What Is Yoga?
The word yoga means “union” in Sanskrit, which is the language of ancient India where yoga originated. In yoga, the word Union refers to the union between mind, body and spirit. During the physical practice, Yoga can be described by the Sanskrit word “asana”, which refers to the practice of physical postures or poses.
Asana is only one of the eight “limbs” of yoga, the majority of which are more concerned with mental and spiritual well-being than physical activity. In the West, however, the words asana and yoga are often used interchangeably.
Practicing yoga means something different for each individual. To get the most out of your practice, I would recommend coming at least twice a week if possible and I have three words for you…breath, focus and patience. If you want to really enjoy what yoga has to offer, the breath is key to maximizing on those results. Being able to quiet and focus the mind is also something that you will find to really enhance your practice. This may come easily for some, and for others it may take work. This leads us to patience. You must be patient with yourself. A very smart person once told me, “Yoga practice, not yoga perfect.” This is the truth. No matter how many times you get into a posture, it will feel different. There will be days you can balance and days you can’t. Be compassionate and accepting of yourself, where you are and the limits of your body. When you encompass all of these things in your practice, you will find that it takes you to a new level.
Don’t Put Yoga In A Box! Top 3 Myths About Yoga – BUSTED!
#1 – YOGA IS JUST STRETCHING
I have so many people say to me “Isn’t yoga just stretching?” Well…not quite. While stretching is certainly involved, yoga is really about creating balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility. This is done through the performance of poses or postures, each of which has specific physical benefits. The poses can be done quickly in succession, creating heat in the body through movement (vinyasa-style yoga) or more slowly to increase stamina and perfect the alignment of the pose.
#2 – YOGA IS FOR WOMEN
While there is a trend that yoga is for women, that’s actually not true at all. Most people I know, both men and women are looking for the same thing. Balance in their life, physical fitness and to be well both physically and mentally. Those needs in life aren’t gender specific so therefore, neither is yoga. Yoga benefits everyone in a different way because you get out of it what you put into it.
#3 – YOGA IS A RELIGION
Yoga’s physical postures is one limb of an eight-limbed practice. This eight-limbed practice includes things like non-stealing and non-harming which may sound like structures for a religion, but in truth, yoga is about mindful living. It is what you need it to be for you and you can apply it to whatever extent you wish.