Yoga Classes and Programs.
“What I love most about Pat's classes is that she welcomes all abilities and bodies while tailoring the asanas to the individual so that every participant achieves the best practice possible. Her class is often the high point of my week because it focuses my mind and centers my spirit in a way that makes the rest of my life (job, spouse, appliance repairman, etc.) easier to handle. --Caroline, Washington, DC
This class is for beginning to intermediate level students. It will provide 1) asanas (physical postures); 2) pranayama (breathing exercises); 3) mudras (hand poses/gestures of devotion/offering; 4) mantras (word, phrase or hymn with spiritual value); 5) deep relaxation techniques; 6) meditation techniques; and 7) yoga philosophy. Classical Iyengar yoga will be taught in this class, including the classical yoga postures, their Indian Sanskrit names, translations, and the benefits of each posture, as described in Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar. Although the class is given in a group setting, the yoga asanas are modified if/when necessary to meet each individual’s physical needs and/or limitations. At no time will the participants feel too stressed. The majority of the time (45-50 minutes) will be spent on the physical postures, allowing for 10-15 minutes for the relaxation, breathing, and meditation.
Yoga provides simple stretching that even quite elderly people can do without strain or exhaustion. In addition to achieving greater flexibility in the external muscles, Yoga also promotes healthier internal organs, and a relaxed mind. Dr. Dunning also provides deep relaxation, breathing and meditation techniques. The overall benefits are: a very relaxed body, relief from tension, increased emotional control, a peaceful mind, yet very alert, inner strength, harmony, and a sense of well-being.
The average person can benefit from this yoga class, as it has no limit on age or sex. The asanas (postures) are done just enough to begin to feel the stretch in the body. Working slowly from this position you will improve upon this stretch over time. At all times you are prompted to “listen to your body” to determine what you can perform comfortably.
IT REALLY DOES WORK. ALL GAIN AND NO PAIN. You do not have to go through extreme exertion (as in other types of exercises) to get results! In fact, severe exertion, which limits the oxygen supply, causes fatigue, which is why yoga emphasizes slow-motion exercises with appropriate breathing
The fundamental difference between yoga postures and other exercises is that yoga postures oppose violent muscle movements that other exercises emphasize, which cause large quantities of lactic acid in the muscle fibers, thus causing fatigue. Muscular development does not necessarily mean a healthy body. Health is a state when all organs function perfectly under intelligent control of the mind. Rapid movement of the muscles causes a tremendous strain on the heart, whereas in yoga postures, all movements are slow and gradual with proper breathing and relaxation. It has been noted that stretching a muscle before it contracts enables it to contract more forcibly. A stretched muscle can, therefore, perform more work than one only normally relaxed.
Hatha Yoga is the form of yoga that gives first attention to the physical body. The term hatha combines symbols ha and tha which means sun and moon, solar and lunar energy which flows through right and left nostrils down to the base of the spine. The term yoga derived from Sanskrit root “yuj” meaning to bind, join, attach and yoke. It also means union or communion. It is a system of exercise involving what might be called “exercising” both the body and mind to bring them into harmony with each other. This class will focus on Hatha Yoga (the physical postures/asanas), but it will also include pranayama, meditation and deep relaxation.
Yoga postures are important to the endocrine glands, which affect the emotions of the mind, and vice versa. These glands, also known as ductless glands, which pass their secretions directly into the blood or lymph, are the pancreas, thyroid, parathyroid, suprarenal, pituitary, and the gonads. Full growth, differentiation, and function of the various parts of the body are possible only when there is a balanced activity of the internal secretion glands. Their secretions are called hormones, which must be oxidized or excreted after they have exerted their specific effects. If these secretions suffer, pathologic conditions in different parts of the body are rapidly established. Yoga postures restore the internal secretions of these glands to their normality. Yoga also controls our mental emotions such as fear, sorrow, anger, jealousy, hatred, love and envy, which affect our bodies, especially the endocrine system and nervous system, according to their degree of intensity.
Drs. Edmund Jacobson’s method of “Progressive Relaxation” and Schultz’ “Autogenic Training” will be utilized in this class. Progressive relaxation is a technique that achieves deep relaxation through concentration of the various muscles in the body as it progressively relaxes. Autogenic training, as implied, involves self-taught measures for even deeper relaxation. The physical, mental and emotional benefits of deep relaxation, along with the deep breathing results in a very relaxed body, reduced stress, improved concentration, increased emotional control, and a mind at rest. These types of relaxation techniques are often used in biofeedback.
Pranayama is rhythmic control of breath. Prana is the life force/universal energy/vital breath. Pranayama drives away the impurities of the body and the mind. In practicing pranayama, the blood receives a larger supply of oxygen than in normal breathing, which builds up and replenishes all parts of the body and helps to avoid high blood pressure, heart diseases, asthma, tuberculosis, etc. In addition to physical benefits, through pranayama, one’s will power, self-control, and concentration is increased so one feels refreshed and the nerves are calmed and purified. The mind becomes still, lucid, fit for concentration and meditation.
The meditation techniques will include concentration on building positive thoughts and feelings, while in the deep relaxed state. This class will include sound meditation, breath meditation, and quiet meditation. Sound has been found to have a tremendous impact on our mental, physical, and spiritual well-being, such as decreased stress/anxiety and lower blood pressure.
*Consult your doctor before starting Yoga, especially if you suffer from heart
conditions, hypertension, or other serious illnesses. If you have back pain or
other serious injuries, get a diagnosis from your doctor and get their okay
before embarking on your Yoga journey.