Yoga class allows you to spend time stretching and elongating your muscles while building strength, which is incredible. But, yoga also does even more—helps you to be mindful and to relax. Our talented instructors are there to guide you along the way in yoga class, and this week we are interviewing one of them, Paula Pack.
1 | We are so excited to get to know you, Paula! Could you let everyone know what you do at Chuze Fitness, how long you have worked here, and how you ended up on the team?
At Chuze Fitness, I’ve been teaching yoga for four years now! I started going to Chuze at the Cypress location as a member, took a number of classes daily like Zumba, strengthening, and yoga. In addition to getting my life on a healthy track, I met members who I am still great friends with and became familiar with the staff as well. After becoming certified, I knew that Chuze was the place I wanted to start teaching in. Currently, I am teaching regularly at the Cypress and Fullerton locations but sub over at Westminster, Garden Grove, and Anaheim as well.
2 | What is Vinyasa (or Power yoga) and how is it different from other practices like Hatha?
Vinyasa (or Power yoga) is a style of yoga where postures are put together in a sequence that makes it easy to flow in a faster pace from breath to movement. From their vinyasas, the yogis are able to build up heat within their bodies that allow them to transition into deeper options in their poses safely. It is different than Hatha or Bikram in that instead of holding a pose for several breaths, flow yoga concentrates on the overall movements instead of single asanas (poses).
3 | For those of us who are not flexible, will we be able to keep up in a yoga class?
Yes, absolutely! Many of us have the preconceived notion that we can’t attend a yoga class if we’re not flexible but that is something we need to abandon. We all go to class to grow in our flexibility! Plus, everyone is welcome to take a break, sip water, or even lie down for the rest of class if that’s what their body needs during that practice.
4 | Would someone who has been practicing yoga for years be able to benefit from a class at Chuze?
Yes, even an experienced yogi would still benefit from a class at Chuze because I believe that no matter how many years of experience an individual has in an exercise, there is always room to grow and improve. Even as an instructor, I am always a student first.
5 | What are your three main tips for someone who is new to Yoga?
Listen to your body before any instructions for poses; if a pose is uncomfortable, modifying is always an option too!
Have fun in class and don’t worry about getting a pose “correct.” Yoga practice is a process.
Consistency is the key to growing your practice!
6 | How many times a week should someone practice yoga?
Three times a week is ideal but twice a week for the busybodies work too. Yoga not only increases flexibility but it also builds strength and endurance. Just remember to find the space to dedicate time for yourself.
7 | We know there are a lot of different words and phrases used in yoga that we haven’t heard anywhere else. What are some of the words that we should look out for and what they mean?
“Vinyasa” can be interchangeably used with “chaturanga,” which is a flowing movement from a tricep push-up to an upward facing dog to a downward facing dog.
“Savasana” is the last pose at the end of each class where everyone lies on their backs motionless to rest and reflect. Interestingly this is believed to be the most challenging pose because it is difficult to lie still for a while and not wander around in our thoughts.
“Active breathing” is a phrase I often use in my classes during the core portion. When we go about our day, we are all passively breathing, in other words, “quietly breathing.” However, when we incorporate active breathing, we contract more muscles. When we force out our exhales through our mouths, it allows us to strengthen our core.
“Ujjayi breathing” (pronounced “ooh-jah-EE”) is a breathing technique where yogis breathe in and out through their nose, constricting the backs of their throats, almost creating a Darth Vader-like sound. When you breathe this way, it helps you to create more heat within your body during practice, kind of like firing up a furnace.
8 | What other exercises would you recommend someone add to their fitness routine when practicing yoga?
In addition to practicing yoga, it is vital to add cardio and conditioning to an individual’s fitness routine. For example, whether it is taking a Zumba class to speed up the heart rate or running on an elliptical machine, cardiovascular fitness helps strengthen the cardiac muscles, which in turn supplies oxygen to our muscles. Conditioning classes like Bootcamp or Buns N’ Belly can also build strength in our bodies to help us in sustaining poses like downward facing dog or balancing.
9 | We heard that you have become passionate about physical therapy, how has leading others in Group Exercise helped you discover this passion?
As an instructor, I dedicate a lot of time towards formatting unique sequences for class, so each class is like a new experience. I want the members to look forward to joining the next class, knowing that it won’t be the same as the last one they came to, and ultimately come out feeling better about themselves, mentally and physically. In doing so, I have explored other stretches and movements in addition to the traditional yoga poses and found that I would be able to do this and much more in the health profession of a physical therapist.
10 | Is there anything else that you would like to share with the Chuze Family?
I want to share with everyone to not be intimidated to take any Group X class, even if it’s by yourself because you are there for yourself and the Chuze Family wants you to succeed. Try the class and ask questions because the instructors would love to get to know you and help in any way they can. Abandon the notion that “yoga is not for me” because there are many styles of yoga for every individual.
Want to try yoga? Come into class and see what ya think, or try this sequence for before and after your workout.