New to Vinyasa Yoga? Here are Some Things to Consider:

What is a Vinyasa Yoga Class?

  • The word Vinyasa means to place or step carefully. It also means to flow. In a Vinyasa class most of the postures are linked together to form a flowing continuous movement from one pose to the next.
  • Vinyasa classes often start with a few Sun Salutations to awaken and warm your muscles and begin to link your movements and breath.
  • Downward Facing Dog or Child's Pose are often used as resting postures.
  • From Downward Facing Dog there is often an opportunity to "take a Vinyasa". This usually means to come forward to a High Push Up, lower down into a Low Push Up, inhale into Upward Facing Dog or Cobra and exhale back into Downward Facing Dog.
  • There are many variations and modifications to make Vinyasa classes accessible for everyone. However, if you have any physical limitations, please check with one of our Vinyasa teachers to see if this type of class is right for you.

What to Wear to a Vinyasa Class

There are specific yoga clothes that make practicing more comfortable. These clothes tend to be more form fitting than baggy, they should also be lightweight and stretchable. You may already have some work-out clothes in your closet that are fine. You don't need to go out and buy a new outfit, but it is nice to know what other people are wearing so you don't feel out of place.

Make sure whatever you are wearing doesn't have any buttons, zippers or snaps that can get in the way if you lie, sit or kneel on them.
Here's an example of what people wear:

What do I need to know about attending a Vinyasa Yoga Class?

  • ARRIVE to class about 5 – 10 minutes early so you can get settled on your mat before class begins.
  • SHOES: Yoga is performed in bare feet. Please take off your shoes and socks (socks are too slippery) before you enter the yoga studio and place them on the rack in the hallway outside of the studios. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that the studio is a sacred space. It is a space where you leave your worldly concerns outside and you step into the present moment of here and now. Removing your shoes is symbolic of this separation. The other is more practical; you simply don't want to track dirt into the room where we spend some of our time lying or kneeling with our hands and our faces near or on the floor.
  • YOGA MAT: You can either bring your own yoga mat or feel welcome to use one of the mats in the studio. We do not charge for the use of our mats. If you decide that you like yoga and want to continue, then you should have your own mat. Popular brands, that you can find online include: Jade, Manduka and Gaiam. These mats usually cost about $50 or more and are usually well cushioned and sticky enough that you don't slide on them. You can find cheaper mats at Target, Marshalls, Whole Foods, K-Mart or even a "Dollar" store. These less price-y mats may be less cushioned and a little slippery, but they can help you to "hug-in", a skill that is important in many poses. Please be sure to avoid super-thick, cushioned mats. These are not recommended for Vinyasa classes as they are not sufficiently stable for standing poses and are hard on your wrists when the hands are weight-bearing. We have kneeling pads and blankets if you need to pad any sensitive areas.
  • SWEAT: You might like to bring along a hand towel if you tend to perspire. Vinyasa yoga rooms are usually kept between 72 and 80 degrees, depending on the teacher. While everyone's definition of comfortable room temperature is different, the room in which you practice yoga in should not be too cool. Muscles relax and stretch more easily when the ambient room temperature is warm. Sweating is one of the ways the body detoxifies, so don't be afraid to do it! Remember that Vinyasa classes generally give you more of a work out.
  • WATER: It is not necessary to bring water to class. If you do bring water, make sure the bottle or container can be closed so it won't spill if knocked over. It is a good idea to hydrate right after class, especially if you sweat. The café in the club sells bottled water and many types of beverages - including coconut water - which is extremely refreshing and hydrating after your yoga practice. The club has a free water dispenser in the lower (gym) level. Bring your own water bottle to fill up.
  • PERSONAL BELONGINGS: In general, please leave your personal belongings outside of the studio. You can stash your non-valuable stuff in the hallway lockers, which don't lock. For valuables, lock-able lockers, which work like a hotel safe, are located in the locker rooms. Directions on their use are posted on the locker room walls.
  • AN OPEN MIND: Because Vinyasa classes do not have a set series of postures, each class is different and each teacher has his or her own personality and technique. Keep an open mind and adopt the technique of the teacher whose class you are in. You will be guaranteed to learn something new from each one.
  • FOOD: It is recommended that you practice yoga on an empty stomach. This usually means that you should allow about 4 hours after a large meal and 2 hours after a smaller meal. The amount of time after you've eaten does not need to be that precise, but in general, you will have a better workout if you are a little bit hungry. Because exercising infuses the muscles with blood. It diverts your blood and energy from other bodily functions like digesting food. Having undigested food in your stomach during your yoga practice can make you feel sluggish, bloated or even nauseous. Use this caution as a guideline and pay attention to your body. Everyone is different and some people have special dietary needs. If you do need to eat something before class, choose something light like a yogurt or a piece of fruit.

What to Expect During Class

  • Classes vary from an hour to an hour and a half in length.
  • Some teachers may choose to chant at the beginning and end of class. Chanting Om is a popular way to start class. Om is said to be the sound of the vibration of the universe. By chanting this sound together we start class by literally vibrating at the same frequency. Some people don't feel comfortable chanting. It is perfectly fine to listen and not participate in the chant.
  • The first few minutes of any class are for getting centered and coming into our breath. This is followed by some warming up movements and stretches. Sun Salutes may be performed at the beginning of class to warm the muscles, lubricate the joints and get the breath flowing. There are no prescribed postures in any class and instructors can vary the sequence as they choose. A sequence may include standing poses, balancing poses, arm balances and inversions, hip openers, abdominal strengtheners, back bends, twists and forward bends.
  • Breathing is an integral part of the practice and your instructor will often cue you when to inhale and exhale when moving into and out of poses. Your breath should also be your guide in your practice. You want to breathe in slow, deep even inhalations and exhalations. If your breath is forced and ragged; you might be trying too hard. If your breath is shallow; your mind might be wandering away from your practice.
  • Classes always end with 5 to 10 minutes in Savasana, or final relaxation. This is where you lie still on the floor with your eyes closed. This resting posture allows the body to absorb the benefits of the practice and to process them. For some people, Savasana is one of the most challenging poses. This is because our society tends to value doing over being. Please make sure you fully round out your yoga experience by staying for Savasana. If you need to leave class early for some reason, please make sure that you do not leave in the middle of Savasana, as this is very disturbing to others.

