Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of yoga do you teach?
Why aren't there any mirrors in the room?
There is a big misunderstanding regarding types of yoga. There is only one type of physical yoga and the umbrella term for this is Hatha Yoga. Under the Hatha yoga umbrella there are many different styles of yoga, most of which have been developed only in the last hundred years or so - some of them much more recently than that. Each style teaches the same poses with a different emphasis on how the poses are linked together or whether alignment or flow takes priority. At Serenity Now Yoga we teach Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga is translated as the royal path. Raja Yoga includes physical postures (asana) but also ethical principles and disciplines (yama and niyama) breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation. The asana is taught in an alignment based vinyasa style, which means our classes flow, one pose moving to another, coordinating breath with movement, however, we also pay a great deal of attention to alignment to make sure each pose is being practiced safely and effectively.
I'm not flexible, can I still practice yoga?
When we learn a yoga pose it is from the inside out. Yoga postures or asanas in Sanskrit are designed to heal the body and promote proper flow of prana or life force. The poses are not designed to be viewed from the outside and mirrors can prove to be distracting. When we are practicing yoga we try to turn our attention inward, not outward. In time the student will be able to feel they are doing the pose properly and will not need to use their sense of sight to confirm this.
Is yoga a religion?
Of course! Yoga is one of the best ways to improve your flexibility. Just about everyone will see some improvement. Over time the change can be quite dramatic.
Why doesn't the teacher do the class along with us?
Yoga originated in India about 4,000 years ago where most of the people were practicing religions that eventually evolved into Hinduism and many of the words and terms used in yoga reflect that origin, however yoga is not a religion. Yoga is a set of practices that includes physical exercises (asana), breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation and ethical principles that include things like non-harming and truthfulness. We teach all of these things in our classes, but students are encouraged to adopt only whatever part of the practice speaks to them.
What kind of training or certifications do the teachers at Serenity Now Yoga have?
We believe that it is the teacher's job to make sure you are practicing the postures safely and effectively. It is not possible for the teacher to do this if they are only in front of the classroom and focusing on their own practice. The teacher is meant to be watching and helping you. From time to time the teacher may demonstrate a pose if it seems that might be helpful.
Why do we chant Om at the beginning and end of class and what does it mean?
All of our teachers have completed a minimum of 200 hours of Yoga Alliance approved training. Most of us have been teaching for quite a long time and have many hundreds of more hours of trainings and workshops with nationally and internationally recognized yoga masters.
In Sanskrit, the language of yoga, there are certain seed syllables or bija mantras. Om is the primary bija mantra. Om is said to be the underlying sound or hum of the universe. It symbolizes the belief that all is one, the essence of the word yoga which means "to yoke" is to know our interconnectedness with all of creation. When we chant Om together in class we are symbolically and physically tuning in to that sound and acknowledging our connection to all other living beings, nature and the universe. It is also a way to delineate the time of our practice from the rest of our day and signify that this is a special time in which to care for ourselves and practice being mindful.