Photograph by ShayPhotography >> Hair and make up by Jennifer Bolen of Halo Salon >> Accessories - Mala bead bracelet by Peg's Hardware

ABOUT YOGA...

YOGA: A school of Indian philosophy accepted as a science and practical method of self-discovery.

HATHA YOGA: Ha = Sun, Tha = Moon, Yoga = Union. Hatha Yoga translates as the practice of uniting the sun and moon, or balancing opposites within us. This terminology symbolizes the union of body, breath and mind.

There are no prerequisites for beginning a practice as yoga has the potential to adapt to your individual needs and abilities. In practicing yoga, take care to understand your body and respect its limits with an intuitive sense of patience. Make a commitment to begin at the beginning, and work from where you are. Allow a comfortable challenge, but don't push beyond your body's limitations or you may be exposed to injury. If you feel pain, stop and modify the posture or movement to a form that feels right for you. Yoga can only be effective if practiced properly, but when done so, can deliver amazing results! Remember that yoga aims to quiet the mind as you move the body, so allow the breath to guide you toward an internal concentration which is free from judgement, comparisons, and competition. Although yoga is often practiced in a group setting, it is an intensely personal experience that over time will allow you to know yourself in a deeper way.

With Lauren, students of varying levels are free to grow and explore in a nurturing and supportive environment while continually challenging themselves to rise to a greater state of balance. While the goals of yoga practice are endless, students will immediately notice increased physical strength and flexibility, less pain, and deeper mental stability. You will enjoy the balanced energetic force of a truly integrated body and mind.

SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF YOGA INCLUDE:

• Stress relief
• Postural improvements
• Reduction in muscle tension
• Improved muscle strength and tone
• Increased joint flexibility
• Increased range of motion
• Improved physical balance and coordination
• Replenished endurance/ energy
• Cleansing and nourishing of tissues through increased respiration and circulation
• Nervous system regulation/ restoration of emotional balance
• Relaxation and rejuvenation
• Improved self-awareness/sensitivity
• Improved concentration/ mental clarity
• Promotion of restful sleep
• You will learn to love and understand your own body, listening to what it needs. You will discover your strengths and accept your areas of resistance without fear or avoidance. With heightened sensitivity and awareness, you will progressively grow and gain confidence in all areas of life.

A YOGA CLASS IS OFTEN MADE UP OF THESE THREE PARTS:
ASANA  Asana means posture. Asanas cleanse, stretch and strengthen the body. Asanas can be very therapeutic in terms of relieving pain, stress, anxiety, and bringing a sense of balance and harmony to the various parts and systems of the body. Until the external body is soft, balanced, and pain-free, the mind has difficulty resting.

PRANAYAMA  Prana is the essential life force or vital energy that exists in all things, it is comparable to the Chinese notion of Qi or the Japanese understanding of Reiki. We receive prana from food, water, sunlight, and breath. In yoga practice prana is the energy which flows through the body, most subtly identified in the movement of the breath. Pranayama is the practice of working with and controlling or guiding the breath. By breathing consciously and bringing fresh oxygen into the body, we nourish ourselves and replenish lost energy. With each deep exhalation, waste, toxins, fatigue and negativity are expelled more effectively.

RELAXATION / MEDITATION  All aspects of yoga work together for complete mind/body union. Relaxation not only allows the body to assimilate the benefits of the postures, but tones the mind as well. In a relaxation or meditation we take time to move away from the senses and external stimulation. By focusing on the movement of the breath, or a gentle sound deep within the mind, we can separate ourselves from overwhelming thought patterns. Once we strip away the distractions, worries, fears and stresses that often consume our waking mind, we are able to find an inner peace and radiance. We realize that we are more than our roles in life, more than our bodies, more than our wants, desires, hopes, and fears. At our core we are whole, true, and perfect. Once that divine light is discovered within oneself, it is recognized in all, consequently altering not only how we view ourselves, but also how we view the world around us.