Looking for where to start?
Our classes are separated into levels. Here are some descriptions to help you choose wisely:

  • Privates: For students with special needs, who want individual attention, or who can't find a class time that works for them. Most instructors offer private sessions. Inquire at the front desk.
  • Foundations: If you are new to yoga you should start with a semi-private or foundation class. This class will cover the basics and give you some idea of what to expect. The pace will be slower and you will be instructed on how to do every pose.
  • Level I: Once you begin to become familiar with the poses, you can step into a Level I class. In these classes, the instructor will still explain how to do every pose and its modifications, but the poses may start to get linked together and the intensity of the work out will start to increase.
  • Level II and Level III: These classes are for more experienced students. While there is always instruction on how to fine tune your postures, basic placement and alignment should be well internalized by students at this level. If you need an explanation of how to do a pose like Warrior II, this is not the class for you. Level II students are expected to be working on Bridge and Wheel, Head Stand and Shoulder Stand, Hand Stand, Crow and Forearm Balance. Level III students should expect some more challenging postures such as inversions and arm balances and even perhaps an invitation to place your foot behind your head (after being well warmed up, of course)!

How can you tell when you are ready to move into the next level?

  • Generally speaking, you should be able to do about 75% of the class you are in. If you can do less than that, the class is too hard. All of our instructors are highly trained and can accommodate a wide range of abilities in a class. However, if you are in a class that is too difficult, you may be putting yourself through a good deal of frustration, you may risk getting hurt and you might be holding the rest of the class back. Once you can consistently do more than 75% of a class, you can consider moving to the next level.

After Class

  • You are welcome to use our beautiful, state-of-the-art-locker room facilities for showers, changing, securing your valuables, etc.
  • While it is a good idea to be mindful of what you eat and drink at all times, be especially mindful of what you put in your body right after your yoga practice as your body will absorb these nutrients quickly.

Benefits of Vinyasa Yoga

  • Increases Flexibility, Vitality, and Overall Health
  • Improves Balance
  • Relieves Pain and Disease
  • Soothes Arthritis and Back Pain
  • Regulates Thyroid
  • Increases Clarity, Centeredness, and Peace of Mind
  • Decreases Stress
  • Balances Emotions
  • Eases Anxiety and Depression
  • Regulates Breathing
  • Improves Concentration
  • Provides a Sense of Community 

Long Term Benefits of a Yoga Practice:

  • Acclimatization – increased oxygen consumption, increased exercise efficiency, increased muscle efficiency
  • Increased Flexibility
  • Improved T-cell Function
  • Improved Liver Function
  • Greater Willpower
  • Increased Patience
  • A Greater Sense of Equanimity

Who is Vinyasa Yoga for?

Vinyasa Yoga is designed for EVERYONE. No matter your age, size, shape, fitness level, or knowledge of yoga, there is a place for you in our Vinyasa Yoga Program.

To receive the most benefits from yoga, a regular practice of 2-3 classes per week is suggested. Beginners should start trying out 1-2 classes a week and modifying poses as necessary according to the teacher's instruction. Even if you start slow, you'll begin right away to see benefit: clarity of mind, pain relief, and less stress. Keep in mind that it usually takes at least 5 or 6 classes for the body to begin to understand the poses, so stick with it in order to see improvement!

If you'd like an introductory private session with one of our Vinyasa Yoga teachers to familiarize yourself with the practice before taking a group class, contact The Solebury Club.

Who practices Vinyasa Yoga?

Lots of people practice yoga. Probably a lot of people you already know but never would suspect. You can't look at someone and tell if they practice yoga. Young people, old people, men, women, athletes and non-athletes. Many famous celebrities also practice yoga: Lady GaGa, Jon Bon Jovi, Ellen DeGeneres, Dennis Quaid. Among the most well known yoga Celebrities are Sting and his wife Trudie Styler.

"Like music, yoga is a journey -- one that is long enough so you keep developing, and keep learning. I don't see an end to it." - Sting

Yoga for Everyone

  • For Athletes: Yoga helps improve functional strength and range of motion. Regular practice of yoga helps improve concentration and focus. It helps people remain calm under pressure.
  • For Non-Athletes: Yoga helps undo the kinks and strains from sitting at a desk, or behind the wheel of a car.
  • For People with Stress: Yoga helps reduce stress by taxing tensed muscles so they release. Coordinating breath with movement helps release tension and focuses the mind on the present moment in order to, at least temporarily, remove stress from conscious thought. Often after a yoga practice whatever was bothering you seems much more manageable.
  • For People Who Don't See Themselves as Strong: Learning to execute challenging yoga poses builds strength, poise and confidence.
  • For People with Conditions such Arthritis, Scoliosis and Back Pain: Yoga teaches you to move in your pain-free range of motion. The more you move in your pain-free range of motion, the larger that range of motion becomes. You become less afraid to move and more enthusiastic about living your life.
  • For Stiff People: Yoga will help you improve your flexibility. Waiting until you are flexible to start your yoga practice will not improve your flexibility!