Frequently Asked Questions

Please check out some common FAQ’s below.  And take a look at the information on our New Students Start Here page.  If you have other questions, concerns or would like to schedule some time to talk in person, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.  Send an email to [email protected] and we will get back to you asap.

Are there any pre-requisites for taking classes at Bernal Yoga? Do you offer any yoga for beginners?

There are no pre-requisites for our classes, and you are welcome—and encouraged!—to explore any class you wish. However, we do offer some classes and series that are designed for people who are new to yoga, regardless of their fitness background. For instance our Yoga 101 series, which we offer frequently, is a great introduction to the fundamentals of the practice, and will prepare you to deepen and expand it in a multitude of directions.  Yoga Basics, Gentle and Restorative Yoga, and Restorative Yoga are also good classes to try when you are first starting out.

I can’t make it to a Yoga 101 series. Which classes should I come to?

No worries! If you can’t make it to our Yoga 101 series, we have a lot of ongoing weekly classes that are perfect for beginners. They are also great for intermediate/advanced students who are interested in revisiting the basics or introducing a slower, gentler quality to their practice. The following classes are all good choices: Yoga Basics,  Restorative Yoga,  Restorative Flow, and Sunday Renewal.

In general, we encourage our students to explore a wide range of classes and find out which ones best suit your needs and interests. Our New Student Starter Pass ($35 for two weeks of unlimited classes) is a great option for newcomers and will allow you to sample a variety of class styles and instructors.

Do I need to be flexible and/or in good shape to do yoga? What benefits can I expect?

You do not need to be flexible, fit or any particular way to start practicing yoga. Yoga can certainly help you more flexible, stronger and less stresses out. People report experiencing a variety of benefits after practicing yoga; it supports every system in the body (muscular, skeletal, digestive, nervous…you name it!) and many practitioners notice changes after a single class. You may feel less stressed, more centered, and deeply grounded after a single hour of yoga, and with a long-term, regular practices, the benefits accrue exponentially. The practice builds strength, stability, flexibility, and stamina, and can prepare you for (or support you in) other active things that you do. Yoga also includes elements of mindfulness and breath awareness that work wonders in terms of relaxation and stress relief. It can provide you with tools to achieve more peace and well-being in every facet of your life.

What happens in a yoga class?

Although it depends on the style (see our class descriptions), many yoga classes start with a slow, breath-centered warm-up series. Then, the instructor may guide you through a number of carefully-sequenced standing and balancing asanas, or poses, peaking with one or two that are more challenging. He or she may wind down with a few seated and/or reclined positions, and most classes will close with several minutes of savasana, or relaxation pose. It allows your body to integrate the benefits of the practice and emerge centered, calm and refreshed.

Is yoga a religious practice?

The roots of yoga are found in ancient Indian philosophy and religion, and for many people, yoga is a deeply spiritual practice that nourishes their body, mind, and soul. However, many practitioners approach it from a non-spiritual standpoint, relishing its practical elements of fitness and mindfulness. There is no “right” approach. At Bernal Yoga, we are committed to a non-dogmatic environment that is 100% welcoming and affirming. Some classes may contain practices that hearken to the ancient roots of yoga (like chanting or brief readings from foundational texts) but others are totally grounded in contemporary health and wellness theory.

How do I know which class I should take? What’s the difference between all the different types?

There are many styles of yoga, and at Bernal Yoga we are proud to offer a wide variety. If you are new to the practice, you may enjoy some of our slower, gentler classes. For example, Restorative Yoga involves the use of props and supports so you can deeply relax into each pose

If you are interested in a class that moves more fluidly and dynamically, you can explore our Vinyasa and alignment-based classes. Vinyasa Flow classes link breath with movement, and may range in intensity from mellower practices to stronger, more vigorous sequences.   

We also offer a number of classes that aren’t specifically rooted in yoga. For example, our MELT classes incorporate a revolutionary hands-off bodywork technique to reduce inflammation and relieve chronic pain, and our Pilates classes offer a great way to tap into your core and get a good workout.

In general, if you are trying to decide which class to take, we recommend reading our class descriptions; emailing [email protected] and/or calling 415.643.9007; or coming to a class a bit early to chat with the instructor. Above all, remember to listen to—and trust—your body; it’s your best teacher.

Anything else I should know before coming to take a class?

Make sure to read our “Helpful Tips and Things To Know About Taking Classes at Bernal Yoga,” and let us know how we can help you. We love to share our passion for Yoga and Wellness with others.