Frequently Asked Questions


What is yoga?

The best way to describe yoga is that it is a way of life. The yoga we are most familiar with in the West is called “Hatha Yoga,” or the “yoga of movement.” However, there are seven other yogic pathways, all of which deal primarily with the spiritual, emotional, and mental realms. Yoga originated in India over 5,000 years ago. The word “yoga” means “union,” which, simply put, refers to the union of mind, body, and spirit. All of the eight yogic paths have this union as their goal.

What is Pilates?

Pilates is an innovative and safe system of mind-body exercise performed on a mat or on a variety of equipment. It evolved from the principles of Joseph Pilates and can dramatically transform the way your body looks, feels, and performs. It emphasizes alignment, breathing, developing a strong core, and improving coordination and balance. The exercises are easily modified for practitioners at any level from absolute beginner to the more advanced.

Do I have to be fit or flexible to practice yoga?

Nope and nope. Castro Valley Yoga offers classes for all ages and for all levels of fitness and flexibility. Secondly, yoga is NOT a competitive sport! Instead, yoga helps us to look at our bodies and ourselves from the inside out. Our studio has no mirrors. We encourage you to avoid comparing yourself to the student next to you. Yoga is experiential—it is not a performance art. So, whoever you are, however old you are, however long it has been since you stretched or moved, yoga is for YOU!

Do I need any yoga experience to attend a class?

Nope. Prior experience is not needed. However, we recommend beginning in Yoga Foundations or a class specified as “All Levels.” If you have injuries, we recommend informing the instructor before class, so he or she can provide you with the best and safest instruction.

Can I eat before class?

It is best to avoid eating for about an hour before class, though a very light snack may be fine if you are hungry or on a special diet. We recommend staying hydrated before and after class.

I have a previous injury. Can I still practice yoga?

Yes! If you experience back or neck pain, repetitive stress injuries (for example, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome), arthritis, bursitis, you may find benefit in a regular yoga practice. We encourage your to tell the instructor at the beginning of class about your unique health circumstances, so you receive individualized modifications where needed.

Should I consult my health care provider before beginning a new exercise program?

If you suffer from any severe or unusual medical conditions (such as heart disease, high blood pressure, a previous head/neurological injury, a high-risk pregnancy, etc.), it is your responsibility to get permission from your health care provider/physician before embarking on any new exercise program. Please inform your instructor of any and all individual health concerns before class.

What should I wear/bring to class?

We recommend everyone be prepared to practice in bare feet. This is the traditional (and safest) way to practice. We have cubbies in the lobby to secure your shoes and socks, and cubbies in the studio are for your personal belongings. We recommend bringing your own yoga mat (we have mats for rent at the studio as well). The mats are designed to minimize slipping or sliding in the various poses. You do not need to buy expensive or fancy yoga outfits to enjoy the benefits of a regular yoga practice. You will be most comfortable in stretchy clothing. You may wish to dress in layers, so you can modify your level of warmth/coolness easily.

How do I check in?

We suggest that you arrive 10-15 minutes before class begins to get settled and centered on your mat. If you have time before you arrive, click on our schedule, which will connect you to MindBody for pre-registration. If you do not yet have an account, follow the steps to create one, and then register for the class you wish to attend. If you are unable to register online before your first visit, please arrive 15 minutes before class begins to complete registration and waiver forms. For more information, please refer to our Studio Etiquette.

Is yoga a religion?

Yes and No. Yoga emerged from the Hindu tradition; however, practicing Hatha Yoga does not require any religious affiliation. Yoga promotes healthy and mindful living, including movement, diet, meditation, breath work, and a set of ethical principles (such as non-violence, and self-restraint, for example).

Does CVY do Hot Yoga?

Most of our classes range between 72 and 74 degrees; however, the vinyasa classes are heated to 76 degrees. Because warm bodies are able to move into poses with more ease, not only does a warmer temperature facilitate opening for the muscles and tissues, but it also helps to prevent injury. We recommend dressing in layers to help moderate your body temperature and comfort. 




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