To lead others through the asanas of yoga and to share with them the greater truth of the eight-fold path. To encourage others to approach their practice with an attitude of reverence and gratitude. To promote a daily practice that unifies body, mind, spirit and allows for patient development of all aspects of each person’s individual path.
Eight Limb Path
Yama - Five ethical guidelines:
- Ahimsa = non-violence
- Satya = truth
- Asteya = non-stealing
- Brahmacharya = transforming a vital force to a spiritual level
- Aparigraha = greedlessness
Niyama - Five, including:
- Saucha = purity
- Santosha = contentment
- Tapas = self-discipline
- Svadhyaya = self-study
- Isvara-pranidhana = surrender [to God]
Asana: physical exercises that people usually associate with yoga. These powerful postures are designed to give our bodies strength, flexibility and energy. They also contribute to the deep sense of relaxation that is necessary in order to lovingly meditate on the Absolute.
Pranayama: breathing exercises that produce vitality, overall health and inner calm.
Pratyahara: detachment from the ever-present fluctuations of life. Through this practice, we can transcend all the trials and sufferings that life often seems to throw our way and begin to see such challenges in a positive and healing light. (This is sort of the opposite of multi-tasking.)
Dharana: the practice of powerful and focused concentration.
Dhyana: meditation, designed to still the agitations of the mind and open the heart to healing love.
Samadhi: This is blissful absorption of one's individual consciousness in the essence of the greater Universe. In this state, the yogi experiences the direct presence of the Absolute in his or her life at all times. The result of Samadhi is peace, bliss and happiness without end. Briefly it is sometimes translated as Enlightenment.
Hot Yoga Barkan Method
Begins with pranayama breathing and sun salutations to stimulate the prana through the body and warm up from the inside out. There will be standing postures followed by floor postures. The class lasts 90 minutes. About an hour standing and half-an-hour of floor postures. The session ends with another breathing exercise and finally savasana. Some times there will be a reading during savasana. Sometimes we om. Music is typically not played during the standing portion of the class but sometimes will be quietly played during the floor or savasana.
This is a moving meditation of different styles of yoga flowing into long sequences of standing asanas, inversions, arm balances. There are two time formats for this class -- 75 minutes, and 90 minutes. Standing vinyasa lasts for about one hour in both formats; floor postures follow standing and are 15 minutes or 30 minutes respectively. The class ends with savasana and often a reading. This class is accompanied by music.
Room Temperature Yoga
Taught in the Barkan method but without the heat, this class is abbreviated to one hour format. Class begins with pranayama and sun salutations. Standing postures are followed by a brief presentation of a few floor postures and savasana. Usually no music.
This is a gentle yoga vinyasa. One hour. Suitable for fit beginners. Quiet music. Modifications shown. All levels welcome.
Benefits of Hot Yoga
- Your body burns fat more effectively, fat may be redistributed and burned as energy during the class. It is common to lose centimeters of shape in a very short time.
- The heat produces a fluid-like stretch allowing for greater range of movement in joints, muscles, ligaments and other supporting structures of the body
- Capillaries dilate in the heat; more effectively oxygenating the tissues, muscles, glands and organs and helping in the removal of waste products
- Your peripheral circulation improves due to enhanced perfusion of your extremities
- Your metabolism speeds up the breakdown of glucose and fatty acids
- You benefit from a strengthening of willpower, self control, concentration and determination in this challenging environment
- Your cardiovascular system gets a thorough workout
- Your muscles and connective tissue become more elastic and allow for greater flexibility with less chance of injury and improved resolution of injury
- Sweating promotes detoxification and elimination through the skin - which is the body's largest eliminating organ
- Just as when your body raises its temperature to fight infection, the raised temperature in the room will assist in improving T-cell function and the proper functioning of your immune system
- Your nervous system function is greatly improved and messages are carried more efficiently to and from your brain
- Metabolism improves in your digestive system and in the body's cells (that is food in the gut and nutrients in the cells)
Please arrive five to ten [Martha Gordon Yoga] minutes before class to allow time to set up. When entering the hot studio, please close the door behind you and adjust the snake at the bottom. Sign in immediately upon arrival and drop your fee in the yellow basket. Feel free to chat in the reception area. Please observe meditative quiet in the hot studio. When setting up your mat, be mindful of your neighbor's view of the mirror. Cell phones in the reception room only and please turn them off before class. Make everyone happy by arriving with clean feet and no strong scents. Enjoy your practice.
Respect the teacher, yoga, and tradition. If possible stay in the room throughout the class to achieve maximum benefit and create group energy. Follow the cues and move together. Adapt your practice by modifying the depth of your postures rather than changing the postures. Take responsibility for the thoughts, emotions, and sensations you experience. Change negative energy to positive by saying: "I am challenged by ..." rather than "I can't". Know that the yoga practice is not about the heat, humidity, or teacher -- it's all about you and connecting with your practice. Learn to let go of distractions, have fun, and be a good model for your classmates. Realize your unique abilities.
Observe silence during final savasana. Send loving thoughts to your body.
Zen the mats -- cleaning spray and cloth towel to wipe are provided. Put wet yogi toes in laundry basket.
Be blessed by your practice the rest of the day! Return to your mat for continued blessings!
What to Wear/Bring to Hot Yoga
Bring a water bottle. You will be wet at the end of a hot yoga class. There is one shower available in the studio, so if you're using the shower please be mindful of others waiting. There are private places to change clothes in the studio and you may want to bring a change of clothes. During class you should wear as little as modesty dictates! (I wear lycra shorts and jog top. Guys: Virtu Max (New York City) on-line makes a great hot yoga short pant for men.) I will supply: wash cloth, towel, yoga mat, yogi toe*, plastic bags (useful for taking your wet clothes home or to put on your car seat). Of course, you’re welcome to bring your own mat, towel, etc.
*The yogi toe is a product specifically designed for hot yoga. It prevents sliding on wet mats.
What to Wear/Bring to Room Temperature Yoga
Bring a water bottle and wear something that doesn’t fall over your face when you lean over. I always wear lycra shorts or pants and a close fitting top that doesn’t come away from my body – i.e., lycra– or a jog top. The studio offers free use of mats.
When to Eat
It's best not to eat for a couple hours before class. However, do not restrict your water intake. And if you’re coming to a hot yoga class, be sure to drink 16 ounces of water about two hours before class and again an hour before class. Arrive hydrated to all classes.
Prevention of Dehydration in Hot Yoga Class
The ideal situation is the prevention of dehydration during exercise. To achieve this goal, students must be informed of good hydration practices before they participate in a "hot" Yoga class. The recommendations for hydration before, during, and after exercise are as follows:
- Daily intake of 8-10 glasses of water (8 oz. per glass) for normal activity, not including exercise.
- At least 2 hours prior to exercise, drink 16 oz. of water or fluid without caffeine.
- If possible, determine body weight while hydrated, prior to exercise.
- During exercise, drink frequently and early, before you are actually thirsty. Your goal is to replenish fluids at the same rate you are sweating.
- The maximal rate of replacement is between 20-40 oz. per hour, based on absorption of fluid by the stomach.
- After exercise, evaluate change in body weight. Consume fluids to return to body weight prior to exercise.
Since the environment in a "hot" yoga class increases body fluid loss, the above guidelines become even more important. Of additional concern, caffeinated beverages such as coffee, many teas, and sodas will increase fluid loss by increasing urinary output. Wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages cause fluid loss as well. Students who drink beverages with caffeine or alcohol need to consume equal amounts of water (in addition to the daily recommendation of 8-10 glasses) to avoid dehydration.