The Yoga Center of Huntsville was founded 15 years ago by Tom & Melissa Musgrove. The Huntsville Yoga Center is host to many different styles of Yoga including; Hatha, Vinyasa, Restorative, Iyengar method, and children’s yoga. We also offer mat Pilates classes and workshops for further exploration in mind-body practices. Our students range from beginners to advanced practitioners, from the curious to the devoted. Come join us!

 

Yoga is one of the six fundamental systems of Indian thought. It is the oldest documented system of personal development, inclusive of the body, mind and spirit. Yoga practice forms a ladder to perfect knowledge through eight stages: self-control (yama), religious observance (niyama), postures (asana), regulation of the breath (pranayama), restraint of the senses (pratyahara), steadying of the mind (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and profound contemplation (samadhi). Achieving samadhi liberates the self from the illusions of sense and the contradictions of reason, leading to an inner illumination.

In the sixth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna explains the meaning of Yoga as a deliverance from contact with pain and sorrow. It is said:

When his mind, intellect and self are under control, freed from restless desire, so that they rest in the spirit within, a man becomes one in communion with God. A lamp does not flicker in a place where no winds blow; so it is with a yogi, who controls his mind, intellect and self, being absorbed in the spirit within him. When the restlessness of the mind, intellect and self is stilled through the practice of Yoga, the yogi by the grace of the Spirit within himself finds fulfillment. Then he knows the joy eternal that is beyond the pale of the senses, which his reason cannot grasp. He abides in this reality and moves not therefrom. He has found the treasure above all others. There is nothing higher than this. He who has achieved it, shall not be moved by the greatest sorrow. This is the real meaning of Yoga --a deliverance from contact with pain and sorrow.
Imagine an exercise program that you look forward to, that engages you, and that leaves you refreshed and alert with a feeling of physical and mental well being. The Pilates Method (pronounced puh-LAH-teez) of body conditioning will do all this… and more.

Developed in the 1920s by the legendary physical trainer, Joseph H. Pilates, the Pilates Method is an exercise system focused on improving flexibility and strength for the total body without building bulk. Not surprisingly, some of the first people to use the Pilates Method were dancers such as Martha Graham and George Balanchine.

The basic principles of Pilates conditioning are to make people more aware of their bodies as single integrated units, to improve alignment and breathing, and to increase efficiency of movement. The Pilates Method works many of the deeper muscles together, improving coordination and balance, to achieve efficient and graceful movement.

Unlike other exercise programs, the Pilates Method does not require mindless repetition. The method consists of a sequence of carefully performed movements: some carried out on specially designed equipment. Each exercise is designed to stretch and strengthen the muscles involved, opening the joints and releasing tension. The Pilates Method includes specific breathing patterns for each exercise to assist in directing energy to specific areas while relaxing others.

Yoga is an excellent preparation for labor and birth. It is also a great way to get back into shape after birth. One of the reasons for this lies in yoga’s approach. To experience yoga you need to be fully involved. The attention of the mind and the awareness of the breath are added to the movements of the body.

The physical positions of yoga are called poses or postures, not exercises. The work pose expresses a feeling of moving into stillness. In Yoga the body is eased into alignment with the awareness of the breath. The pose is then held quietly until the mind and body are one. Performing yoga poses with awareness creates a state of calmness. When a pregnant women feels inner clarity, her confidence grows. When she feels peaceful, her anxiety concerning the birth process decreases. The mind becomes involved in the body movements.

The focus allows the pregnant women to tune out distracting forces around her during labor and to respond appropriately to the contractions. This ability to focus takes practice. Yoga provides a way to refine the movements of the body. When first performing the poses, you may feel slightly awkward and stiff. Continue to do the same poses and perform them at any pace you are comfortable. After practicing them over and over again, the body will stretch, adapt and gradually move into alignment. As you get to know your own body through practicing yoga poses, you will be confronted with your physical strengths and weaknesses. This is a valuable training, for labor is a very physical process. As you feel the growth of your baby within, you need also to experience your own inner growth. Therefore yoga is not a type of exercise to be learned. It is an approach to be understood. The Yoga way is a calm, mindful way and will help you adjust to the physical demands of labor, birth and motherhood.