What does “yoga” mean?
The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit root, “yuj” which means “to unite.” It is a sophisticated system for achieving physical, mental and spiritual well-being and health. In other words, yoga is a means to unite the body, mind, and spirit. In the west, the term yoga is often used to refer to postures, or the physical aspect of yoga. However, these poses or asanas are only one of the eight “limbs” of yoga.
Is yoga a religion?
Yoga is not a religion, but rather a philosophy with a spiritual component. It began in India an estimated 5000 years ago, and was given its classical format by the Father of Yoga, Sage Patanjali, who also derived the Yoga Sutras. Actually, many people of different faiths and beliefs practice yoga. To practice yoga, you only need to believe in the possibility that we can transform ourselves for the better. Yoga seeks to bring out our highest potential by putting us in touch with our atma or our soul, which is our spiritual core and innermost nature.
The instructor uses words in another language. What is it?
The language of yoga is Sanskrit. Sanskrit is an ancient Indo-Aryan language, in which the oldest documents written are the Vedas. Although it may sound alien at first, you will recognize sanskrit words soon enough. They’re actually quite catchy!
What does OM mean?
The sound “om” is made up of three separate tones: a-u-m. It is the original sound from which all other sounds are derived, and is the sound of creation and of life you hear all around, like waves crashing and birds singing. When we chant om before and after practice, we unite breath, sound, and vibration, reminding us that we are all interconnected and connected to the universe.
How often should I practice?
Ideally, it’s best if you make your yoga practice a daily one. That said, we understand that that can be overwhelming if you’re just starting out. We suggest you set a goal you can realistically keep. Consistency is key. You’ll experience far better results by attending one class per week without fail than by attending four classes one week and then none for the next two weeks. The more you practice, the better you’ll feel, and the more you will want to practice. It’s a self-propelling cycle!
Can I do yoga even if I’m not flexible?
Absolutely! In fact, yoga will make you more flexible regardless of how flexible you are. Other physical bonuses that will come hand in hand with your newfound flexibility include, strength, coordination, enhanced cardiovascular health, confidence and overall wellbeing, just to name a few.
Is yoga a workout? Will I lose weight?
This depends on the frequency and intensity with which you practice. Yoga is different from an intense aerobic workout, but it does burn calories. When taking into consideration the physiological effects alone, you’re building long lean muscles, massaging and stimulating your internal organs, increasing your flexibility and gaining greater range of motion in the joints. By practicing yoga, you will experience an enhanced state of well-being, which will in turn motivate you to make other healthy decisions and changes in your lifestyle. This includes the quality of food you eat, the rest you get and the interpersonal relationships you maintain as well as your ability to handle stress. Increased quality in such areas of your life will without doubt contribute to the development of a healthy body weight.
How Is yoga different from stretching or other kinds of fitness?
As mentioned earlier, yoga is more than physical poses or asanas. These are just one of eight “limbs” in yoga. Even within the physical practice component, yoga is different because here, we connect the body and mind to our breath, helping us turn inward, and away from the material world. Through this process of inward attention and awareness, we learn to recognize our habitual thought patterns, bringing about transformation and positivity. This makes yoga more than just a task. It makes it a practice. And chances are you’ll become more flexible both mentally and physically practicing yoga than doing any other kind of stretch or form of fitness.
What should I wear?
We suggest comfortable, stretchy or loose clothing, and practicing in bare feet is always best.
Do I need to bring anything?
All you need is your yoga mat and an open mind and heart.
Why is it best to practice yoga on an empty stomach?
Practicing yoga on an empty stomach is highly recommended. The reason for this is that during yoga practice, we twist, turn, bend forward and backward and can be upside down. If your food is not digested, it can be quite uncomfortable. That said, if you have a fast acting metabolism and feel that you may get too hungry, have a light snack before class.
Yoga detoxifies the body. Drinking lots of water will optimize the detoxification process by flushing the toxins out of your system. So hydrate well both before and 15-20 mins after class. Avoid drinking water during class and immediately after class so as not to put out the internal heat you built up during your yoga practice or shock your nadis (energy channels), which have been opened up, energized and activated.