What is Yoga?
The practice of yoga has been around for over 5,000 years. The word Yoga means “to join or yoke together,” and it does so by connecting mind and body, by connecting one yogi with another ,and by connecting all yogis with Mother Earth. This connection with the self and with something greater than the self is what makes yoga different from other forms of exercise. Contrary to popular belief, yoga is not just a practice of stretches and exercises. Yoga is also a practice that touches all aspects of one’s health including all physical body systems, as well as emotional, mental and spiritual well being. Many people practicing find that yoga begins to affect other aspects of their life besides new found physical strength. Yoga students may begin to make more mindful food choices and pay closer attention to their relationship with friends and family. They may also begin to develop greater compassion for the world around them. In short, yoga provokes personal inquiry. Many people discover greater awareness within their own bodies and in turn develop a stronger connection with all beings. From a physical standpoint, a regular yoga practice has been proven to reduce stress and boost emotional well-being, increase strength & flexibility, improve cardiovascular fitness, enhance vitality, and manage body weight.
There are many different styles of yoga asana (physical postures) to meet the many different physical needs of students. This is the beauty of the Yoga House of Charleston. No matter where you are in your yoga practice, there is a place for you in our House!
To put it simply, EVERYONE benefits from yoga. Whether you desire greater flexibility, stronger muscles and bones, lasting endurance, or peace of mind, all can be found in yoga. Yoga asana is a great method for helping people get into shape and stay in shape. There is always somewhere to progress in the practice! Beginner and restorative yoga classes can be utilized by those recovering from an injury or suffering from chronic illness. Many find that yoga improves the quality of their sleep, increases their energy level, and reduces stress.
What benefits are you seeking from your yoga practice?
The Yoga House of Charleston offers a class to help you reach your goals!
Hopefully this page will help to dispel some common rumors, concerns, and leeriness around the practice of yoga.
I can’t practice yoga because I am not flexible.
That is one important reason to practice yoga! Many tight bodies have found healing in yoga classes. Athletes to couch potatoes and everything in between need to maintain adequate flexibility to maintain optimal health. For those craving looser hamstrings, check out our Yin yoga classes.
Is Yoga a religion?
No, yoga is not a religion. Many people find spiritual healing through their yoga practice but no specific form of worship is carried out during a yoga class. Yoga can mean many different things to people. Some come to yoga solely for the physical practice, while others prefer to divulge deeper into the philosophy behind yoga. The bottom line is that a student should never feel pressured to explore a side of yoga that is outside of their comfort level.
Isn’t yoga just for women or smaller-framed men?
Quite the contrary! In fact, TYH's owner and founder is a larger-framed man of around 200 pounds. Almost 30% of yogis in America are men, and dudes find their ways to yoga classes for a variety of reasons. Men with greater flexibility, better range of motion, and reduced stress tend to perform better in other activities such as contact sports, running, weight training, and yes, even the bedroom. In fact, anyone who has taken a hot yoga class or strong vinyasa flow is well aware of the physical fitness required in yoga. All others can choose to sit back and speculate or discover the benefits of yoga for themselves...and yes that was a challenge to all you “tough guys" out there!
I have seen pictures of people doing yoga, and there is no way I could ever balance on my forearms!
Many people think that yoga classes are filled with ex ballerinas and gymnasts who don’t think twice about touching their toes or standing on their heads. While there are indeed ballerinas and gymnasts who practice yoga, there are people from all other backgrounds and fitness levels as well. Why? Because one does not have to stand on his or her head or do the splits to reap the benefits of yoga. Do not be intimidated by the practice, because the practice can easily be tailored to fit all needs.
I already go to the gym so I do not need to practice yoga.
Yoga is a great complementary practice to other forms of exercise. Yoga offers students greater flexibility, better mental clarity, a chance to heal sore muscles and injuries, reduce stress, and improve sleep.
There are a few basic courtesies that the Yoga House of Charleston ask of all who step through our doors for yoga classes.
- For your first class, please arrive 15 minutes early to fill out a little paperwork and become familiar with our studio. It also allows you time to speak with the teacher before class to let her or him know of any particular injuries or other body issues you may be experiencing.
- Please turn all cell phones off!
- Please show up for class on time (that means a few minutes early!). If you do arrive late, please wait until the beginning phase of class is finished before entering the studio, so as not to disturb fellow students. In some circumstances, if you are late the doors may be locked, in order to ensure the safety of our clients and teachers.
- Please remove your shoes before entering the studio.
- If you borrow a studio mat, please clean it as best you can after use. Mat cleaner will be provided. You will sweat! Please bring a towel and wipe up around your mat after class.
- Try not to eat at least one hour before attending class and at least two hours prior for hot classes. It will make your experience much more enjoyable.
- Please do not wear heavy colognes or perfumes as they may bother other students.
- Please HONOR your body! Although often practiced in a group setting yoga is a very personal practice and no one understands your body like you do. Please listen to and respect your physical limits and needs. Our instructors are there to help. They can offer modifications for postures and we also have lots of props to assist you in your practice.
- Please do your best to remain in class throughout the session - even during final resting pose (Savasana). This is one of the most important parts to a yoga practice. If you must leave, please let the teacher know in advance and slip away while others are getting settled.