What Is Yoga ?
Yoga is a mind and body practice with historical origins in ancient Indian philosophy. Various styles of yoga combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation.In 5,000 years of yoga history, the term “yoga” has gone through a renaissance in current culture, exchanging the loincloth for a leotard and leggings.Yoga has become popular as a form of physical exercise based upon asanas (physical poses) to promote improved control of mind and body and to enhance well-being.
Yoga is done in bare feet on a yoga mat. Even the most basic yoga stretches require clothes that can stretch or move, so wear the most comfortable outfit that allows you to move around easily. If you’re doing a gentle, slower class then dress warm (sweat pants, long sleeve shirt) and if it’s a more rigorous class wear shorts and a t-shirt or a tank top. Teachers will often suggest that you leave your ego at the door, and that includes not being self-conscious about the clothes you are wearing. Wear what makes you feel good.
Some classes use additional equipment or props, such as straps, blocks, bolsters, blankets and chairs. You don’t need to purchase any of these to begin doing yoga. If you’re going to attend a class at a studio they will provide everything that you need. However, if you’re doing a class online you will need a yoga mat and you will want to check to see whether additional equipment is needed. If it is, there are easy ways to replace common yoga props. For example, you can use a belt or rope instead of a strap. If a bolster is needed, The teachers on DoYogaWithMe frequently recommend alternatives for those who don’t own the prop that is required in that particular class.
If you’re going to purchase anything, you should buy a yoga mat. Most studios provide mats for free or rental, but they are often cheaper plastic mats and you will likely feel better on a mat that you chose yourself. Mats come in all sizes and materials so it’s good to educate yourself, particularly if you’re looking for something non-toxic and supportive on joints such as knees and wrists. The variety can be overwhelming so, where we review a few of the most popular yoga mats that can be easily purchased online.
History Of Yoga
There is no written record of the inventor of yoga. Yogis (yoga practitioners) practiced yoga long before any written account of it came into existence. Yogis over the millennia passed down the discipline to their students, and many different schools of yoga developed as the practice widened in global reach and popularity.The postures that are now practiced in yoga classes were not originally a dominant component of yoga traditions in India. Fitness was not traditionally a chief aim of the practice.
Sanskrit, the Indo-European language of the Vedas, India’s ancient religious texts, gave birth to both the literature and the technique of yoga.The “Yoga Sutra,” a 2,000-year-old treatise on yogic philosophy by the Indian sage Patanjali is a type of guidebook that gives guidance on how to gain mastery over the mind and emotions and advice on spiritual growth, providing the framework upon which all yoga practiced today is based. The Yoga Sutra is the earliest written record of yoga and one of the oldest texts in existence.
The Sanskrit word “yoga” has several translations and can be interpreted in many ways. Many translations point toward translations of “to yoke,” “join,” or “concentrate” – essentially a means to unite or a method of discipline. A male who practices this discipline is called a yogi or yogin and a female practitioner is called a yogini.
The postures that are now an integral part of health and fitness in many centers around the world were not originally a dominant component of yoga traditions in India. Fitness was not a chief aim of practice; focus was placed on other practices like pranayama (expansion of the vital energy by means of breath), dharana (focus, or placement of the mental faculty), and nada (sound).Yoga began to gain popularity in the West at the end of the 19th century, with an explosion of interest in postural yoga in the 1920s and 1930s, first in India and later in the West.
How do I know if yoga is for me?
Yoga is accessible for everyone, no matter what you look like, how old you are, how you dress, how much you weigh, what you do for a living, where you live or what religion you practice. Yoga is in no way exclusive. It’s possible that you have a certain condition or a recent injury that makes it challenging or dangerous to do certain types of yoga, specific poses or breathing techniques, but there will likely be safe alternatives that an experienced yoga instructor can help you with. If you are 55+, out of shape or extremely inflexible, begin with a gentle class until you feel it’s safe to move onto something more challenging. Never be ok with pain. A certain amount of discomfort is ok, but pain is your body’s way of telling you to back off.
