Why practice yoga?
Yoga, which translates to “union” in Sanskrit, literally means the integration of the mind, body and spirit. On a physical level, yoga helps strengthen, tone and align the body. On a spiritual level, we use the connection between our breath and physical movement (also known as asana) to calm the mind and open the heart so that we may live more peacefully and in optimal health.
The benefits of yoga are truly limitless. Yoga is often used to help treat chronic injuries and ailments and is also useful in preventing injuries. In addition to strengthening our bodies, a regular Yoga practice strengthens our hearts and our bones, all while reducing blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. (For more information on American Heart Association studies on yoga and heart health, check out this WedMD article, “Yoga and Meditation 3 Times a Week Improves Heart Disease Risk“.)
Some other benefits include:
- reducing stress, anxiety, depression and mind-body disorders
- increasing flexibility, balance and strength
- slowing heart rate
- calming the mind
- lowering blood pressure
- detoxifying and improving the function of internal organs
- increasing metabolism
- warding off insomnia
- increasing circulation
For more information about yoga’s benefits, here is a list from Yoga Alliance of the Top 10 Ten Reasons to Try Yoga.
What is power vinyasa yoga?
Classes at Mighty Yoga flow between a series of yoga postures (also known as asanas) in a way that links breath with movement. This style of movement is sometimes called Vinyasa Yoga. The word “vinyasa” can translate as “connection” or “flow.” At Mighty Yoga, you can expect each class to flow differently than the one before—you will always find new challenges!
How many times a week should I practice?
How much you practice depends on you, your body and your goals. Some students find that one class a week is enough to keep them centered and strong, helping them prevent injuries or recover from an illness. For others, yoga is a daily practice. To truly experience the benefits of yoga, we recommend doing yoga two or three times a week for several weeks and then assess how you feel. Ultimately, your body will tell you what the “right” amount of yoga is for you.
What kind of a workout will I get at Mighty Yoga? Do I still need to go to the gym?
At Mighty Yoga, it’s not just about a physical workout. Our classes will challenge you physically with invigorating movements and breathing practices that are probably more comprehensive than most workouts at the gym. We strive to offer a balanced, all encompassing experience that focuses on the whole body and mind.
More specifically, Power Yoga strengthens and improves flexibility for several muscle groups, large and small. Depending on your aims, a Power Yoga practice can offer sufficient exercise benefits on its own, but it can also enhance cross-training. Whether you’re a training athlete or a weekend warrior, yoga can greatly benefit your health as it can help prevent injury by helping to strengthen and balance muscle groups. Yoga also encourages you to practice more healing strategies in the event of an injury.
Do I need to be flexible to practice yoga?
Absolutely not! More often than not, people don’t show up to their first yoga class already bendy. By practicing full body stretches, yoga will help you become more flexible. There’s a saying that you don’t need a flexible body to practice yoga, only a flexible mind. So show up with an open mind, and the rest will follow!
I’ve never been to a yoga class. How do I get started?
We welcome new students every week to Mighty Yoga, and would be happy to have you! First, check out our schedule and look for Foundation, Community, or All Levels classes. These classes are most suitable for beginners. We also offer a FUNdamentals workshop series designed specifically for new students. The workshop breaks down the basic poses, alignment, and transitions that are part of our vinyasa flow. Whatever class you choose, please arrive 15 minutes early and let your instructor know that it’s your first class. Be sure to read our New to Yoga page.
What are some benefits of practicing in a heated studio?
Our bodies release toxins in many ways, but one of the most important ways is our sweat. In addition to being the largest elimination organ of the body (even larger than your digestive system), the skin is also our most effective organ for releasing toxins. The heat in the room, combined with the internal heat that comes from moving the body, encourages us to sweat and detoxify! The heat also may assist in the following: reducing joint and muscle pain, improving skin quality, boosting our immune systems, opening airways (reducing congestion), and regulating our metabolism.
Sometimes I hear words in a different language in class. What language is that?
Because yoga was developed in India over 5,000 years ago, some of the words we use in class are in Sanskrit. If a teacher uses a word that you’ve never heard of before, it often is the name of the yoga pose in Sanskrit. For example, a common pose we practice is called Downward Facing Dog in English and Adho Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit.
I have an injury or a medical condition. Is it safe to do yoga?
It depends. Yoga is often a way to help support the body in the healing process. But as with any physical activity, it’s best to ask your doctor or health-care provider if yoga is right for you. If they say yes, please let your teacher know before the start of class so that they can offer modifications or variations based on your specific needs.
I just found out I’m pregnant. Can I still practice yoga?
Yoga can be a fantastic way to support your body and mind as you go through your pregnancy. However, there are some precautions to keep in mind and we recommend checking in with your doctor before attending a class. It’s generally best to start by taking a prenatal class, with an experienced, specialized teacher to guide you. If you already have a strong practice with experience doing yoga in a heated room, then our other classes may be an option for you during your pregnancy. If you choose to take any of our classes other than the Prenatal yoga class, we highly recommend consulting your doctor first to ensure your practice is safe. There are several poses such as inversions and lying on the belly that are not recommended during pregnancy. Be sure to let your instructor know you are pregnant before class so modifications can be given. For additional information about practicing yoga during pregnancy, read the Yoga Journal’s advice for moms-to-be.
We offer prenatal yoga classes at our Ithaca studio.
I’m new to Mighty Yoga. What can I expect during class?
Our classes last between 60 and 90 minutes. Each class begins with a gentle warm up and then moves into a series of flowing poses. In any particular class, you can expect to move through some or all of the following: standing poses, balancing, seated poses, backbends, and inversions. Classes always end in savasana (deep relaxation). Class styles will vary from instructor to instructor and we encourage you to attend classes with everyone to take advantage of this variety.
Do your teachers offer assists and why? What if I don’t want hands-on-adjustments?
Many of our teachers offer hands-on adjustments to help guide you into proper alignment and show you what is possible in a pose so that you have the tools to rediscover this place on your own. Assists are meant to provide support for students that is safe and nurturing. If you are working with any injuries or prefer not to have this contact during class for any reason, please let your teacher know before class.