What IS The Right Yoga Class Level for a Beginner?

So, you are new to yoga, your first time stepping into a studio and haven’t a clue where to begin. No worries because the instructors here at Sunrise, who are all certified and staff are quite knowledgeable in answering questions and leading you in the right direction. After all, the last thing you want to happen is you becoming injured. Class descriptions for all of our class offerings are available to assist you in making the appropriate selection. The following classes are considered appropriate for students who are brand new to yoga: Chair Yoga, Gentle Yoga, All Levels Yoga, Back Care Yoga, Restorative Yoga, or Level 1 Yoga. It is imperative that you inform your instructor of any medical issues, concerns or recent injuries. This will enable them to make modifications for you while you are getting the most out of the yoga class.

Here at Sunrise Yoga, new students and those who have not practiced in years can be at ease. If you are in the process of considering yoga classes, know that you are welcome to join the Sunrise Yoga family. Namaste.

Yoga During Pregnancy

We have received inquires about whether it is safe and if Sunrise Yoga teaches yoga for pregnant women. Pregnant students are welcome to attend our Level 1 Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Chair Yoga, All Levels, and Back Care classes. All our teachers are well trained to work with pregnant students, therefore, it is safe. All of our teachers are trained in working with various student concerns. For all health issues, please speak with your physician before your first class to receive his/her approval. We are able to work with many types of students, and some of our classes are specially designed for students with limitations and concerns. Please notify your instructor prior to class about your concerns.

Yoga Poses for Back Health

This series of four poses is designed to support spinal health and relieve back pain through yoga.

Pelvic Tilts

1. Come to lie in your back with the knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor.

2. Do 5-10 Pelvic Tilts to warm up the spine.


Supported Bridge Pose

1. Have a yoga block nearby.

2. Press into the soles of the feet to lift the hips. Slide a yoga block under your sacrum, coming into Supported Bridge.

3. This should be a comfortable resting position that you may want to hold for several minutes.

4. To come out, press into the feet the lift the sacrum off the block, slide the block out, and slowly lower your back on to the floor.



Reclined Big-Toe Pose – Supta Padangusthasana

1. Have a yoga strap nearby.

2. Release your left leg flat on the floor (you may keep it bent with the sole on the floor if this is more comfortable) as you draw the right knee in to your chest.

3. Loop the strap over your right foot and straighten the leg coming in to Reclined Big Toe Pose – Supta Padangusthasana.

4. Repeat on the other leg.



Supine Spinal Twist – Supta Matsyendrasana

1. Lift your hips slightly off the floor and shift them about an inch to your right.

2. Bring your right knee into your chest and extend the left leg on the floor.

3. Drop your right knee over to the left side of your body, coming in to Supine Spinal Twist – Supta Matsyendrasana.


Instructor Highlight featuring Jessie Rymarchyk


Sunrise Yoga has amazing, caring and gifted instructors. Attention is given to each student as they give instruction. This post will highlight Jessie Rymarchyk. Jessie grew up in a small suburb of Syracuse, New York and attended SUNY Cobleskill, Cornell University, and SUNY Dehli where she received degrees in Animal Science and Veterinary Technology. Since 2000 she has been employed full time in the field of veterinary medicine as a licensed and registered veterinary technician. Shortly after starting her vet tech career, she began practicing yoga.

She has graduated from the Sunrise Yoga Teacher Training program as a 500-hour Certified Yoga Teacher.

Jessie’s interest in teaching has grown as she has deepened her own practice. Yoga has benefited her in ways both expected and unintended. This has inspired Jessie to share her experience with others by encouraging them to begin and helping them to enhance their own yoga practice. In addition, Jessie has started her own business that promotes a holistic lifestyle called Hippie Chick Goods, LLC. She makes natural products that include soaps, lotions, salt and sugar scrubs.

Experience Jessie’s Level 1 Yoga class Monday mornings from 10:00-11:30 am. Come by the studio so you get to know her!

Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis

Iyengar Yoga has proven to be extremely beneficial for patients living with Multiple Sclerosis. There are poses that help with challenges such as fatigue, constipation, problems with digestion, lack of mental clarity, or balance. Balance, for example, can be addressed with asanas such as Tadasana (Mountain Pose), Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose I) and Virabhadrasana II (Warrior Pose II), and Trikonasana (Triangle Pose). To counter limitations, such as fatigue and heat intolerance, students learn to master the breath and practice restorative postures. Both techniques cool the body and calm the nervous system. The simple breathing technique of lengthening the exhalation a little longer than the inhalation helps quiet the nervous system. It’ has been observed that heat, stress, and tension can cause temporary worsening of MS symptoms, so keep the pace of practice relaxed but focused— keeping the body just shy of sweating is important.

MS can also result in a daily battle with numbness of the arms and legs, muscle spasms, and loss of coordination. The system of yoga emphasizes stretching and breathing, which can release tension and improve circulation and body awareness. Yoga can also facilitate harmony between the muscular and nervous systems of the body, possibly resulting in more fluid movement and relief from muscle tension.

Finally, in addition to evolving body awareness, yoga, tailored according to your needs, increases flexibility and balance. The poses increase the range of motion in the joints and improve muscle tone, and work of most of the body’’s muscle groups.

International Yoga Day – sequence for your practice

Hi – this is Valerie writing today.  On Tuesday, June 21, 2016 we celebrated International Yoga Day.  All the classes I taught were based on a sequence proposed by the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) and the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States (IYNAUS).   Here is the information excerpted from an email from IYNAUS:

“For those of you who would like to take up the suggestion of following a forward extending sequence suitable for early and intermediate level students, we offer the following sequence as an option. Please use any modifications you are familiar with that are suitable to your condition.

  • Adho Mukha Virasana
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Uttanasana
  • [If you have a regular practice of inverted poses, add those here.]
  • Paschimottanasana, feet apart
  • Janu Sirsasana
  • Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana
  • Marichyasana I twisting
  • Marichyasana I forward bending
  • Paschimottanasana feet together
  • Upavistha Konasana
  • Bharadvajasana I
  • Marichyasana III
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana I
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Supta Baddha Konasana
  • Savasana”

Sunrise Yoga Teacher Highlight featuring Karen Hoglund

Sunrise Yoga has amazing, caring and gifted instructors. Attention is given to each student as they give instruction. This post will highlight Karen Hoglund. Karen (RYT500) became a student of yoga in 1999, eventually receiving her 330-hour yoga teacher training certificate from Triad Yoga Institute in 2004 and her 500-hour certificate from Triad Yoga’s Vidya program in 2008. She continues to attend workshops from many amazing teachers who provide inspiration for her classes. Karen’s own challenges with her back (scoliosis) has taught her how important good alignment is and how wonderful yoga can be to strengthening the body while reducing pain. She is also very inspired by music and ancient traditions so her flow classes often have playlists geared to the sequence, sprinkled in with the occasional myth, and hopefully designed to bring a little peace into our lives.

Come experience classes with Karen Saturday mornings at 9:00-10:30 am for Level 2 Flow Yoga and 11:00 am-12:30 pm for Back Care Yoga. One may be able to have the ultimate pleasure of taking special meditation classes with Karen. Keep a lookout for when those are scheduled on our monthly calendars. Namaste.

Healing Meditation Technique for Beginners

From Deepak Chopra

The purpose of meditation is the tune in to find peace within that spiritual traditions talk about that passes all understanding.

First of all, the most important thing is sit comfortably on the sofa without slouching. Do not lie down as you may fall asleep. Don’t cross your legs, keep your hands open, and be comfortable.

Repeat to yourself loudly the two words, ‘I am. I am. I am. I am.’

Now you can close your eyes and you can whisper those two words to yourself, ‘I am. I am. I am.’

What will happen is that you’ll have other thoughts. You might feel sensations in your body. You might hear sounds in your environment. Whenever you become conscious of that then go back to repeating ‘I am’, mentally, without moving your lips and your tongue for about five to ten minutes.

