About Yoga

"Yoga is not a religion. It is a science; science of well-being, science of youthfulness, science of integrating body, mind and soul."
—Amit Ray

Yoga represents an ancient body of practices that were developed in India over hundreds of years. Artifacts depicting yoga postures have been found in India which date back to 3,000 B.C. or earlier. In Sanskrit, the word yoga derives from “yug” meaning to yoke, referring to the discipline of aligning the mind and body for spiritual goals. Yoga encompasses a variety of practices which may include postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation, mantras, lifestyle changes, philosophy, and/or rituals. The practice of yoga varies widely both in India and the United States. Different yoga styles emphasize different practices and approaches.

At Southern Sky Yoga we take a multi-disciplinary approach to yoga that is not limited to the offerings of any one style.


Benefits of Yoga*

Regular yoga practice can benefit the body and mind in many ways, including:

  • Improved flexibility and range of motion
  • Increased strength and muscle tone
  • Better posture
  • Improved breathing and oxygen intake
  • Improved balance
  • Improved concentration/focus
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced stress
  • Increased fitness

* Source: WebMD.com, MayoClinic.com


Yoga Pose References

Maybe you're wondering what yoga looks like, or you've been to a class or two but are having a hard time remembering the names of the poses. Our reference documents include stick-figure drawings of the basic poses to help you.

Basic Poses

Sun Salutation Flows


OM? Namaste?—What's that all about?

The word OM has no meaning in the traditional sense. The sound we make when we say OM represents the sound vibration of the Universe. In yoga we often say (or chant) OM aloud at the beginning of class to help participants focus the mind and also to connect with that universal vibration, which in turn connects us to each other and to all creation. If you're a little self-conscious then chanting aloud in a class setting can be a littl off-putting at first. However, like many aspects of yoga, if you keep an open mind and just go with it, you may discover the beauty of this simple yet powerful practice.

Namaste is a salutation that can be used either to greet or bid goodbye to others. Literally, namaste means "I bow to you," and therefore is a term of respect. It is common practice to close a yoga class by placing the hands in prayer position and saying Namaste while bowing. By doing so we acknowledge that those we address are expressions of the Divine and have within them the same Divine potential that all beings share. A popular interpretaion of Namaste among American yogis is: "The light in me acknowledges and honors the light in you."


Is Yoga Right for You?

Have you put off coming to yoga because you think it's only for those thin, flexible people you see online or in the media? The fact is, if you have tight muscles, yoga is just the thing to loosen them up.

The purpose of yoga is not to show off how flexible you are, but rather to become more flexible over time while enjoying the many other health benefits yoga offers. Yoga is a personal practice, a journey that you take only for yourself. And if you think you can't do it because of your limitations, consider the following statement.

“I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”
—Edward Everett Hale

At Southern Sky, yoga isn't about trying to prove that you can stand on your head or bend yourself into interesting shapes. It's about taking that personal journey: discovering where you are and then doing the best you can with what you have as you work toward self-improvement. And, with dedication and patience, improvement will surely come. We strive to maintain a positive, supportive environment where you will feel safe, comfortable and totally at ease as you make your way along that path.

So why not give it a try? If you're new to yoga, consider starting with our All Levels class. Or, if jumping right into a class seems intimidating, our Absolute Beginners Workshop provides you a chance to learn the basics with others who are just getting started. Whichever you choose, don't put it off. Just do it, and start enjoying the benefits of yoga today.

If you are interested in information about yoga for larger bodies, check out this article, 7 Yoga Tips for Plus-Size Yogis.