FAQ ABOUT YOGA
- Carrie Tyler, Rasamaya Founder
WHY IS RASAMAYA YOGA DIFFERENT THAN OTHER FORMS OF YOGA?
Rasamaya literally translates as "fluid" in Sanskrit, and the philosophy system is centered around the concept of finding a fluid life both on and off your mat.
Not only do all of our classes have a theme, but also we have devised our yoga system to directly mimic the bell curve of the life cycle, which moves from deep relaxation lying down to dynamic seated, kneeling and standing postures before moving back down the bell curve again to a final relaxation lying down. All classes are very strengthening for the body, and spinal integrity is a central component to the system. We aim in all of our classes to create a full body sensory experience for our clients, and utilize various tools such as music, lighting, readings, and more to inspire your practice. Clients often remark that they feel physically and mentally rejuvenated from our yoga classes. Themes focus around the nine major rasas (Sanskrit translation = "emotions") we all experience in life: wonder, fear, joy, disgust, courage, anger, sadness, compassion, love and ultimately peacefulness.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I PRACTICE YOGA?
My answer to my students whenever they ask this is, "as often as it doesn't stress you out." Meaning if once a week is a realistic expectation, then commit to that. A dedicated practitioner practices an average of three times a week. Really dedicated practitioners make it part of their daily ritual.
That said… don't forget that all forms of movement can be meditation in motion. At Rasamaya we encourage and believe in cross training. We developed our unlimited membership program and carefully structured our schedules to allow our members to stay for two classes back to back, so that you can enjoy the benefits of programs such as barre and cycle for focused strength training, followed by yoga for breath, body, and mind connection.
IS YOGA JUST STRETCHING?
This is a common misconception. Yoga is so much more than just stretching. Yoga provides you with the benefits of lengthened muscles and is also an excellent means for challenging cross-motor coordination and balance. The strengthening parts of yoga practice will help with bone density and muscular tone. Additionally, the relaxation and meditation at the end of practice allows space for a parasympathetic response in the body that offers the body time to integrate and process new information.
IS YOGA A RELIGION?
The short answer is no and well... yes. If you look at the history of yoga, you will see that its base is truly in the early roots of what we now know as Hinduism. However, most Western yoga schools (including Rasamaya) view yoga as a philosophy system and a lifestyle. The central tenet of yoga is really simple: Be Good. Do Good. The beauty of yoga is that it allows lots of room for interpretation and anyone can enjoy its benefits, regardless of religious belief.
WHERE DID YOGA COME FROM?
Yoga is a 5000-year-old tradition that stems from the ancient Indus River Valley Civilization. What we think of when we say yoga in the West is often yoga postures, maybe some breathing, chanting, and meditation. The reality is that yoga postures, as we know them came late in the history of yoga. Originally yoga referred to sitting in meditation, and the body was disregarded as an obstacle on the path to enlightenment.
It wasn't until the height of Tantra Yoga (about 200CE - 1800CE) that yoga asana developed as the Tantra Yogis began to look at the body as something that could be utilized on the pathway towards higher consciousness. Care and study was given to the subtle effects of movement, diet, and other practices on the human body. Hatha Yoga (which is the umbrella term for all forms of yoga posture based practice) was developed out of this exploration.
Hatha Yoga is the generic term for all kinds of physical yoga. Under its umbrella are literally thousands of various styles such as: Rasamaya, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Jivamukti, Anusara, Power Yoga, and many more.
WHAT DO I WEAR and BRING TO A YOGA CLASS?
We recommend you wear comfortable workout clothing in which you can move through a variety of postures. Classes are taught barefoot and you will need a yoga mat. We rent mats and towels at the studio, but we highly recommend getting your own. It's important if you take a heated class to make sure you have enough layers on for going back out into the outside weather. Also be sure to bring water, but we also sell it for $1 a bottle.
MY MAT IS NEW AND SLIPPERY. WHAT DO I DO?
Put it in a doorway at home that you walk through on a regular basis barefoot. As the mat begins to absorb the oils of your body it will soften the plastics and wear. Time will help break down some of the coating. You can also wash most mats in the washing machine on delicate with a very small amount of detergent and hang to air dry. It’s good to know most of the eco-mats sold today are made of recycled rubber, hemp, and other green materials that tend to be less slippery than the PVC-based mats. An investment in a quality eco-friendly mat will pay off—they last longer and are better for the environment.
WILL YOGA HELP ME LOSE WEIGHT?
Probably. If you look at yoga from an exercise science standpoint, losing weight becomes an easy three-fold equation: challenge your heart rate, increase muscle mass and cut calories.
Will yoga increase muscle mass? Yes. For an experienced practitioner this involves continually challenging yourself with yoga poses such as plank, inversions, concentrated flows, and sustained asanas, which are part of all of our classes at Rasamaya. If you are new to yoga any kind of yoga movement will be a new challenge to your muscles regardless of whatever other training you have had.
Will yoga increase your heart rate? Maybe. Initially all new forms of movement will challenge your heart rate. Yoga is however meant to eventually become meditation in motion. One of the goals of yoga is to create a body that maintains a steady heart rate regardless of stress or challenge. Hopefully by the time you reach that point you will have gained a decent amount of muscle mass (which equates to a higher metabolism as muscle burns more calories than fat) and weight will no longer be a consideration.
One more closing thought on this question. There are some scientifically proven theories that weight loss is directly related to stress. If your stress hormones are high then your body can't metabolize or process anything correctly. I have worked with many clients over the years that did everything right on paper but the scale or their pants size never shifted. All of these individuals were people who were on the go constantly with very stressful lives. Taking time for yourself is important, and giving yourself the gift of movement classes is an excellent way to boost your metabolism and clear your mind.
MY DOCTOR TOLD ME TO DO YOGA FOR MY "x" (insert chronic pain). WILL IT HELP?
Yoga is not one-stop shopping, but it has the potential to help if you do a very focused practice and pay particular attention to your alignment and needs. The human body is an amazing structure that responds well to appropriate levels of challenge versus rest. Yoga can be an excellent road to health, especially when adopted as a lifestyle. It's why people always call yoga a connection between "body, mind, and spirit." Make sure to tell your instructor of any limitations or pain you have. If you are experiencing chronic pain you should absolutely email the studio for recommendations and definitely consider private structural therapy sessions to make sure you are moving safely and appropriately in yoga classes.