Now let’s assume you’ve done that for five minutes. Keep your eyes closed, and bring your awareness into your heart, right in the middle of the chest. With all of your awareness try to see, sense, feel your heartbeat. See if you can sense your heartbeat either as a sound or a sensation.

Now that you’re experiencing your heartbeat as a sound or a sensation, bring your awareness to your fingertips, to your hands. Bring your awareness into your fingertips. You can open you eyes and peek for a second and then go back with your eyes closed. Feel your heartbeat in your fingertips. If you feel that, you’ve just diverted blood flow to your hands. This is one of the fastest ways to relieve a migraine headache.

Now bring your awareness back into your heart and just mentally repeat the four words:  Peace. Harmony. Laughter. Love.

Do that for two minutes and now move your awareness anywhere in your body that you want to bring healing to. You don’t have to visualize anything, you don’t have to say anything, just bring your awareness. Just bringing awareness to these different parts of your body will bring consciousness, which is healing.

Finally, come back to your heart and, again, those four words: Peace. Harmony. Laughter. Love. Remember those are the goals of all the other goals in our life, whatever we want, ultimately that’s what we want. So repeat: Peace. Harmony. Laughter. Love.

Now keep your awareness in your heart and just for one minute, experience gratitude. You experience gratitude by thinking of all the things you’re already grateful for. The more you experience gratitude, the more you’ll attract things in your life that will make you feel even more grateful. Do that for a few seconds, relax into your body, and open your eyes. This is a healing meditation.

Reflections for this Memorial Weekend

As we move into the unofficial start of Summer, let us take time to remember the those men and women who sacrificed their lives for this country. Let’s think about the families who are remembering and reflecting on memories shared with those they have lost. Now, hold on close to those near you, love your people and be safe. Namaste.

New to Yoga? Questions Asked and Answered

What IS Yoga? -The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as “union” or a method of discipline. The Indian sage Patanjali is believed to have collated the practice of yoga into the Yoga Sutra an estimated 2,000 years ago. The Sutra is a collection of 195 statements that serves as a philosophical guidebook for most of the yoga that is practiced today. It also outlines eight limbs of yoga: the yamas (restraints), niyamas (observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyani (meditation), and samadhi (absorption). As we explore these eight limbs, we begin by refining our behavior in the outer world, and then we focus inwardly until we reach samadhi (liberation, enlightenment).  Most people practicing yoga are engaged in the third limb, asana, which is a program of physical postures designed to provide the physical strength and stamina required for long periods of meditation.

What Does Om Mean? – Om is a mantra, or vibration, that is traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of yoga sessions. It is said to be the sound of the universe. What does that mean? 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. Chanting Om allows us to recognize our experience as a reflection of how the whole universe moves—the setting sun, the rising moon, the ebb and flow of the tides, the beating of our hearts.

How Many Times A Week Should One Practice Yoga? – Even if you only practice for one hour a week, you will experience the benefits of the practice. If you can do more than that, you will certainly experience more benefits. I suggest starting with two or three times a week, for an hour or an hour and a half each time.

How Is Yoga Different From Stretching or Other Kinds of Fitness? – Unlike stretching or fitness, yoga is more than just physical postures. It 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. 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.

Is Yoga a Religion? – Yoga is not a religion. It sometimes interweaves other philosophies such as Hinduism or Buddhism, but it is not necessary to study those paths in order to practice or study yoga. It is also not necessary to surrender your own religious beliefs to practice yoga.

I’m Not Flexible—Can I Do Yoga? – Yes! You are a perfect candidate for yoga. Many people think that they need to be flexible to begin yoga, but that’s a little bit like thinking that you need to be able to play tennis in order to take tennis lessons. Come as you are and you will find that yoga practice will help you become more flexible. This newfound agility will be balanced by strength, coordination, and enhanced cardiovascular health, as well as a sense of physical confidence and overall well-being.

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