• A Primer on Yoga

October 23, 2016 - 11:12am -- Johanna

Yoga is a practice that is thousands of years old, dating back before the Indian sage, Patanjali, defined eight different types of yoga 2,000 years ago. Most Westerners who practice yoga have practiced hatha yoga which focuses on the asana.

What is Hatha Yoga?

Hatha yoga’s asanas are designed to balance the masculine and feminine, align your skin, muscles, and bones and open the channels of the body so energy can freely flow. The postures also help you develop strength and flexibility and to be more present in the moment.

Postures like the Cobra, the Sun Salutation, the Mountain Pose, and others are all asanas.

Do I Have to Be Vegetarian to Practice Yoga?

No. You do not need to be a vegetarian to practice yoga. 

How Many Times Per Week Should I Practice Yoga?

Yoga is amazing. Even if you only practice for one hour a week, you will experience the benefits of the practice. Try starting with two or three times a week, for an hour or an hour and a half each time. If you can only do 20 minutes per session though, that's fine too. Don't let time constraints or unrealistic goals be an obstacle-do what you can and don't worry about it.

How Is Yoga Different from Stretching or Other Kinds of Fitness?

Yoga is more than just physical postures. Yoga is unique, because we connect the movement of the body and the fluctuations of the mind to the rhythm of our breath. Connecting the mind, body, and breath helps us to direct our attention inward.  Your body will most likely become much more flexible by doing yoga, and so will your mind.

I'm Not Flexible - Can I Do Yoga?

Yes! You are a perfect candidate for yoga. Many people think that they need to be flexible to begin yoga, but that's a little bit like thinking that you need to be able to play tennis in order to take tennis lessons. Practicing yoga will make you more flexible!

You can begin any time.

All you need to begin practicing yoga is your body, your mind, and a bit of curiosity. But it is also helpful to have a pair of yoga leggings, or shorts, and a t-shirt that's not too baggy. No special foot gear is required because you will be barefoot. As your practice develops, you might want to buy your own yoga mat, but most studios will have mats and other props available for you.