What is Yoga?
The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj, means to unite. The sage Patanjali, who lived about two thousand years ago, described the yogic philosophy with a systematic approach. He described Yoga as working on eight levels on which we can work not only our physical body but also our moral, mind and spirit. In a typical Yoga class students practice postures to the rythm of the breath. Many styles have been created but all have the same aim, to find a balance between mind, body and the world that surrounds us.
I’m not flexible, can I practice Yoga?
Yes. To start you don’t need any knowledge of Yoga, you also don’t need any physical background. The practice is always adjusted to your level and current conditions, offering variations of the postures as you advance. With time you will get more flexible. It’s a practice that is accessible for all, come us you are.
What are the benefits of Yoga?
All postures have their therapeutic effects that benefit the muscular system, the blood circulation, the vital organs and the metabolism. The practice also develops flexilbility and strenght, balance and coordination. All this improves your health and quality of life. The most important benefit is the mind-body balance that consistent practice provides.
How often do I have to practice Yoga?
To feel the benefits of Yoga faster it’s recommend starting with two weekly classes. If you practice Ashtanga, with time you might practice six days a week, this requieres discipline and commitment. We all practice for different reasons and the goal is to improve our quality of life, it is important to adjust your practice to your needs and current situation.
Do I have to memorize the names and order of the postures?
Ashtanga series and asanas are traditionally practiced in a fixed order which you will be learning with time. We have all gone through this. Being familiar with the names and order of the postures will allow you to have more control of your practice and attend to a class no matter where you go.
Is there chanting of mantras in Yoga? Is it religious?
The chanting of the mantras is never compulsary, but it is beautiful and has nothing to do with any religion. In Ashtanga, the opening mantra reverences Ashtanga and its lineage of gurus. It also prepares our mind for the practice. The final mantra seals the practice and wishes peace and a life without suffering to all living creatures.
Can I get hurt practicing Yoga?
It is important to learn to listen to the body and the mind, since they are what will guide you and let you know when you have reached your limit. It is normal to feel some ammount of muscle ache now and then, after all, it is a physical practice. If a pain persists, talk to your teacher, change the practice or rest well to give the body space to heal. Remember that practicing too much or postures you are not ready for yet may hurt you. Never use force to enter a posture and always keep breathing. Advance slowly, with love and humility, you have all your life to learn 🙂
Can I practice Yoga being pregnant?
It’s advised not to do demanding physical excercise during the first three months of the pregnancy nor the next three months after giving birth. If you have never practiced Yoga postures before, it’s better not to start during the pregnancy. If you do practice, remember to modify the postures so you don’t harm or stress your baby. After the baby is born, give your body time to recover and start slowly.