About the Instructor
Courtney McGuiness is a certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher at the 200 hour level and
is currently working toward her 500 hour professional certification.
Embracing the Kripalu philosophy, Courtney leads classes with warmth and
authenticity, encouraging a deep connection to self, present-moment
awareness, and personal inquiry. A certified Complementary Healthcare
Practitioner, Courtney draws on over 10 years of personal yoga practice,
25 years of dance training, and extensive personal study in the areas
of nutrition, energy healing, and other therapeutic modalities to create
a class experience which is holistic, sacred, creative, and
light-hearted. Her intention is to let the "true teacher" teach,
allowing each individual to find his or her own connection to self and
spirit on the yoga mat and beyond.
In addition to Yoga classes, Courtney also leads dance classes for children and adults, as well as Yoga Booty Ballet and Yoga Trance Dance. Courtney was trained and licensed in Yoga Booty Ballet by its creator, Gillian Clark, and in Yoga Trance Dance by master teacher and pioneer yogini Shiva Rea, both of whom have been long-standing inspirations to Courtney's personal yoga practice.
About Kripalu Yoga
Yoga is often referred to as the "Yoga of Compassion", or the "Yoga of
Life". The Kripalu philosophy is one of individual experience,
compassionate self-acceptance, and inquiry. This style of yoga is much
more than just a physical workout. We explore the 8-limbed path, as
outlined by Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, including asana (postures),
pranayama (breathwork), meditation, and more.
Kripalu Yoga, we move with the breath and take time to experience each
present moment. We seek to develop the "witness consciousness"; an
awareness without attachment, judgment, or alteration.
experience levels will be honored, and all are invited to attend.
Classes will include personal attention and options to modify according
to your physical needs for the day.
A Word About Yoga and Religion
Kripalu Yoga, Joyful Pose Yoga, and Yoga Booty Ballet are in no way intended to be religious experiences. There is no doctrine or God-figure attached to these classes. No student will ever be asked to subscribe to any particular set of religious beliefs in these classes.
That said, Yoga is for many a spiritual experience. The styles of Yoga led by Courtney will offer spiritual connection, generally inviting students to honor their own inner spirit, and if they so choose, their own higher power.
Yoga is rooted in Hindu philosophy. This is not intended to be an experience in Hindu religion. Just as studying Greek mythology does not ask the reader to offer worship to the ancient Greek Gods, the practice of Yoga does not ask the practitioner to worship the ancient Hindu Gods.
Many of the meditation techniques used come to us from Buddhist teachings, and are also not intended to be an experience of Buddhism.
As this is such a sensitive topic for many, Courtney invites an open dialogue about anything that concerns you. Please arrive a few minutes early, or stay a few minutes late, and she will be happy to discuss your concerns in private.
Demystifying the Yoga Class
What does "Yoga" mean?
The word Yoga comes from the word "Yuj", which means "union" or "to yoke" in Sanskrit. Yoga is the union of body, mind, and spirit. In Western culture, yoga is generally focused on the physical aspect, or asana - the postures. In Kripalu tradition, we try to follow the "8-limbed path" of Yoga, which also includes meditation, breathing techniques, and self-inquiry.
The sound of OM is very powerful. It is believed to be the sound of the vibration of the universe. Studies have shown that when the sound of OM is chanted over water, the water molecules arrange themselves into a Yin-Yang formation.
Chanting the sound of OM harmonizes the water element in your own body. The long, drawn-out exhale calms the nervous system. Chanting in a group unifies us as one and brings us together to create safety in our practice.
Chanting OM is always optional.
What is "Namaste"?
The word Namaste is a way in which we can honor the divine nature of others. It is a Sanskrit word that translates roughly into "the spirit of light in me bows to the spirit of light in you."
A slightly different translation is "I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. It is when I am in that space in me and you are in that space in you that we are one."
We offer this acknowledgment to one another at the end of class as a way of sharing our respect for each other. It is a way to honor our own divinity and connection to all people everywhere.
So saying "Namaste" is basically a way of saying "I recognize that you are a sacred being. I am also a sacred being, and so, you are not separate from me." Imagine if we met everyone in life with this sentiment in mind...
Why practice Savasana?
Savasana is the most important part of your asana (yoga pose) practice.
This final relaxation gives your body a chance to rest and integrate the benefits of your practice.
It offers a time for you to do nothing but be, resting in the peace of stillness. If your mind wanders in Savasana, do not be concerned. It is the nature of the mind to wander. Simply try not to attach to these thoughts, and when you notice yourself thinking, invite your awareness to come back to your breath.
Savasana means "Corpse Pose", and so there is nothing to do here. Allow the weight of your body to fall heavily against the earth, feel the sky gently resting down upon you, and let go of anything that you are holding, anything you do not need.
Savasana offers a deep relaxation opportunity for body and mind, a space between sleeping and wakefulness, and has a profound effect on the physiology over time.
A personal note from the instructor:
"Yoga has been a way for me to connect with body, mind, and spirit for over ten years now. I came to the practice hoping to find a physical outlet. What I received was that and so much more. My yoga practice has connected me to my breath, and to my own sense of the Divine, and through regular practice I have been able to overcome challenges with anxiety, perfectionism, and self-limiting beliefs.
It is a great honor to hold space for others to receive their own experience of Yoga, whatever that may be.
My Yoga Booty Ballet classes give a new expression to the practice, igniting Shakti and allowing each individual to express his or her own creative energy while burning calories and building strength. Trance Dance is a way to honor the dancer within and liberate the creative flow of prana. It was a true joy of mine to meet and study with the creators of these two forms of movement, Gillian Clark and Shiva Rea, who each have been an inspiration to my practice.
I invite my students to meet themselves where they are and give themselves permission to experience whatever arises; to challenge themselves and to recognize that sometimes the challenge is to back off and let go. Kripalu Yoga helps to take us out of habitual, programmed ways of being, and into authenticity. It is my wish to offer experiences on the yoga mat that can be taken into daily life."
Courtney McGuiness, CYT200hr