FAQs

Q?

What type of yoga do you offer at Birchwood Center?

A.

BIRCHWOOD CENTER'S YOGA ADVISORAll classes at Birchwood Center are variations of Hatha Yoga. Hatha means "force" or "union" — it is the way toward realization or "union with the divine" through rigorous discipline, breath (pranayama), meditation and relaxation.

At Birchwood, we teach Hatha Yoga at levels l, ll, and lll, which includes Gentle Yoga, Restorative Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga Flow. Beginner classes teach the fundamentals of postures (asanas), breathing techniques, and the use of various props to aid the student in a more detailed experience of the poses. Vinyasa Flow Yoga, a moving invigorating style of yoga is introduced in level I/II, after students learn the fundamentals.

Birchwood Center offers classes for seniors, pregnant women and people with special needs as well as yoga for kids. Meditation is offered free of cost and special monthly workshops round out the program.

Q?

What can someone learn from doing yoga?

A.

On the physical level, one can learn about one’s body, feeling every muscle and the movement of energy. Yoga tones and strengthens, and the practice will pattern the body to relax and breathe more naturally.

On a mental/emotional level, yoga teaches how to stay with uncomfortable situations and to move through fear. One can learn courage, perseverance, self-discipline. Yoga builds self-esteem, confidence and the ability to stand on one’s own and on principle. One can learn how to be quiet and wait for the next moment to unfold, to love oneself and find peace in life. And that’s just touching the tip of the iceberg.

Q?

I’m new to yoga. What if I can’t keep up with the class?

A.

People with no yoga experience should choose a "Yoga 101 for Every Body" or "Gentle Yoga" class. Birchwood also offers "Mixed Level/Beginners Welcome" classes. In these classes everyone is encouraged to work at their own pace and will be instructed by the teacher on how to adapt postures to fit individual body types and capabilities.

Q?

What do I wear?

A.

Unrestricting clothing and bare feet are suggested. Tights or leggings are preferred so the teacher can see the body.

Q?

Can I eat before class?

A.

Practicing yoga on an empty stomach is most comfortable, but if need be, eating something light like fruit or yogurt is fine.

Q?

Do I need to bring anything with me?

A.

Birchwood Center provides everything needed for your yoga practice, such as sticky mats, blankets, straps and other props free of charge. Just bring yourself (though you are welcome to bring your own mat or props if you prefer).

Q?

I have a bad back. Can I still take class?

A.

Depending on your condition, yoga is very helpful for back problems.  However, some postures should not be done with certain conditions or injuries.  It is important to communicate with the teacher about one’s physical limitations.

Q?

If I’m pregnant, can I do yoga?

A.

Yoga can be done safely through your entire pregnancy and right up to the birth of your child. Yoga is an excellent choice for expectant mothers and will help you to prepare physically, mentally and spiritually for giving birth. All stages of pregnancy are invited to any of our Gentle Yoga classes, taught by experienced yoga instructors trained in addressing special needs, including pregnancy. Our instructors will help women in all stages of pregnancy to modify postures and adapt the practice to their special circumstances.

Q?

Everyone I’ve gone to talks about breathing. What is so important about the breath?

A.

The breath is the key — without the focus of breath you are not doing yoga.  Gymnasts can do every posture, but without the understanding of breath, it is just gymnastics. In Hatha Yoga, the breath work creates change on many levels. In asana practice, focusing on the breath helps to maintain awareness in the postures, and to move through tension and physical or mental/emotional blocks. It patterns the body to remain calm — one doesn’t react to events with such extreme emotions after just a short time practicing yoga. It creates health, working the cardiovascular system and the lymphatic system, thereby cleansing the body of toxins. Most importantly, focusing on breath keeps one in the present moment where everything is perfect and just fine, right now.