When people start practicing yoga there are often several questions that they may have about the practice. Here are the most common yoga questions we get asked and the answers to these important questions.
What is yoga practice?
Yoga is an ancient practice derived from India with a history stretching back around 2,000 years. Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice with the focus of improving one’s health and well-being.
Yoga incorporates physical movement through postures and poses and as well as the coupling with the breath, visualization and sometimes meditation. Yogi’s believe that the practice of yoga will lead one to enlightenment.
What is the meaning of “Om”?
Om is referred to as the sound of the universe and is commonly chanted at the commencement and end of each yoga session. Om is a mantra and serves to bring about a resonance of universal energy within the chanter.
When one chant’s Om, they are said to be able to (with time and practice) directly experience the life force of energy that is all around us, that creates movement and chance in the universe and that which connects each and everything inexistence. The Chinese call this “chi” and in Japanese, it is referred to as “ki“. However, in the Indian tradition, of which yoga was founded, the vital life energy is known as “prana“.
How often should I practice?
Even with as little as one hour per week, one can experience benefits from their practice. However, if a person wishes they can practice once per day or even several times per day. For beginners, it is recommended to start a practice of 2-3 times per week and then build up as your skill and strength improves. For starters, beginners often benefit from a 20min session. As fitness levels improve they can go for more lengthy sessions to build on what they have learned.
Is yoga just stretching?
Yoga does involve stretching exercises and movements. However, it is far more than just this as one is taught to connect their physical body to the breath, free the mind and come into the present reality. Therefore, yoga is also very much a spiritual practice.
Do I have to be religious or convert to Hinduism to practice yoga?
This is not at all necessary as yoga is not a religion. Rather, yoga is a philosophy stretching back to around 5,000 years ago. The philosophy is based on the Yoga Sutra, which provides the structure and outline of spiritual evolvement and mastery over one’s physical body and mental faculties.
If I’m not flexible can I still do yoga?
You don’t need to be flexible to start a yoga practice. In actual fact, practicing yoga regularly will help you to become more flexible over time, along with a multitude of other health benefits.
What do I need for a yoga session?
All you really need to begin the practice of yoga is your physical body, an open mind, some loose, comfortable clothing and a yoga mat. Even if you don’t have a yoga mat, most good studios will provide one for you.