YOGA seems to be everywhere! You hear the buzz around the office about classes being offered. You see folks walking into the gym with mats in hand. You pass the local studio on your way to pick up groceries. Even your kids come home from school doing Tree Pose and Cobra! Even though it seems like everyone is doing it you wonder if it’s right for you, but are afraid to ask!
The body is meant to MOVE and increasing strength and flexibility along with balance is important as we age. Yoga is the answer to what is needed, but so many have a preconceived idea as to what Yoga is and shy away before even stepping onto the mat. If you’ve got an idea of what you think Yoga is “let it go” and be open to a thousands of years old practice that is available to all levels and ages.
Q: I can’t do Yoga because I’m not flexible.
A: Very few are “naturally” flexible. In a class you will learn how to open the body and become more flexible. Usually it takes building strength and learning how to use opposing muscles to gain flexibility.
Yoga was actually created to build flexibility knowing that the practitioner isn’t. And it’s not only about physical flexibility. You might notice it in the mind as well!
Q: Is Yoga like a religion or a cult?
A: Yoga is not a religion or a cult, but can be a spiritual practice if you’d like it to be. The physical practice is just one branch of the complete yoga practice. It can be a meditation if practitioner’s focus is on the breath and stilling the mind while practicing the postures.
Q: I went to a Yoga class and it wasn’t for me.
A: If you went to one class and didn’t enjoy it try another! There are many different styles of yoga each with a different focus. If you tried a power yoga class and are new to Yoga find a gentle, beginner’s class.. It’s essential for enjoyment to have a comfortable grasp on how to do the postures correctly. If you have injuries look for an Iyengar class that uses props and focuses on proper alignment. Talk to the teacher. Ask about his/her training and experience level. Some styles of yoga focus more on breath while others are more centered around the body.
Q: Do I need to chant in a Yoga class?
A: Yes and No. Like the practice it is all your choice. The teacher will lead the class giving cues and it’s the students choice based on how it feels whether to do the posture or modify based on physical needs and limitation. Most teachers will give modifications. As to chanting not all teachers do. If yours does and you choose not to sit, enjoy and breathe.
Q: Isn’t Yoga for 20 year olds who wear tight lululemon pants?
A: Yoga is for all levels and ages. Again it’s about finding a level class that you enjoy and a teacher with whom you connect.
Once you get hooked you will learn how much Yoga can teach you both on your mat and off. It is your chance to get off the treadmill and slow down for an hour. You will learn that it’s not about “being good at it”, but how much you learn on the journey.