Why Should I Do Yoga?
There are so many benefits of doing yoga. Yoga can help you:
Improve and maintain the health of muscles, joints and organs.
Keep your mind healthy.
Get a better night’s sleep.
Improve performance and prevent injuries in sports.
Speed recovery from training.
Prevent conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and auto-immune disorders.
Slow down the negative effects of an office job.
And increase your sense of happiness and well being.
It’s a practice that is both physical exercise, helping improve toning, stamina, posture, strength, balance and flexibility, as well as a discipline that helps you de-stress, relax, feel healthier and more energetic.
The best way to know if yoga is for you is to give it a try. Do your due diligence first – visit a few different studios or, if you plan to do a class online,Contact us with your questions. We will let you know what classes would suit you best and give you any advice you need before practicing. If you are someone recovering from an injury or are of poor health we recommended to see a physician before practicing. Especially if you think there may be risks associated with practising yoga.
What do I need to know before doing my first class?
Many of the expectations of a yoga studio are similar to any class – arrive early, don’t wear perfume, and don’t interrupt the teacher. Questions are always welcome, but you may want to ask at the beginning or end of the class, depending on how many students are present. If you’re doing a class with DoYogaWithMe, you’ll be in your own home so do what you want!
Every instructor has a different overall approach to teaching. Some focus more on physical postures, some on meditation. Some do mantra and some don’t. Some do adjustments to their students and others don’t. Your experience from one class to another can be radically different, even within the same yoga style. So don’t give up if you didn’t enjoy your first class. For example, although they both teach Power Yoga, our two DoYogaWithMe instructors Fiji McAlpine and Tracey Noseworthy have very different styles and there are many who prefer one over the other, and many also who enjoy taking classes with them both.
A yoga class is meant to be a place where you feel comfortable and cared for – a space without judgment. Don’t worry if you are unable to keep up with everyone. It’s more important to go at your own pace to ensure that you do everything safely. You don’t need to know the names of poses to participate. Most instructors provide clear instruction throughout and tips for alignment and positioning.
What About Yoga and Weight Loss?
Yoga is not a good cardio workout, so it is generally not an effective way to lose weight. However, it is a whole body workout that can make you work very hard, sweat and, in some cases, exhaust yourself. Its strength is in toning the body through challenging physical exercise and improving overall health through increased flexibility, body awareness and relaxation.
How often should I do yoga?
If you’re able to practice yoga 3 times or more per week, you will likely see significant improvements in areas such as flexibility, joint range of motion, strength, balance, ability to manage stress, quality of sleep, happiness and overall well being. Everyone’s bodies are different, so this of course is relative. Practicing a beginner yoga routine once or twice per week will help you maintain things as they are, while possibly seeing some smaller improvements over time. Like anything fitness-related, the more time you can dedicate to it, the more beneficial it will be.
The Yoga Mindset:-
Yoga is not a religion, a cult or a belief system. At the root of yoga is self-inquiry. Everything we do, whether it’s a yoga pose, a meditation, a mantra or a breathing technique (pranayama), has the purpose of encouraging us to connect to our bodies and our life experience in a more meaningful way. For example, understanding the balance of effort and release in your yoga practice requires constant attention and sensitivity and has profound meaning in our everyday lives as a meditation on balancing stress and relaxation. Experiencing true relaxation is a deeply rewarding experience. And understanding how to move into extremely challenging poses effortlessly, with a calm mind and steady breath, is invaluable to us all in our busy lives.
Yoga’s origins come from a deeply-felt drive for self understanding, physical and emotional release and total well being. It’s much more than the physical experience of a yoga pose. It digs deep into the reality of who you are, what you want and why you are here. As you spend more time doing yoga, you will likely dig deeper into the layers that make up who you are as a person. Yoga helps you let go of old patterns, feel more open and happy and connect with friends, family and your world in a more meaningful way.