There are many misconceptions about yoga: you have to be flexible, you have to be trendy, you have to be spiritual, etc. The truth is there are more than 20 different styles of yoga, and New Jersey has a wonderful array of studios and even more encouraging teachers to guide novices and seasoned students along their way.
“Yoga is ‘too something’ for everyone,” says Jillian Pransky, director of restorative training for YogaWorks, who also leads a weekly class Monday mornings at Van Vleck House & Gardens in Montclair. “People need to know their personality type. Yoga is worth trying several times.”
At the Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, people can try different yoga styles on for size. “Yoga is a way for people to get to know themselves. It works on many different levels,” says Deborah Metzger, the center’s director and founder. She says for some people it’s the day of the week that works for them, for others it is the style. “I think of flavors of ice cream — chocolate, vanilla or swirl.”
Benefits of yoga
Yoga is not only a way to bring balance to your life, but also a way to complement your current workout. Pransky has always been an athlete and even ran a marathon. She also taught aerobics and personal training. On top of all her physical endeavors, she had a high-stress job she loved working as a marketing manager for a publishing company when she saw a sign for yoga at a local studio. For a change, she took a class and then started taking classes every day.
“I was seeing (yoga) change people’s lives,” Pransky says. “The main crux of yoga is that it allows people to feel more grounded. It allows people to feel strong and relaxed at the same time. I don’t know anyone who can’t benefit from that.” She says sometimes fitness and exercise can wind people up and accelerate the feeling of “I need to get this done.” In their daily lives, people are encouraged to succeed, while nothing encourages people to relax.
Metzger also says we learn to override what the body needs while yoga teaches you to pay attention to your body. “The body will speak to you,” she says. “It wants to be in balance. It will whisper at you at first, then it will shout at you. Pain symptoms are telling you something is wrong. It’s not about ‘no pain, no gain,’ it’s about having some nourishing time to ourselves.”
Learn more on the benefits of yoga and how to find a studio that is right for you in the spring issue of New Jersey Countryside Magazine, available now at bookstores, on newsstands and by subscription. Click here to get one free bonus issue and save more than 80% on a subscription.