Sandy Gola has been practicing yoga since 1998 and starts a new class on alternating Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.: Yoga All Levels. The first class is Tuesday, Jan. 29.

What does yoga mean to you?

In my experience yoga is so much more than a physical practice. Yet it is different for each individual and we each experience yoga differently at times and during the various circumstances in our lives. 

No one person’s experience is better or worse than the other, just as no one grain of sand is better or worse than another. All are welcome in my Yoga All Levels class. With my classes I share my experience of yoga through creatively sequenced and guided Vinyasa flows, asanas, breath work, sound and relaxation. 

How did you get started with Yoga?

I started doing yoga in 1998 because of an injury. At the time I was teaching several high impact aerobic classes per week and my shins were really feeling it. I took time off from fitness teaching and searched for something else I could do with no impact.  

How do you structure your class?

The creation happens because of the students. I structure my classes according to the needs of the participants on any given day. So you will find the class works perfectly for you because your presence in the class co-creates the content of the class. Please come for the experience! 

What got you hooked?
I came across some Vinyasa Yoga videos by Bryan Kest. I started practicing with them every day and shortly after I attended a yoga workshop with Paula Tepedino, held in western NJ. I noticed a black and white one-page flyer there for Raji Thron and he was teaching right near me in Montclair at Starseed. I didn’t know anything about yoga schools but he seemed to be offering something quite similar to the videos I was using. He became my main teacher and I went through teacher training with him in 2006. 

 What’s one of your favorite poses and why?
Well, who doesn’t like a good Shavasana? There’s a trick question that goes, “what’s the most difficult yoga pose?” And the answer is “Shavasana,” because it’s not that easy for most people to let go and just be. 

 What makes a private studio different/better than a yoga class at the gym?
It’s easier to have a peaceful vibe and ambiance at a dedicated yoga studio. You can feel the owner’s intention and energy in setting up the studio and the intentions and energy of all the people practicing there. It may have a more coherent purpose than in a gym, where there are a lot of other activities performed. I don’t have anything against gyms though. I’ve been teaching at my Y for many years and there are a lot of things I love about it. 

For someone who’s never tried yoga before, what are the main benefits they may gain from practicing it?

New practitioners transitioning to seasoned practitioners have reported to me of a renewed sense of peace, an ability to better handle life’s ups and downs, greater balance, flexibility, and a sense of strength that comes from within.