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Frequently asked questions

What is yoga?


Yoga is the process of coordinating breath with movement. The physical postures (or poses) build strength, flexibility and balance, and also require mental focus. The process of focusing the mind on the breath, and bringing awareness into the body, leads to less stress, more happiness, and a sense of relaxation and wellbeing. Yoga is NOT a religion, although many people do experience feelings of spiritual vitality or joy during or after their yoga practice simply because the practice quiets the mind and offers opportunities for people get in touch with feelings of compassion and gratitude.




What are some of the health benefits of practicing yoga?


A consistent yoga practice builds strength, flexibility, and focus and also reduces stress. Yoga has been proven to reduce anxiety and help manage chronic conditions and pain. Doctors are incorporating yoga into treatment plans for persons diagnosed with low back pain, osteoporosis, cancer, depression and anxiety, among other conditions. The United States military is offering yoga and meditation to veterans recovering from injury and post-traumatic stress. Here are some articles which discuss the benefits of yoga in more detail:




Do I have to be flexible to practice yoga?


You do not have to be young, flexible, strong, or willing to go upside down to practice yoga. You only need to be willing to show up on your mat and try do your best. If you have particular health concerns, please consult your doctor before beginning a yoga practice and, after obtaining your doctor’s approval to begin or resume a yoga practice, discuss your health concerns and questions with your yoga teacher so she/he can suggest modifications to keep you safe and comfortable in your practice.




What do I wear to class?


Comfortable clothing which allows you to move. You do not need to purchase clothes specifically made for practicing yoga. Shorts or sweatpants and a t-shirt will work just fine. Many people find long pants or leggings more comfortable that shorts, but it is entirely up to you. We ask that you wear clothing which provides adequate coverage so that you are comfortable in your practice.




What do I need to bring to yoga class?


The most important thing to bring is yourself, your willingness to do your best and listen to your body. A yoga mat, water bottle, and towel for wiping sweat are also helpful. We rent mats, and sell water at the studio, in case you just want to show up and practice.




Should I eat before yoga class?


It is best not to eat a meal within two hours before coming to class. If you are hungry, eat a light snack, such as a piece of fresh fruit, or drink some juice or coconut water.




Commonly used yoga terms


Twig Yoga is dedicated to making yoga accessible and fun for our clients. We want to be clear in our instruction and so we make sure to explain poses and exercises in ways which are easily understandable. If you have a question about what we mean when we are teaching, please just ask. Here are some common yoga terms you will hear:

Chattarunga: a half push-up; the body is in plank position and then is lowered down (maybe just one inch, maybe half-way to the floor), elbows are kept close to the body and the shoulders should go no lower than the elbows; this position is an essential part of the sequence of poses which make up the vinyasa flow in vinyasa classes

Namaste: at Twig, we close our yoga practice with an expression of gratitude and then by saying “Namaste” which literally means “I bow to you” - it represents the essence of one person acknowledging (bowing) to the essence of others

Pranayama: this term refers to breathing exercises

Savasana: we end our yoga practice in savasana, which is a pose in which you are asked to lie on your back, with your eyes closed and your palms resting on the mat facing up, and be completely still; many people find this final pose of rest the most challenging pose of their practice because we are so used to going all the time, that is very difficult to become still and quiet; we believe savasana is the most important pose of the practice because it requires stillness both for the body and mind, and allows you to feel, appreciate and integrate the benefits of your yoga practice, for this reason savansa is an essential part of the practice, so please do not leave until after savasana, when practice is formally closed by the teacher

Vinyasa: a method of yoga in which poses are linked together in a flowing sequence and are coordinated with the breath, for more information on vinyasa, click here.