If you are just starting to explore practicing yoga, you may have a lot of thoughts and questions about where to start. The first thing to do is take a deep breath and remember that yoga is about relaxing and centering yourself. Don’t let the questions you have about yoga add to your already busy mind.
To help answer your questions, a yoga studio in Portland has compiled a list of some of the more commonly asked questions about yoga. Take a look at these answers for some help getting started on your yoga journey.
Frequently Asked Questions about Yoga from Beginners
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a practice that began more than 2,000 years ago. It began as a philosophy that included mind and body. There are eight limbs of yoga, each with their own focus and set of practices:
- Yamas (restraint)
- Niyamas (observance)
- Asana (postures)
- Pranayama (breathing)
- Pratyahara (withdrawing senses)
- Dharana (concentration)
- Dhyani (meditation)
- Samadhi (absorption)
Most modern-day yogis practice either asana or pranayama, or a combination thereof. You can almost certainly find practitioners that offer more complex yoga experiences, however, online and in studios.
Which Type of Yoga Should I Do?
This is a common question, and is one that will most likely be answered by yourself. As you try different types of yoga, you will find practices that work best for you and feel the best mentally and physically. This is where you should focus your efforts. You can always try more than one type of yoga, and even blend a combination for your own personal practice.
Do I Need a Yoga Teacher?
You don’t “have” to have a yoga teacher, but sometimes it is helpful to have someone guide you step-by-step. A yoga teacher can help you understand each pose and why it is beneficial, and can also guide you in the proper breathing techniques.
Can I Practice Yoga if I am Overweight?
There are really no restrictions when it comes to practicing yoga. Yoga is for everyone, and anyone who is interested in practicing should give it a try. There are yoga classes, studios and online classes available that can help you find the outlet that works best for you. You don’t need to be a certain age, weight, fitness level, race or gender to practice yoga.
What are the Health Benefits of Yoga?
Yoga can be beneficial to your physical and mental health. Mentally, yoga can help you relax, focus, de-stress and find balance. Physically, yoga can provide a variety of benefits, including:
- Chronic pain relief
- Easing arthritis symptoms
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces inflammation
- Improves sleep habits
- Boosts energy
If these health benefits aren’t enough, consider that people who practice yoga often report a higher quality of life and overall better sense of wellbeing.
Will Yoga Affect me Spiritually?
Yoga does not have to conflict with your religious views. While some people may incorporate yoga into their religious practices, it is often beneficial simply as a means to improving mindfulness and relaxation, as well as improving health and mental wellness.
However, you may find that turning your attention inward brings out thoughts, beliefs, passions, and emotions that you didn’t know were hiding in there. This can affect your views and your religious practices if you so choose.
Do I Have to Meditate While Doing Yoga?
Some yoga practices and classes will blend yoga and meditation. Yoga is meditative in its nature because it is a combination of mindful movement and breathing. But that is different from meditation as a practice of its own.
We hope that these questions and answers will help relieve your anxiety and uncertainty about starting a yoga practice. As you can see, yoga really is something that anyone can do and benefit from.