Friday, November 1, 2013

New to Yoga Series: What is Yoga?

There is a lot of misconception about what yoga is and what it is not, so I want to address this today. I have had people tell me that yoga is demonic, and although I truly believe everyone has a right to believe what they want to, I also want people who are interested in learning more not to be scared off by these personal beliefs.

What is yoga? The word "yoga" is derived  from Sanskrit, and it means "union". The original yoga was a full practice that connects the mind, body, and spirit, and the physical practice was just a part of that. However, what we practice today is really just the "asana" (physical poses) part of yoga, connecting the mind and body to push the body beyond its physical limitations and gain extra strength, focus, and flexibility. But I will continue to refer to it as yoga because that is the common name.

Make no mistake, there are so many different types of yoga now, and you can do yoga for completely different purposes using different methods. However, the premise remains that it is a union of the mind and body. I try to clear my mind as I do yoga so I can focus on one thing, my breath. The rhythm of the breath allows me to center myself while I am pushing my body through discomfort.

Yoga is also a very non-competitive form of exercise. Unlike cardio and strength training where you are constantly competing with the person beside you, with yoga, it is not about them but about you. You focus is on making your body better. It is about where you are today with the knowledge that if you stay consistent, you will get better tomorrow. Competition can lead to injury.

There are many different poses (asanas) with yoga, and we now have English names for most of them. So over the course of the month, I will walk you through how to do the basic poses correctly, and what to focus on in your practice. I'm excited!

Cheers Eights & Weights!

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