What is Yoga? Yoga is a profound system of holistic health which originated in India over 5,000 years ago. It was first put into written form as the Yoga Sutras. The author was Patanjali (pronounced pa-tan-jaw-lee). Patanjali defined yoga as having eight limbs or branches. It is the third limb “asana” (pronounced as-an-a), which refers to postures or Yoga poses that most Westerners perceive as Yoga. The study of asana and physical culture is called Hatha Yoga (pronounced hut-ha with the “th” aspirated). There are possibly more people doing Hatha Yoga now in the state of California than in the entire country of India.
Is Yoga a Religion?
Millions of people of varying religious beliefs practice yoga and find that it enhances their spiritual life. Millions of others view it strictly as physical exercise and an aid to mindfulness. Many scholars of yoga and religion say it is a non-sectarian practice. Anyone and everyone are welcome to practice yoga without any interference with their spiritual and religious beliefs.
I am not flexible, how could I ever practice yoga?
This is one of the most common statements we hear everyday. Believe it or not, every almost every person who starts a yoga practice is not able to touch their toes or do a backbend. It takes a consistent practice to become flexible. The more you practice the more flexible you become. It’s always such a delight to hear a student say, “I actually touched my toes today”. It happens all the time.
Do I have to tie myself in a knot to do Yoga?
Certainly not. The goal of Yoga, according to the Yoga Sutras, is liberation (kaivalya), not to do the head stand or the lotus pose. Everyone begins at their own level and takes class at their own pace: No knots required. The Yoga poses that you use should be selected to fit your individual needs based on your physical and mental condition, as well as your age.
Is Yoga safe?
In most cases yes. However, if you select the wrong level of difficulty in a large group class, and have some physical limitations, you could run into some problems. It is important to let your teacher know if you are a new student, and always practice within your body’s ability.
How often should I go to a Yoga class?
Ideally, at least two or three times per week. Many find this helps keep life on track and build slow, steady progress; and many people get really motivated byYoga and come everyday. It depends on the individual and his or her needs. What do you wear to a Yoga class? There is a wide variety of clothing worn in Yoga classes, depending on how physical the class is and the temperature of the room. Women often wear yoga pants, shorts, sweats, tank tops, t-shirts, and a sports bra,.. Men often wear shorts (sport brands), sweats, tank tops, and t-shirts. However, Yoga clothing, like that of other fitness classes, is also a personal expression and about personal comfort.
Learn more about Do’s and Don’ts for New Students