What is Yoga? 
The word Yoga means “union.”  The practice of Yoga unites body and mind, left and right, and breath with movement.

Is Yoga a religion?
Yoga is not a religion, but a spiritual path of self-awareness and acceptance.  The instruction to bring the hands “to prayer” in Yoga is not a sign of worship, but a hand gesture for the union of left and right with awareness.  Hinduism or Buddhism philosophies are sometimes interwoven into Yoga, but it is not necessary to study those paths or surrender your own religious beliefs to practice Yoga.  Statues representing mythological characters and their attributes can be used to guide students of Yoga; however the focus at Yoga By Water Studio is on three of the 8 limbs of this spiritual path of Yoga – breath control, postures, and relaxation/mediation.

Am I flexible enough to do Yoga?
Yes.  Every body is flexible enough to do Yoga, because each pose is personal.  You are not adapting your body to Yoga – You are adapting Yoga to your body.  Go to the place where your body takes you.  Along the Yoga journey your body may gradually take you further, but as long as you are feeling sensation (not pain), you are getting the benefits from each pose.  Pretzel poses are not a requirement for advancing in Yoga, as you can advance your practice simply by staying in each pose for a longer time.

Is Yoga good for weight loss?
Yes, because you are building muscle, and you can gradually work up to a more intense practice.  Aerobic exercise provides a faster method for weight loss; however, to avoid injury from aerobic and high impact routines, my advice is to first build the underlying muscles through Yoga.

What is the ideal body type for Yoga?
There is no “ideal” body type for Yoga.  Although you will see extremes in the modeling industry and the covers of Yoga magazines, all body types are capable of doing the poses.  The breath is also an important link to the practice of Yoga, as it has been said that if you are not consciously breathing, you are not doing Yoga, you are just stretching.  “Anybody can breathe. Therefore, any body can practice yoga.” (T. K. V. Desikachar)

Do I need to know the names of poses and/or learn Sanskrit to practice Yoga?
No.  Some studios use Sanskrit terms to honor the origins of Yoga, and the student will eventually learn to identify each pose by its Sanskrit name through practice.  Instructions at Yoga By Water Studio describe each pose by movement, placement, and alignment before labeling the pose by its English name.  Learning an ancient language is not required to benefit from the practice of Yoga.

Is Chanting a required part of a Yoga practice?
While chanting has its benefits, it is not a required part of the Yoga practice.  Chanting is the Yoga of sound.  Each letter of the Sanskrit language has a sound which relates to a specific subtle energy center in the body.  Sanskrit chanting activates these subtle energy centers to produce a soothing, purifying, and energizing effect.  Om is known as the sacred sound of universal consciousness, and is sometimes chanted in Yoga classes to lower stress, create a proper atmosphere for the practice, and calm the mind.  Classes at Yoga By Water Studio do not include chanting, as I feel it is more of a personal preference and experience for each individual student, and better suited to a personal practice of meditation.