All-Levels Vinyasa Flow
First & Third Friday at 10:00 AM
in the Parish Hall
All are welcome – no sign-up or pre-registration necessary!
Teacher: Rev. Sarah Napoline – (email)
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“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience;
we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
— attributed to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.
We live in a divided and divisive world. Yoga reunites us with harmony.
- When we are at work or school or counting seconds while washing our hands, we are using our minds. It is whirring away cognitively, neurons firing & processing.
- When we are at the gym, or running to catch the bus, or playing pickleball, we are using our bodies. The nerves, joints, muscles of our physical body are active.
- When we are at church, or meditating, or witnessing a sunset, we are using our hearts and our spiritual awareness. We find ourselves face to face with transcendence, wonder, mystery, and a deep sense of connection and peace.
We have divided our minds, bodies, and hearts into different categories of experience, when we are, in fact, having one united experience.
The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘yuj’, meaning ‘to yoke’ or to connect, balance, or unite. Yoga is a mind-body-spirit practice that unites us in holistic wellness. Our mind is attentive to our movements and sequences, our bodies are engaged with challenging poses and alignment, and then we very intentionally link our breath – our life force, our energy, the breath of God – to our movements. And at the end of a class, we lie or sit in deep meditation, which is the true purpose of the physical asana practice: to prepare us to surrender in search of tranquility and peace.
The practice of yoga helps us find harmony and union within ourselves. It strengthens and tones our bodies, calms our minds, energizes our spirits. Yoga changed my life. I’m honored for the opportunity to teach, and to share this path with you as a fellow student and seeker on the journey.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of yoga is taught at First Parish?
The classes are typically an all levels hatha/vinyasa yoga flow class that covers the basics, with options to modify toward an advanced practice. Vinyasa yoga flow means that we move through the postures at a mindful pace, linking our breath with movement. The class will be about an hour long and include stretching, strengthening, balance, and relaxation/meditation. You’ll leave feeling refreshed and renewed.
Who teaches the classes?
Rev. Sarah Napoline is our Assistant Minister for Families & Community Outreach, and she has completed a formal yoga teacher training program following the rigorous requirements for certification set by the Yoga Alliance. Her training included over 200 hours of instruction on techniques, asana (poses), meditation; anatomy & physiology; history, philosophy & ethics; and professional practicum (practice teaching). Sarah took her first yoga class in college, but really developed a serious practice a little over four years ago. Prior to the pandemic, she was attending warm vinyasa classes 4-6 times per week at her local studio.
What do I need to bring?
We don’t yet have a full stash of mats/props/etc, so please bring your own yoga mat. If you don’t have a “yoga” mat but do have an exercise mat, stretching mat, etc., please bring that; the most important factors for a mat are cushioning and non-slip. In addition to a mat, please bring a bottle of water and a small hand towel for wiping your face/hands. If you have yoga blocks, stretching belts/straps, or other props, feel free to bring them (don’t worry if you don’t have any). And most importantly, bring an open mind and some patience! Just come as you are.
What should I wear?
You don’t need special or expensive clothing to do yoga! It doesn’t really matter what you wear as long as it is comfortable, isn’t too loose (it’s dangerous if your feet get caught/tangled), and it can stretch with you as you stretch and move your body through its full range of motion. Basically, you should feel comfortable, not self-conscious.
What if I haven’t done yoga before and don’t know the moves?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you! Everyone starts somewhere. We go through the postures carefully with demonstrations and verbal cues to help with alignment. And remember — no one is perfect. Not a single yoga master learned the poses perfectly the first time they stepped on the mat, and EVERYONE is still learning.
I have an injury or problem with my back/knee/wrist/etc…
Can I still participate?
Yes, absolutely! Even if you simply sat in class and breathed mindfully for an hour while other people moved around you, you would be doing some wonderful yoga. Please tell Sarah if you have any acute injuries, health conditions (common examples are pregnancy, back problems, etc.), or other physical issues that she should know about. Feel free to email Sarah beforehand or talk to her prior to class if you have any questions about modifications.
Do I have to sign a waiver?
Yes, we ask that every participant sign an assumption of risk and waiver of liability. You can view the document here. It is a fairly standard waiver for personal trainers & yoga or fitness instructors. If you have any questions or concerns about legal liability, please contact Rev. Sarah.
What public health & Covid precautions will be in place?
We will follow all our Covid policies – Vaccinations are required as well as masks for classes with greater than 8 students. Since yoga focuses on pranayama (breathwork), we will have plenty of ventilation; that means a couple of windows will be open with fans circulating air, so bring cozy socks for savasana! We’ll get moving to warm up our bodies, but layers are strongly recommended; warmth helps loosen your joints, so it’s better to be too warm for yoga than too cold.
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