Real Yoga - Not Watered Down, Not Heated Up
When you open a new yoga studio, people want to know what sets you apart from all the other studios. So I tell them - it is REAL YOGA. Yoga that is rises out of the roots of yoga, yoga that comes from the foundations of yoga. Yoga as it was created, Yoga as it is.
Not watered down - Disclaimers first - in no way is this intended to be a put down to any type of yoga practiced elsewhere. This is just how I (and many others) feel about how yoga has "evolved" in modern culture. There's yoga combined with pilates, yoga trx, yoga barre, yoga this and yoga that. Thats great - if you want a work out. But you lose something when you add something else to the practice. You begin to stray from what was originally yoga. Yoga is a path, a means to your own physical and spiritual progress. It is a path to healing, a path to strengthening, a path to knowing yourself better and finding the divine within. When you combine yoga with a modern American excerisize fad, the focus is no longer on chanting ancient sanskrit text, building internal heat with pranayama, or floating through the air via the bandas. A huge part of yoga, and perhaps the best, is lost. On the opposite end of the spectrum - what is "gentle yoga"? By learning a traditional method such as Iyengar or Hatha by a highly qualified teacher, you will learn proper foundations and alignment without the watering down. You will learn authentic yoga without fear of lack of flexibility, strength, or fear of injury.
Not heated up - Here I stand guilty as charged. I myself am a certified Hot Yoga teacher. For years I practiced one variation or another of hot yoga. I taught it over the years too. I fell for the falsehood that you need a "hot room" to get deep enough into the poses. The heat can trick you into thinking you are working harder and burning more calories, because the heat alters your perception of the intensity of the exercise. Studies now show that you burn no more calories in hot yoga than you do during a brisk walk, and the benefits of a yoga practice are not dependant on the temperature of the room.
"But I love the hot room. I like to sweat". There is something to that feeling of having a nice sweaty practice. However, you don't need the external heat to create that. I learned this lesson during my travels to Mysore, India where I studied Ashtanga Yoga. Yogis there use specific ujjayi pranayama (breath) to build an inner heat, and the practice itself will give you the cleansing and strengthening effects in its purest form -without the external heater running. I no longer teach hot yoga - I know how to teach my students to create their own inner heat, without external stimulation. And last but not least - don't worry, we will never have a cold yoga room for you to pracice in! Monona Yoga's room is always nice and warm, and the heat from your practice as well as those around you will build as you take your journey on the mat.
Real Yoga. Enjoy all that authentic yoga has to offer. Pranayama (breath), Chanting, Auyerveda (lifestyle) and Asana (physical postures) and more. Explore it as you would a new dish or album.
There is so much to learn and experience and enjoy - without watering it down or heating it up.