What is Yoga?:
Yoga is a popular and trusted workout regime for those looking to gain flexibility, strength and even lose weight. It is a practice that harmonizes the body with the mind and breath through the means of various breathing techniques, yoga postures (asanas) and meditation. On a deeper level, it offers a philosophy passion and a way to self reflect and bring more positivity and overall compassion into their lives.

What yoga is not:
Yoga is not a religion. It is a philosophy that began in India many years ago that provided a framework for growth and mastery over the physical and mental body. Though it sometimes interweaves other philosophies such as Hinduism or Buddhism it is not necessary to study these things to practice or study yoga.

Why the breath?
The practice of using the breath in Yoga is called Pranayama. Pranayama is the art of effective breath control. Practicing proper techniques of breathing can help bring more oxygen to the blood and brain, eventually helping control the vital energy we all have within us. This use of the breath goes hand in hand with various yoga poses.

What to expect?
The types of classes that will be offered at Essence will vary, but you can generally expect each class to be lead in a 3-part structure. First, your instructor will ease you into the class with a gentle warm-up, typically included some breath work. From here, you will slowly start to add in motions and poses that bring energy into the body and start to awaken your strength and your senses. Instructors are trained to properly warm up the correct parts of your body to easily lead you into new poses without fear of injury.

Poses can be expected to be performed on the ground, on the knees and standing. Throughout this part of the practice, modifications and adjustments will be offered to help you arrive and thrive on the mat at any level. After a set of peak poses have been performed, you will be lead into a cool down and finally a few minutes of full body rest.

What are the benefits of Yoga?:

Yoga has many benefits from physical fitness to mental growth. Some of these include:

Physical benefits of yoga

• Increased flexibility
• Increased Strength
• Increased Balance
• Increased Stamina
• Improved Body Alignment (reduction of joint pain)

Mental benefits of yoga
• Stress reduction
• Body Awareness
• Better Sleep
• Improved Self-Confidence
• Relaxation

What if I’m not flexible/coordinated?

No matter your current state or fitness level, you are a perfect candidate for yoga. Many people think that they need to be flexible to begin yoga, but that's a little bit like thinking that you need to be able to play tennis to take tennis lessons. Come as you are and you will find that yoga practice will help you become more flexible. Modifications will be offered throughout all classes to ease you into the practice and work you up to where you would like to be in your practice. You will gain a newfound agility through yoga, increasing strength, coordination, and enhanced cardiovascular health, as well as a sense of physical confidence and overall well-being.

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 helpful to have a pair of athletic pants or shorts, and a t-shirt or top that's not too baggy. You will eventually be doing some twists and standing poses that are easier performed in clothing that is a bit snugger and doesn’t get in the way of your mobility. You will be barefoot during class, so no special footwear is required. It's nice to bring a towel to class with you since you will likely work up a sweat as well as a bottle of water. As your practice develops, you might want to bring your own yoga mat.

Can I bring my children to the studio classes?
Yes, there are specific classes designated for children's yoga. Kids love yoga, stretching and mindfulness practices. Children under 14 yrs can be in the studio, but only during designated children's yoga classes. Children 14-17 yrs may accompany a parent to other Essence of Movementclasses in the studio, under the condition that a waiver is signed.

Are there any rules in the studio?
Most Yoga studios typically have an unspoken etiquette that goes with respecting your own practice as well as that of the other students. Try to arrive 5-15 minutes before class to remove your shoes, place your mat down and do some preliminary stretching/breathing to get you in a grounded mindset for class. Please, try to leave cellphones in the car or in a purse, and if they must be brought in keep them on silent. Phones are not allowed in class as they distract you, those around you and the teacher from being able to effectively teach. The same goes for talking and loud voices during practice - please try to remain quiet and speak with ease and tranquility while in the studio.

Always listen to your body. Modifications will always be offered, but staying in tune with how you are feeling and backing off if it feels like the right thing to do is always the best decision. Yoga will improve your overall health and wellbeing, but it is a process just like any other and we must be kind to ourselves on the journey.

Lastly, have fun! Yoga is a beautiful practice that allows us to flourish within ourselves and as a community. It is all inclusive and truly for everyone, so enjoy your practice, be patient with your progress and never be afraid to ask your instructor any questions you may have. We cannot wait to bring Yoga to the Brighton community and share this beautiful art of the body with you.