All about yoga
Whether you’re just starting your practice or have just started practicing with McKinzie, here’s what you need to know to get the most out of her classes and your time on and off the mat.
How do I start?
The best way to start practicing yoga… is practicing yoga! Even if you choose to listen and sit back or follow along the best you can, classes are free and you’re welcome to join.
What do I need?
The important thing to know is that you don’t need special clothing or specific equipment to begin incorporating yoga into your life.
All you need to attend a yoga class is a clear space of at least 6×6 feet. A yoga or exercise mat, books/blocks, strap/belt, towel, blanket, eye covering, pillow, bolster, cushion, water, journal, essential oils, crystals, and absolutely anything else that you would like to include in your yoga practice is up to your discretion.
What can I expect?
McKinzie begins class by centering the class and inviting you into an awareness of the present moment. A typical class is structured in multiple parts: introduction, centering, meditation, warm-up, flow/standing postures, cool-down, final rest, meditation, re-centering, and closing.
Yoga is meant for everyone. All of the movements and cues are an invitation, not an expectation. Depending upon class type and focus, pacing and intensity will vary. You are welcome to come as you are as a student and approach this practice with an open mind.
Can I do yoga?
*I have injuries, no experience, I’m not flexible, I’m not strong, I don’t know the poses, I don’t meditate, I’m not vegan, I’m not a yogi…*
YES! Of course!
The only way to begin anything new, embrace different perspective, challenge, grow, learn… is to take the first step! Yoga is here to help us adapt to life, build strength and flexibility, tune into our needs and take the necessary steps for a healthy and happy life. A curiosity is all that you need to practice yoga. The physical postures are not the goal here- let’s focus on that 60-90 minutes caring for yourself in the way that suits you in that moment.
Any time in class is an opportunity to just sit back and watch, or cuddle up in child’s pose. Yoga is here for you, not the other way around. Modify between a workout, a nap, or something in between- you can take the space and time to tend to those needs.
Is yoga religious? Spiritual?
What’s up with the Sanskrit words?
Yoga is a lot of things not typically visible in the Western cultural expression of “yoga”. It is an 8-limbed path, lifestyle, or philosophy developed by the Vedic people in Ancient India around 1700-600 BCE. Maharishi Patanjali recorded these practices in the Yoga Sutra around 200-500 CE. While Buddhism and Hinduism most commonly incorporate yogic practices into their religion, yoga itself is a personal journey of mental and physical disciplines. The physical postures and movements that we perform today developed as stretches to prepare the increasingly sedentary body for meditation. The Sanskrit names for these poses, often emulating nature and animals present in India, have been carried on in the practice of asana. Hatha yoga as we know it today is closest to the foundation of modern yoga. Styles such as vinyasa, Ashtanga, Yin, restorative, and various other forms of yoga are relatively new practices that have inadvertently westernized and diluted yoga heavily of tradition over the past few centuries.
It is a radical practice to carry on this ancient lineage and history, preserve the integrity of yoga’s history, and fight for justice in the modern world in the name of yoga. You are invited to bring in any cultural, spiritual, or religious practices into your relationship with yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and wellness, as long as the roots and reverence for yoga’s origins are given the gratitude and respect that they deserve.