862 Route 6, Mahopac, NY 10541   
(between Kidz Country and Arturo's)   
tel : 845.803.8389   


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FAQs

[1] What is yoga?

[2] What is Vinyasa?

[3] What if I'm not flexible?

[4] What if I'm out of shape?

[5] Do I need past experience to take class?

[6] How do I know what level is right for me?

[7] Is yoga a religion or a cult?

[8] Can men do yoga?

[9] I have a question not covered here


[1] What is yoga?

Yoga is a vast and complex phenomena that means different things to different people and its meaning has changed as the discipline has crossed oceans and evolved over time. Originating in classical India, millennia ago, the word "yoga" comes from the Sanskrit root yoj which means "to unite," or "to yoke together," and yoga could be said to translate to "union."

In the West, "yoga" usually refers to Hatha Yoga, the physical practices and postures intended to increase health, strength and flexibility. Hatha Yoga aims for the union of the mind, body and spirit. In ages past, the physical practices of yoga were minimal, and intended primarily to assist meditation (or were concerned with the specific poses for meditation). Over the past 500 years, Hatha Yoga has evolved into a vast and rich art and science through which millions have come to deeper relationship with their bodies, and thereby to greater health. Hatha Yoga is only one small part of the massive body of knowledge and practices that can be called yoga.

Teachers at Liberation also draw on other branches of yoga from time to time, introducing concepts from Raja Yoga (the 8 limbed path of self-mastery), Jnana Yoga (the yoga of knowledge or philosophy), Bhakti Yoga (the yoga of devotion), and others. Please see our Resources and Links page for links to articles on the various forms that yoga can take.




[2] What is Vinyasa?

Vinyasa, the style of Hatha Yoga offered at Liberation Yoga, uses movement to transition between postures and increase heat and circulation in the body, and links the postures with the breath. Attention to the breath in Vinyasa makes it not only an incredible low-impact workout, but also a sort of moving meditation that reduces stress and relaxes and rejuvenates the mind as well as the muscles.




[3] What if I'm not flexible?

That's ok! You can still benefit from class. We all start with a fantastic amount of flexibility as children, but as we age and repeat the same motions and postures (sitting at a desk, walking a certain way, poor posture, lifting heavy objects, etc.), our body changes, and muscles contract and harden. Flexibility is the ultimate example of "use it or lose it" - unfortunately, we do not use most of our body's range of mobility. So, if you're not flexible right now, you're not alone. However, flexibility can absolutely be restored through a regular yoga practice, and probably more quickly than you think.




[4] What if I'm out of shape?

We all start exactly where we are today. It's important to recognize that it can't be anywhere but where we are today, and to refrain from comparison with others. Yoga is about building a better relationship with our own bodies, and learning what we are capable of - what others are capable of has little to do with it. In some ways, even though you may be in a room with 10 other yogis practicing under the same teacher, there are 10 different classes going on. Each person is working on something different in each posture, and has a different experience in the pose. If, for instance, if you start out with little upper body strength, and have difficulty holding an arm-balancing pose for 10 seconds, in that 10 seconds that you do hold it, you're getting just as much benefit as another student that can hold the pose for 30 seconds. You are both building strength and endurance, working at your own edge. Furthermore, a yoga practice is meant to evolve. 10 seconds quickly becomes 20, and then 30. The important thing is to try, and to do so without judgment. This is not a team sport, or a competitive activity in which we have to worry about other people's expectations. Your yoga is yours alone, and Liberation Yoga is just here to assist you.




[5] Do I need past experience to take class?

Absolutely not. Barring any physical disabilities (see below) that would prevent you from practicing, we have classes for every level. Please see our Class Descriptions page for information on the different types of classes.

Keep in mind that some days, even the most advanced yogis have difficulty getting into a posture, or holding it for very long. What makes someone an advanced yogi is not that they can twist themselves into a pretzel, but that they can recognize their own limits on any given day and honor them.




[6] How do I know what level is right for me?

See our Class Descriptions page page for a list of the classes offered at Liberation. For new students, we recommend starting with Gentle or Vinyasa Level 1, until you are familiar with the postures, their names, and gain some proficiency in the postures before moving on to Vinyasa Level 2. If you've been taking yoga classes for some time, you may enjoy our Vinyasa Level 3 classes. How long you stick with a level depends on you, your body and your goals. If you're interested in attending a new level of class, feel free to ask one of our teachers. However, every level of yoga class is open to anyone who would like to attend, but please be sure to honor your level.




[7] Is yoga a religion or a cult?

No, although yoga teachings are sometimes part of both. Yoga is primarily a philosophy, a way of looking at the world, and not a religion. Many Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, as well as Hindus practice yoga. Yoga, like science, is based on observation of our world, not upon faith, although in some forms of devotional yoga practiced in India, faith does play a part. Science as we know it and the Enlightenment-Era thinking that produced it may have originated in the West, but science cannot any longer be said to belong exclusively to its regions of origin. Similarly, although Yoga came out of a specifically Indian Hindu tradition, it is universal, and the birthright of all humanity.

Regarding the spiritual side of yoga, it is not necessary to believe in any particular way to gain the benefits of an asana practice, or even a meditation practice. Some of the spiritual techniques that come out of the yogic tradition are very powerful and useful to some people, but how much or little you would like to incorporate them into your yoga practice is entirely a personal choice. While Liberation Yoga draws upon some of the more spiritual aspects of traditional yoga, we treat each person's path as the sole judge of the appropriateness of any individual practice or idea. We believe that healthy skepticism, keen intellect, openness of attitude, and generous humor are better tools for life than any individual dogma.




[8] Can men do yoga?

Absolutely. Actually, for millennia, yoga was considered exclusively the province of men. It is only in the past century or so that women have been permitted to participate at all.




[9] I have a question not covered here

Email us and we'll try to answer any questions you may have.