Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


I don't think I'm fit enough to do yoga. How can I start?

You can do yoga from a hospital bed, and bound in casts! Yoga is about much more than bendy-looking contortions. Everybody can improve their own flexibility and strength from where they're starting now, and a lot of yoga, including life-changing breath work and meditation, can be done with hardly any movement at all (other versions of breath work and meditation may include vigorous movement, but not necessarily!).

What about bellydance? Is that just for fun?

Bellydance is fun, that's for sure. It will also transform the way you see your body, by increasing your awareness of muscles and movements that you never really knew that you had, and will often increase your self esteem and improve your health. Of course, you will also be able, if you choose, to impress a chosen few with the way you moo-oo-oo-ve! 

Can my kids do yoga?

Absolutely! A yoga and meditation practice has been proven to help children and teens manage their emotions better, focus better on their studies, and generally be more pleasant around the house. Classes for very young kids usually involve adventure stories and animal poses. My young son enjoys coming along to teach kids' yoga classes, when asked. 

Do you teach teenagers?

I think that teens might be, of all age groups, the ones who have the most to gain from the self-esteem-enhancing effects of yoga. As with children and adults, teens will benefit from more stable emotions and better focus with a regular yoga practice. Teens are often at an intense learning stage and will soak up the lessons of better posture, body awareness, and pride in their abilities, and carry these lessons throughout life. I believe that getting a teenager involved in a yoga (or martial arts) practice may be one of the best things that we can do for them (and I love teenagers -- I used to teach high school).           

Can I do yoga with you if I don't know all of the pose names in Sanskrit? I had trouble with this in a class I tried.

The beauty of individual and small-group lessons is that we can go at whatever pace suits you each day. We can review and study the names of poses in English and Sanskrit if you want, or we can simply do what feels right for your body, following one of the traditional yoga sequences and adapting it to your needs.

A yoga teacher criticized my downward-facing-dog pose. I don't think my body is the right type for yoga. Do you agree that some body types are not suitable for yoga?

First of all, nobody should ever leave a yoga class feeling criticized, and I am sorry that you had that experience. All bodies are suited to yoga, if the yoga is intelligent enough to suit the yogi! There are many different kinds of yoga, and a little experimentation will help you to find one that suits you.

            We all have different anatomical realities. Some of these realities might involve carrying more or less weight than others, or the shape of our bones and the lengths of our tendons. Any yoga teacher who insists that all students must look the same in any one pose may not have studied anatomy very thoroughly (another possibility is a student's misunderstanding of a teacher's intent). The benefits of yoga depend not at all on what you look like, and completely on what the feeling is inside your body. As B.K.S. Iyengar says, the real lessons of yoga come to us through working through our obstacles. A body that is able to achieve each pose at the first try (such as two ballet dancers Iyengar taught) has much work to do to learn how to back off and create resistance to get the true experience of yoga.

B.K.S. Iyengar himself, one of the most revered fathers of modern yoga and a healthy 92-year old man today, had a sickly childhood and a terrible body that had suffered through malaria, typhoid, and tuberculosis. He found yoga, and became one of its greatest teachers through the use of props, proper alignment, and, above all, proper philosophy. It is through the struggle that greatness comes. If Iyengar could embrace yoga, certainly your body can too.

I have heard that there is only one right way to do yoga. Do you teach the "right" kind of yoga?

Yoga practice is about five thousand years old, and as you might expect in anything that good and that old, has taken on more forms than anyone can really count. The beauty of yoga is that the more you study it, the more you learn what is right for you, and what aspects or types of practice you are happy to leave for others to enjoy. 

What is "yin" yoga?

Yin yoga is typically taken to mean a gentler, "more female" type of yoga. It usually involves longer holds, which allow the fascia tissue to stretch and cleanse more thoroughly. Props such as blocks, bolsters, and blankets may be used to facilitate the most healing postures. "Yin" yoga is sometimes known as restorative yoga.

What is "power" yoga? 

Power yoga usually refers to a practice that takes a lot of muscle power and makes you sweat. You may find that you need to use stronger breath techniques to get through a power yoga class.