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​A Beginner's Guide to Yoga Practice, (Meditation and the Sutras)

Posted by Yoga Blogger on

What Is Yoga?

The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind it is usually interpreted as "union" or a process of discipline. The Indian sage Patanjali is known to have compiled the practice of yoga into the Yoga Sutra around 2,000 years back. The Sutra is a collection of 195 statements that serves as a philosophical guidebook for almost all of the yoga that is practiced now.

2. What Does Hatha Mean?

The word hatha implies willful or forceful. It is a collection of physical exercises and series of asanas, intended to align your muscles, bones and skin. The postures are also made to open several channel including the spine—so that energy can flow easily.

Hatha yoga is a highly effective tool for self-transformation. It requires us to bring our focus on our breath, which helps us to still the movement of the mind and be more present in the unfolding of every moment.

3. What Does Om Mean?

Om is a mantra, or vibration, that is typically chanted at the start and end of yoga sessions. It is considered to be the sound of the universe.

The ancient yogis knew what scientists today are telling us—that the whole universe is in motion. Nothing is actually solid or still. Whatever exists pulsates, making a rhythmic vibration that the ancient yogis acknowledged with the sound of Om. We might not at all times be aware of this sound in our daily routines, but we can hear it in the rustling of the autumn leaves, the waves on the shore.

4. Do I Have to Be Vegetarian to Practice Yoga?

The very first principle of yoga philosophy is ahimsa, which suggests non harming to self and others. Lots of people look at this to include not eating animal products. There is debate concerning this in the yoga community—I but it is a personal decision that people have to make for themselves. If you want to becoming a vegetarian, ensure you consider your personal health concerns as well how your choices will impact those with whom you live.

5. How Many Times Weekly Should I Practice?

Yoga is amazing—even if you just practice for one hour every week, you certainly will experience the benefits of the practice. If you can do far more than that, you will definitely experience much more benefits. It is advisable to start with two or three times weekly, for an hour or so or an hour and a half each time.

6. Is Yoga Different From Other Kinds of Fitness or Stretching?

In contrast to stretching or fitness, yoga is much more than just physical postures. Patanjali's eight-fold path demonstrates how the physical practice is only one aspect of yoga. Yoga is unique as we connect the movement of the body and the movement of the mind to the rhythm of our breath. Linking the mind, body, and breath assist us to direct our attention inward. By this inward attention, we understand how to recognize our habitual thought patterns. We become much more conscious of our experiences.

7. Is Yoga a Religion?

Yoga is not a religion. It is a philosophy that started in India around 5,000 years ago. The father of classical ashtanga yoga is reported to be Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutra. These scriptures give a framework for spiritual growth and mastery over the physical and mental body. Yoga at times intertwine Hinduism and Buddhism philosophies but one must not study those paths to practice or study yoga.

8. I'm Not Flexible—Can I Do Yoga?

You don’t need to be flexible to begin yoga that's a bit like thinking that you have to play tennis to take tennis lessons. Come as you are and you will find that yoga practice can help you become more flexible.

This newfound agility is going to be balanced by strength, coordination, and improved cardiovascular health, along with a sense of physical confidence and overall health and well being.