Yoga practice in the western part of the world typically includes performing physical postures (asanas) and observing or working with the breath (pranayama) and meditation. Some practices provide a challenging workout while others are more restful and restorative.
As an activity for the mind, body, and spirit, yoga has been helping humans since it originated at least two thousand years ago. Regular yoga practice brings self-awareness, a sense of peace and well-being, and greater energy, strength, flexibility, and balance. Yoga, which means “union” or “joining”, promotes balance between opposites like between the mind and the body and between movement and stillness, and it can help with stress management.
Yoga is not a religion, but many practitioners find that through greater self-awareness, which comes naturally with regular practice, yoga improves and strengthens their personal relationship with their chosen religion or life philosophy.
Anyone – young or old, fit or inactive, stiff or flexible, novice or inexperienced – can do yoga and benefit. If you are new to yoga, come try it out! You will want to wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes that give freedom to move. Upon arrival to a studio, it is customary to remove shoes and socks and practice in bare feet. You can bring your own mat or borrow one from the studio.
Shenandoah Yoga offers both regular and prenatal ongoing yoga classes as well as private yoga classes and private yoga therapy sessions.
Want to know more about Shenandoah Yoga, how it came to be and its owner? Read an interview on the Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance organization’s blog.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I’ve never done yoga before?
There is a first time for every yoga student. Beginners are encouraged to attend Level 1, Multi-level or Gentle Yoga classes. Please tell your instructor that you are new to practice. Shenandoah Yoga would love the opportunity to introduce you to the practice of yoga.
What should I wear to class?
Wear clothes that are loose and/or stretchy enough to permit you to move freely, but not so loose that they distract you as you move around. Layers are recommended – there are active times during practice when you may build up some heat and feel warm and times when you may be relaxing and feel cool. Temperatures vary seasonally in the studio. Yoga is traditionally practiced in barefeet, but sometimes it’s nice to have socks to keep the feet warm during the relaxation portion of class in the winter time.We recommend leaving distracting, heavy or dangling jewlery at home and skipping the perfume.
What if I don’t have a mat or I forget mine?
Shenandoah Yoga has mats and other props like blocks, blankets and straps, available at the studio for borrowing during class. Of course, you are also welcome to bring your own if you prefer.
What’s a typical class like?
Most classes start with calming and centering in a seated or supine posture. Then, they may include standing and more seated and supine poses – often, but not necessarily, in that order. Which poses are done and the level of difficulty will vary with the type of class and students’ condition.
Most classes, regardless of type, end with some restorative poses, followed by a final period of relaxation in savasana and closing centering activity.
Mediation and pranayama (breathwork) are mixed in throughout classes at the discretion of the instructor.
When should I eat or drink?
Think of yoga like doing any other physical activity. You don’t want to eat or drink too much right before your practice, but you don’t want to be distracted by hunger either. Small, simple and light meals and snacks are recommended. Everyone’s metabolism is different – some students may prefer to have a snack within minutes before class while others may find they wish to eat two to three hours in advance. Students are welcome to bring water in closed containers, such as water bottles, with them for use before, during and after class.
What if I’m injured?
If you are recovering from a recent injury or have nagging effects from a past injury (such as, but not limited to pain or limited range of motion or strength), please let your instructor know so appropriate modifications can be provided to guide you in your practice. Yoga can be a powerful tool in facilitating healing after an injury and in preventing future injuries.
What if I’m pregnant?
Shenandoah Yoga has offered prenatal yoga classes for pregnant women since the studio opened in 2006. Classes will help a woman enjoy a more comfortable pregnancy and will help prepare her mind and body for labor and delivery and motherhood. Pregnant women typically begin the class any time around the end of the first trimester or afterward.
No previous yoga experience is required. We recommend you consult your midwife or doctor prior to beginning a yoga practice. Pre-registration is required for prenatal yoga classes. Students with some knowledge of prenatal yoga are invited to attend Level 1 classes though they should inform the instructor of their pregnancy so appropriate modifications can be given.
What is Yoga Therapy?
Integrative Yoga Therapy applies all aspects of yoga to the integrated healing of the whole person. It is grounded in both Western science of the mind and body and in Ayurveda, the traditional healing system of India.
A typical yoga therapy session may include pranayama (breath work), mudras (energy work using yoga hand poses), chakra balancing, meditation, yoga nidra (guided imagery and deep relaxation), as well as asana (yoga poses). The physical practice can be adapted to any degree as needed, making yoga accessible to clients coping with injury, chronic illness, or other challenges. Each session is developed around the needs of the client.
Yoga Therapy can be a complement to physical therapy or psychotherapy; it is not a substitute for either. It may also assist with stress after or during some medical therapies. Yoga Therapy can be beneficial for personal growth and spiritual awareness. It is unique in that it involves the physical, energetic, emotional, mental and spiritual dimensions of the client, without separation.