Yoga: What, Why, How?
Updated: Jan 12
What is yoga?
Yoga is a big buzzword and seems to be everywhere, however it is still misunderstood by many.
...Maybe you think of attractive millennials in skin tight pants doing fitness sequences as they turn their bodies into pretzels while breathing a lot, often in a steamy room.
...Maybe you think of a thin old man with a white beard wrapped in orange cloth, contorting his body while expanding his belly full of air with each breath.
...Maybe you think it's just another passing fitness trend to cling to for a fleeting new years resolution.
...Maybe you think of something else altogether.
It's all good.
...Perhaps there is still something to learn if we consider with a beginners mind.
Our goal here is to educate you in less than 3 minutes on the fundamentals of yoga to help you determine if you are getting the most out of this "yoga thing"...however you think about it.
The literal definition of the word yoga comes from the Sanskrit language of ancient India and means to yoke: To unite, to link, to join together, to connect, to bind.
So what are we uniting, practically speaking?
Body & Mind.
*Some say body, mind & spirit. We'll stick with body & mind for now since there can be charge around the whole idea of spirit and spirituality. Yoga can often lead to a connection with one's spirit, but it doesn't have to be about that.
To get the lingo right: When a person "does" yoga it is said that they are "practicing" yoga. So....To practice yoga is to practice uniting the body with the mind.
To practice yoga is to engage in a series of certain body movements while doing your best to stay fully present by focusing attention on steady breathing.
...Yoga is a practice of presence in the body and focus in the mind.
Why do this?
Here's our short list of some of the top practical benefits of yoga:
Gets endorphins going - Have fun:)
Improved blood flow to reduce inflammation or pain
Improved quality of life
Improved sleep quality
How do I do yoga?
You have options:
In person group class at a studio
In person group class offered somewhere other than a studio like a park, beach, etc.
In person private lesson
Live-stream video online where a teacher is doing a class live, online but can't see you
2-way live stream class online where a teacher is doing a class live, online and CAN see you
Be your own teacher and do what feels right (once you know the basics)
There are advantages and disadvantages of all of these which you can read about in our other posts.
There are a ton of different styles of yoga to choose from that you can read about in our other posts. The key take away is that you have some classes that will really feel like a strong workout while there are other classes that focus more on deep stretching or relaxation.
How often and how long?
Some people swear by practicing yoga every damn day while others do it once in awhile. Typically finding consistency helps you get the most out of it, whether once a day, or certain number of times per week.
Class duration varies a lot depending on what the student is going for. Traditional in studio classes may be 60 to 90 minutes but there are shorter and longer options. Even a 30 minute yoga class can allow you to get what you need.
If you are engaging in yoga now, how is your practice these days??? If you're not practicing, now at least you know what the buzz is about if you get the call.