If you are new to yoga or still trying to decide if you want to give it a try, you may have a few questions. Here are a few frequently asked questions about yoga. The answers should get you on your way to practicing one of the best forms of exercise and moving meditation in existence.
How many times per week do I have to practice?
You can reap the numerous rewards of yoga by practicing at any frequency. Even if you practice only once a week, you'll start to see some benefits. Obviously, if you can practice more frequently (two to three times a week), you'll see more benefits even sooner and you will improve your skills and flexibility at a faster rate. You don't have to plan for 90 minute yoga sessions if that isn't practical for your lifestyle. There are many routines that can be done in as little as 10-20 minutes. Do what you can comfortably and realistically do, and you can naturally expand over time.
Do I have to be flexible in order to practice yoga?
No, you do not have to be flexible in order to take part in yoga! In fact, if you are inflexible, you are a perfect candidate because yoga will increase your flexibility over time. There are many beginner poses and stretches that anyone of any skill and flexibility level can perform.
What is Yoga?
The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj which means to bind or create a union. Most people associate yoga with a physical exercise and meditation program of postures that are specifically designed to clear the mind and increase physical strength. There are several different types of yoga available to try out from beginner to advanced levels.
What equipment do I need?
Yoga does not require much equipment at all. In fact, all you really need is your body and your mind. It is, of course, helpful to have a high quality yoga mat for comfort and support as well as comfortable and non-restrictive clothing. If you are prone to sweat, a towel comes in handy to wipe it away and keep your mat dry. You may also want to bring a bottle of water. Most yoga studios will have mats and props available for your use, but they certainly are not required. You don't need any footwear as yoga is performed barefoot.
Do you need to go to a gym to practice yoga?
You can practice yoga wherever and whenever the urge strikes you. Many people practice daily from the comfort of their own homes. Some practice outside - in their backyards or on the beach. Other yogis prefer to practice in a yoga studio or gym. The choice is completely up to you. There are DVDs, printouts and Youtube videos that can guide you in a session at home. Some may prefer an instructor and the group feel of a yoga class. Do whatever feels natural to you and fits in your schedule. Mix it up and try practicing yoga in several different locations to see what you like best.
Should I eat prior to practice?
If you need to eat a small snack a bit before your yoga class, that is probably fine. The best advice we can give is to eat a light, well-balanced meal two or three hours before practicing yoga. During yoga, you will twist from side to side, potentially turn upside down, and bend over forward and backward. If you have eaten a recent meal, you may find yourself uncomfortable or experience a bit of heartburn.
If you have been curious about yoga, hopefully these questions have brought light to the subject and encouraged you to give it a try. There are so many benefits of practicing yoga that we know you won't regret it!