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• It is a courtesy to the instructor and other students if you are able to arrive a few minutes early to set up.
• Be sure to leave your outside shoes at the entrance where others students are leaving them. Yoga is traditionally performed barefoot
• Leave cell phones and beepers out side of studio, or turn them off.
• If you are new, be sure to introduce yourself to the teacher and let them know how much experience you have, and if you have any injuries, or illness.
• Please do not use perfume as others may have chemical sensitivity.
• Do not talk to others once you enter the studio. We try to maintain a meditative atmosphere while practicing yoga.
• Do not look around and watch other students. Keep your attention on yourself, and/or the teacher. Know that the other students are giving you the same privacy.
• Do not compete with or compare yourself to other students or the teacher.
• Ask for help at any time from the teacher during class.
• Above all, please be respectful and considerate of the other students in class and extend the same courtesy to yourself.
Suggestions for Practicing Hatha Yoga
• As with any exercise program, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor prior to participating.
• If you are pregnant, or have serious physical limitations, please call Charles at (512) 459-2267 prior to attending class.
• Practice on an empty stomach (at least 1-2 hours after a light meal).
• Try to avoid caffeine or nicotine for at least 1 hour prior to attending class.
• Wear comfortable clothing that does not limit movement, or cut circulation.
• If practicing barefoot is a problem for you, you may bring socks (which may not provide you with the traction you need) or yoga footwear for use in the studio.
• Blankets are provided at the studios where I teach, but if you have your own sticky mat, please bring that to class. If you do not have a sticky mat do not worry about it – a mat will be provided for you at no cost.
HOW DO I FIND THE RIGHT TEACHER?
Ask friends who are in similar physical shape as yourself for recommendations. Call around to teachers and ask them to describe their class, or a typical student to you (average age, condition etc.) Do not tell them what you are looking for. Let them tell you what they offer. Check out web-pages if teachers have them. Ask to sit in on a class. Make sure you feel comfortable with the teacher before taking a class with them. Do not stay with the first teacher you try unless you absolutely love them and their class. Otherwise, I would suggest that you try several different teachers, talk to students after class and get recommendations from them, and then choose the class that best meets your needs. Do not be afraid to talk to a teacher after class to explain that the class does not meet your present needs and that you are looking for something easier or harder and ask them for a recommmendation. If you live in Texas, you can visit our on-line yoga teacher directory at: http://www.texasyoga.com
Any Advice for Students?
- Be Here Now! Discard all thoughts of past and future before practicing Yoga, they are dangerous distractions;
- Do not compare your self to others, or even to your own past performances, or future expectations – Such thoughts distract from present awareness, and tempt you to exceed your present capacity;
- Learn to explore your present capacity, making it an enjoyable game. If you are not enjoying a pose you are probably trying too hard. If your face is tense you are trying too hard. If your breathing is not smooth, soft and diaphragmatic you are trying too hard. If any part of your body is shaking, you are trying too hard. If any part of your body not required to hold a particular pose is tense, you are trying too hard!
- Once you have mastered the art of relaxation and enjoyment, then it is time to re-introduce the concept of effort and learn how to strive joyfully.
What Kind of Students Attend your Class?
Charles’ classes draw a wide range of students. Most are between 25-90 years old, although he occasionally has mature kids and teens attending his adult classes. Almost half of his students are men. Experience levels range from first time students, to yoga teachers. Fitness levels range from seasoned athletes, to students suffering from injury or illness. It is not uncommon to see a 12 year old practicing next to a senior, a student with MS, new to yoga, working alongside a veteran student of 20 years. Charles works hard to keep students focused on their own practice and helps students adapt their practice to better meet their needs and abilities.
What style of yoga do you teach?
There are dozens of styles of Hatha Yoga, and Charles does not favor any one above the rest. Instead, what is important is finding a good match between your needs and abilities, and the right style of yoga for you at this time in your life.
Charles’ style is eclectic. Having studied yoga and meditation for over 40 years, with dozens of teachers from a variety of styles, Charles draws from all of these traditions, both in his personal practice and in his teaching. In his teaching helps students to focus their full attention where it needs to be, on the inner mind/body conversation, and tries to keep them safe, while they are still learning that inner language of the body.
Charles likes to make sure students first learn to be comfortable in their feminine energy, relaxing, and enjoying the yoga. Only then does he begin to introduce the masculine energy to balance the practice. He draws on the alignment of Iyengar Yoga, the well balanced approach to lesson planning of the Himalayan Tradition, and occasionally slips in a little Ashtanga Yoga, but mostly he teaches from his personal practice of 40 years.
Above all, Charles is known for addressing the mind, the breath, and the body during class, and for weaving philosophy, psychology, and humor together with a deeply spiritual respect for the tradition of Yoga, while embracing the best of western innovation and creativity.
What is Hatha Yoga?
The type of yoga most often practiced in the West, especially in yoga studios, is called Hatha Yoga and refers to the physical practices that most Westerners associate with yoga. In Sanskrit, the ancient language from the Indus Valley civilization that gave birth to yoga, and is the mother of all the romance languages, including English, Ha translates as ‘Sun’, Tha as ‘Moon’ and Yoga as ‘yoke’ or harness, merge, or balance, depending upon the translation. Thus Hatha Yoga can be translated as harnessing the sun and the moon, where the sun represents masculine and the moon, feminine.
Hatha Yoga taps into the reciprocal feedback responses linking mind and body. By changing our posture we can affect consciousness, and by directing our thoughts appropriately, we can enhance our physical practice. Thus our physical practice becomes meditation. Although Hatha Yoga was originally designed to help healthy people higher states of physical and mental well being, it has been found to help with a surprisingly large variety of illnesses and conditions.
What is Yoga?
There are many styles of yoga, but they all have one thing in common – they share the same goal. Whether your yoga is a physical practice, chanting, meditation, service, or devotion, the goal is union with the divine. Yoga does not tell us what the divine is, but allows us to define it as we feel moved, even if that is to not define it at all and content ourselves with thinking of the divine as a mystery.
Yoga is the original psychology. But where modern psychology, until very recently, chose to focus almost exclusively on understanding and treating disease, yoga concerned itself with understanding and helping normal people achieve higher states of consciousness.