What is Yoga?
The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means to yoke or to unite. It is a practice of uniting the body, mind, and spirit. There are 8 limbs or branches of yoga practice. In a beginner yoga class, we mainly focus on 2 of those limbs- postures (asana) and breath control (pranayama).
Any yoga practice involving postures is a Hatha yoga practice. There are many different styles of Hatha yoga, (Vinyasa, Bikram, Kripalu, Sivananda) but all posture practice, is Hatha yoga.
Although yoga is rooted in the Hindu religion, yoga itself is not a religion. People of all religions, ages, shapes, and sizes can benefit from yoga practice. There is no need to be a pretzel, or to be in great physical shape. That is a common misconception. It's just a matter of finding the practice that is "right for you." Especially if you're a beginner. There are many different types of yoga practice, ranging from gentle to intense physical practice. Some classes also have more of a spiritual tone, whereas some are more focused on the exercise aspect. There is something out there for everyone!
The practice of yoga postures helps to relieve physical, emotional, and mental stress and tension that gets stored in the body, thereby allowing the. mind to relax as well. It helps keep all of the body's major systems healthy and helps with various ailments including: arthritis, sciatica, depression, digestion problems, fibromyalgia, headaches, insomnia, high blood pressure, poor circulation, chronic fatigue, and the list goes on and on. It also improves mobility, strength.flexibility, and balance. With consistent practice, you can learn to consciously deeply relax the mind and body and watch them grow and change in positive ways.
Practicing yoga is about cultivating body awareness and attuning your mind with your body. Therefore, it is essential that you honor and listen to your body while practicing. it is not about achieving or pushing too hard. You want to work hard, but not struggle through it. Leave your ego at the door, and modify postures to your own personal needs.Every body is different, and every day is different in your own body. Worry not about looking the same as everyone else, since no two bodies are the same. Make this your own personal healing routine. It's not important how you look in a pose- what matters is how you feel. Respect your body's limitations, bring your sense of humor, have patience with yourself, and most importantly, ENJOY! HAVE FUN!