About Yoga – Q & A
What IS yoga..?
Yoga is a profound system of holistic health which originated in India over 5,000 years ago. Yoga means “union” and is practiced to find balance between the mind, body and spirit. The beauty of yoga is its ability to bring harmony to all aspects of our being by helping the practitioner to become more mindful of all aspects of one’s life.
What are the benefits of yoga..?
The list is long, but to name just a few…
- Stress release and reduction
- Relief of minor back and neck pain
- Increases energy, vitality, and endurance
- Improves focus, balance, and mental clarity
- Improves circulation, stamina, and flexibility
- Improves muscle tone and strength
- Increases sense of well-being
- Improves quality of sleep
- Heightens intuitive awareness
- Potential for personal and spiritual transformation
Whether for fitness, as a relaxation technique, or as a stepping stone to higher awareness, yoga has the inherent power to make a profound and positive difference in your life.
I’m not flexible… can I do yoga..?
Absolutely! We don’t do yoga because we *are* flexible, but rather to *become* flexible… so you’re a perfect candidate for yoga! In yoga, you come as you are and you will find that your yoga practice will help you become more flexible. Your newfound agility will be balanced by coordination, strength, enhanced cardiovascular health, as well as a sense of physical confidence and overall well-being and peace.
Is yoga a religion..?
Yoga is NOT a religion – rather, it is a philosophy that began in India an estimated 5,000 years ago. It is NOT necessary to surrender your own religious beliefs to practice yoga.
Yoga is unique because we connect the movement of our bodies and the fluctuations of our minds to the rhythm of our breath. By connecting the mind, body, and breath, we are able to direct our attention inward. It is through this process of inward attention that we learn to recognize our habitual thought patterns without labeling them, judging them, or trying to change them, thereby becoming more aware of our experiences from moment to moment. The awareness that we cultivate is what makes yoga a “practice,” rather than a goal or task to complete… it is being in the moment – not worrying about tomorrow or having regrets about the past, and letting go rather than constantly striving for a particular outcome. The joy of the practice IS the journey, not the destination.
Yoga is NON-competitive, so it’s important that while you’re practicing that you let go of a competitive mind-set and do what you can do without judgment or comparison to your fellow student.
How often should I practice..?
Even if you only practice for an hour a week, you will experience the benefits of the practice. Of course, if you are able to do more than that, you will certainly experience more benefits. If your schedule permits, starting with two or three times a week is ideal. After awhile you may find that your desire to practice expands naturally and you will find yourself wanting to practice more frequently.
Wear comfortable clothing that you can bend and move freely in. Clothing such as: yoga pants/tops, leotards, cotton tights, bike shorts, T-shirts or tank tops would be good. (Bulky or overly loose clothing will only get in the way.) Also, if you chill or get hot easily, you may want to consider wearing layers.
If you have long hair, you may want to tie it back so it doesn’t interfere with your practice.
Since we practice with bare feet, no special footwear is necessary. Please arrive clean and fresh ;o)
Is yoga hard to do..?
That depends. There are different types or styles of yoga – some softer and/or more meditative; some are more vigorous. You may find some asanas (poses) challenging, especially if you’re tight or weak in certain areas. However, discomfort or feeling “sensation” is different than pain. Sensation might feel like heat, tingling, tightness, pulling, tugging, coolness, shakiness, etc. Pain that is acute (sharp, shooting), should addressed immediately by backing off of a pose or mindfully coming out of the pose altogether.