|How do I find your building and where do I park?|
We are located on Rt. 83, North Main Street, in East Longmeadow, MA. It is a low brick office building called the "264 North Main Street Condo East"building, with a huge sign that only says that! It does not say "Heartsong Yoga" anywhere until you enter the building. There is a large lower parking lot for our guests, and come in the side door and right up the circular stairs. If you have any physical restrictions, park in the top lot, and come right in the front door. (We are located on the top floor of the building.)
How do I choose my first yoga class?
A good idea is to read the class descriptions on line, to get a sense of what we offer. Here are a few guidelines:
Are you looking for a slower paced class or relaxation, stress reduction, and a way to ease your way into movement? Kripalu Gentle/Beginner Yoga is a great way to start, along with our Women Only class, or choose Chair Yoga for extra support.
Looking to flow and be more active or athletic:
If you want a more physical or vigorous style of yoga, choose from our traditional Ashtanga Yoga classes or any of the Flow classes on the schedule. Be prepared to sweat, the room will be heated but not super hot. (75 to 85 degrees)
Email to request more information, and to help us to guide you to the perfect class for your first visit.
How is Yoga different from stretching or other kinds of fitness?
Unlike stretching or fitness, yoga is more than just physical postures. Even within the physical practice, yoga is unique because we connect the movement of the body and the fluctuations of the mind to the rhythm of our breath. Connecting the mind, body, and breath helps us to direct our attention inward. Through this process of inward attention, we learn to recognize our habitual thought patterns without labeling them, judging them, or trying to change them. We become more aware of our experiences from moment to moment. The awareness that we cultivate is what makes yoga a practice, rather than a task or a goal to be completed. Your body will most likely become much more flexible by doing yoga, and so will your mind.
How many times per week should I practice?
Yoga is amazing — even if you only practice one class a week, you will experience the benefits of the practice. If you can do more than that, you will certainly experience more benefits. Don't let time constraints or unrealistic goals be an obstacle, come when you can, and don't worry about it. You can come to different classes and different days, whatever fits your life. You will likely find that after awhile your desire to practice expands naturally and you will find yourself wanting to practice more often.
What do I need to bring with me?
We provide eye pillows, blankets for relaxation, meditation cushions, and straps and blocks for classes that use them. We also have a limited number of yoga mats for students to use for their first few visits, but over time it is a good idea for students to own their own yoga mats.
What do I wear to a yoga class?
You probably have a comfy pair of stretchy pants to wear to class, and for most of our classes you would choose a tee shirt, and maybe another layer for comfort, especially when seasons are changing. In our Ashtanga, Flow, or heated classes, it is good to have a more form fitting athletic style of clothing, stretchy leggings and a tank or fitted tee. We are barefoot in yoga classes. Guys can wear compression shorts under shorts, or other athletic style pants. For hot yoga classes, wear a tank or lightweight athletic jersey.
I'm not flexible, can I do yoga?
Yes! You are a perfect candidate for yoga. Come as you are and you will find that yoga practice will help you become more flexible. This new found agility will be balanced by strength, coordination, and enhanced cardiovascular health, as well as a sense of physical confidence and overall well-being.
What are some of the other health benefits of yoga practice?
Yoga has numerous benefits to physical and mental health. Regular yoga practice can help address back pain caused by tight muscles or poor posture. Yoga practice has also been linked to lower blood pressure, stress reduction, and a stronger immune system. If you have questions about a specific health condition, please speak to your instructor before each class as you meet new teachers. Listen to your body, and never force or strain during your practice.
Is Yoga a Religion?
Yoga is not a religion. It is a philosophy that began in India an estimated 5,000 years ago. Ancient yoga scriptures provide a framework for spiritual growth and mastery over the physical and mental body. Yoga sometimes interweaves other philosophies such as Hinduism or Buddhism, and often brings in poetry or uplifting readings from wise spiritual leaders and teachers from around the globe. It is not necessary to surrender your own religious beliefs to practice yoga.
Do I have to chant?
You will probably be invited to share the sound of Om before or after class. Om is a mantra, or vibration, that is said to be the "sound of the universe." Somehow the ancient yogis knew what scientists today are telling us, that the entire universe is moving. Nothing is ever solid or still. Everything that exists pulsates, creating a rhythmic vibration that the ancient yogis acknowledged with the sound of Om. You are welcome to just listen, or join in. Our Ashtanga classes typically begin with an "invocation" that is in the language of Sanskrit, (the language of yoga, poetry and prayer) that simply means "thank you!"
When should I eat, before or after class?
Eat lightly or not at all before class. This is because of the folding, twisting and bending of the practice, a full belly does not feel good when we do yoga! If you are a person with a fast-acting digestive system and are afraid you might get hungry or feel weak during yoga class, experiment with a light snack such as yogurt, a few nuts, or juice about 30 minutes to an hour before class.
What about water?
Please bring your own water bottle, we encourage students to use a re-usable bottle and drink filtered water from the tap, not to purchase commercial plastic water bottles! Come fully hydrated to an Ashtanga yoga class, as it is suggested that you refrain from drinking water during the class.
What time should I get to class?
Be on time. Arrive ten minutes before class begins. If you come to class late, please quietly settle in. Keep quiet conversations before class to a minimum. If you have to leave early, stay in the back of the room during the class, and tell your instructor before class that you are planning to leave early.
Do you have classes for kids?
There are no childcare facilities at Heartsong Yoga, as the classes are designed for adults. We have had some wonderful younger students who come with their parents, please speak with us before bringing them to class. Children are invited to only attend our special Family Yoga classes held on the first and third Sunday of each month, or join our Brain Break Yoga for Boys, Girls or Teens offered seasonally.
Some more yoga "etiquette"
This is a No Cell Phones Zone For the privacy of all our students, and the chance to un plug...turn OFF your cell phone before coming to class. (Remember, vibrate still makes noise!) (Emergency at home? On call for work? Let your teacher know you need to have your phone!)
This is a No Scent Zone We are conscious of our students who have allergies or are sensitive to scents, and do not burn scented candles or incense in classes. Please do not wear scented body products and no perfumes. Remember "clean has no smell!"
If you are a brand new student, come early! If you have to leave early, let your teacher know before class starts.
If you use a studio mat make sure that you spray it down and wipe it dry after your use. If you are taking hot classes and tend to sweat, it is just good sense to purchase your own mat!
Here is an great article called Yoga doesn't care..."
Click Here to learn more!