to you. You may even be able to find a prenatal yoga class in your local area.

               YOGA ETIQUETTE

   Over the years I've often joked with my students that one of these days I was going to teach a whole class on just yoga etiquette! I playfully threaten this normally after a minor social lapse by one or two of my students. Good manners makes the world a better place and I think that it is especially true in a yoga class. Yoga etiquette can be tricky at times for the new student mainly because it isn't talked about that much, but have no fear, Moore Yoga Poses is here to help! If you follow these small suggestions and you are mindful of others, you'll start out on the right foot with your fellow yogis and maybe earn some good karma too.                                                                                                                                                                        1. Timing is everything  

   A good start, starts from the very beginning I say, so be on time. Yoga classes tend to start on time, so do your best to arrive before the start of the class. This will give you the opportunity to get settled, relax and to speak quietly with the teacher before the class begins if the need arises. It will also keep the whole class from being disrupted too much. Of course life is unpredictable and you may be late on a rare occasion. Luckily, yoga folks are usually a friendly bunch and they will forgive you (if you follow etiquette tip number 2).

 2. Enter like a ninja

      Well maybe not exactly like a ninja, you should use the door and not the widow. Try to enter the room in a way that won't interrupt the flow of the yoga class.  If you are less than 10 minutes late, please enter the room quietly. Some classes may begin with meditating, relaxing breathing, quiet time or even chanting. The start of a yoga class is designed to help the student center their mind and warm up their body. It is a chance to forget about the activity of the outside world and to focus your attention within. It's a chance to be in the present moment.     If you are going to be more than 15 minutes late to a 1 hour class, you may not be allowed to take the class at some yoga studios or health clubs. If this happens to you, please don't take it personally. In these instances, the teacher is only thinking about your safety. A good yoga class usually progresses from milder poses to more challenging ones. Without the proper warming up of the body and the calming down of the mental chatter, a minor injury could occur during the more advanced poses. Your teacher wants you to be healthy, happy, and most of all safe. Yoga can be a practice for a lifetime.  

3. Om my goodness
      While we are on the topic of sound. Om is such a beautiful sound and it is very common for a hatha yoga class to begin with 3 repetitions of this holy vibration. Although it only takes a few moments to create this special sound, I am sometimes amazed by how much other sound can be generated when good yoga etiquette isn't practiced. Avoid these next few faux pas and you're well on your way to being loved by your new classmates.     When the class is tuning in with Om, please refrain from creating some other vibration like talking to your neighbor about the elusive art of perfect yoga mat placement, kicking off your shoes across the room, checking your cell phone one last time, doing your own personal " last minute pre-yoga class stretching" , asking the teacher a question, loud yawns and so on. Chanting Om can help your practice but if you don't want to chant, no worries. No one will try to make you recite anything . Even by just hearing the sound, you will obtain some benefit. Yoga practitioners only ask that you are quiet when they are chanting.

4.Can you hear me

          Yes we can! Cellphones can be very useful in your everyday life but not so useful in a yoga class. Please turn off your cell phones before entering a yoga class. It is a way to be considerate to everyone in the class and to yourself. Give yourself every opportunity to leave the commotion of the day behind for an hour or two. You deserve it and so do we. If by some chance you forget to turn off the phone and it rings, don't panic!  We are yoga practitioners after all, so calmly, quietly and quickly turn off the phone. Sooner or later everyone in the class will make this innocent mistake  (teachers too) and they will forgive you, if you turn it off. Do not let the phone ring and ring and ring thinking that you will only get 1 phone call during the class, you won't. Everyone and their mother will call your phone, just turn it off with a smile and everything will be alright.


5. The smell of victory                           

    If cleanliness is next to Godliness, then you are going to want a Godly person next to you in class. Popular yoga teachers can have very crowded classes at certain times of the day and there is plenty of deep breathing in the practice, you get the idea. Make sure that you are clean. A nice shower can have a revitalizing influence on the body and mind. Also avoid wearing any type of strong fragrance, other yogis could be sensitive to it.

 6. The agony of de-feet   

      Walking across other students yoga mats is not a good thing and walking across their mats with your shoes on is really discourteous. No friends will be made.Yoga is practiced with bare feet, so if you plan to take class at a yoga studio or ashram, always remove your shoes before entering the class. This is seen as being respectful to the teacher and your place of practice. Yogis feel that their mats are a part of their personal space and with good reason. In class there are many times when you will either lie down or rest your face on the mat and you want it to be clean.


7. We're on a roll!  

      It is always better to buy your own mat, it’s more hygienic but if you don't have one, you can usually borrow or rent a mat from the place that you practice in. When using a yoga mat that belongs to a yoga studio or health club, please return it to it's proper place. I teach at many different locations and every place seems to have their on system for storing mats. If they like them folded, then fold. If they love them laid out flat, then flat it is and if they prefer them rolled then roll' em. Whatever they like, do it but do it neatly. This will show that you are a mindful yogi not only during class but after class as well and the yoga students in the following class will be thankful for your thoughtfulness.         


 8. The dead are restless   

       Savasana is called corpse pose in english. As the name implies, you are trying to rest very deeply. It is an important poses that comes at the very end of class. Don't skip it! Savasana is your gift to yourself for all of the hard work that you've done during class. It allows the body and mind to process the experience of the class. It is a calming time (the time before the class starts is a time for quiet as well)     It's definitely not the time to chat with the person next to you, rustle through your handbag, ask a question about an asana (pose) that you did 20 minutes ago, make a cell phone call or drag your unrolled mat across the feet and heads of the resting students as you leave 5 minutes early ( yes, sadly these are real examples).             Many people love Savasana because it helps to ground them in a peaceful way before they leave. Being quiet during corpse pose is a way to be considerate to the group and the class won't feel haunted by the restless "dead" among them, If you feel that you can't stay for Savasana, we ask that you exit before so that others can enjoy this time peacefully.                                                                                                                                                                       

  9. Pay it forward   

       The most important rule of yoga etiquette is to be kind, patient and forgiving  to those who break the unspoken rules. Yogis should be flexible not only on the mat, but off the mat as well. You never know when you might be the one who is late, loud or forgetful. No one is perfect, that's why we call it a practice. So the next time that you're in a class and 1 or more of the rules seem to be forgotten, try not to be disturbed.