Some Answers about questions on Yoga
What is yoga?
Yoga is an ancient holistic practice developed over 5000 years ago by Hindu healers, which unites the body and the mind with focus on the breath. Yoga is about stretching and creating space in our body to increase the efficiency of our circulatory system, gaining flexibility and internal strength.
As our body ages, it tends to stiffen. Our posture starts hunching forward. As we experience stress from our everyday life, our shoulders tense up. As we sit behind the desk all day, our lower back is weakened due to lack of proper support. Not only do these tendencies inhibit our movements, they inhibit our circulatory system and limit energy flow. Our circulatory system is the passage way that allows blood flow, oxygen and nutrients to penetrate our body. When the circulatory system is functioning inefficiently, our nerves, glands and muscles are all negatively affected, which leads to aging and ailments.
With yoga, you can literally reverse the aging process. By combining proper breathing and the physical postures, you can actually gain back the flexibility you’ve lost as a child. Your posture will improve, your circulatory system will operate more efficiently, which leads to a younger, healthier and stronger body.
Who should be doing yoga?
Yoga is for the majority of the population, young or old, no matter what physical shape you are in. It is definitely not limited to the fittest athletes. Unlike other form of exercise, yoga is totally non competitive. The teacher will always emphasize in class that you should do whatever your body is capable of, and move on from there. All our bodies are different. At Yoga Body & Spirit, we offer a class level called “Gentle”. It is designated for students who have not been on a fitness routine, who have experienced injuries, or those who simply want to take it easy : stretch, relax and de-stress.
On the other hand, there is a strenuous aspect of yoga that has captured many athletes from their weight lifting and cardiovascular routines. When you come out of a physically challenging yoga class, such as the Mixed level class we offer, you will feel like you have gone through an intense workout, just like an aerobic class. The difference is after a yoga class, you also feel relaxed, energized and rejuvenated.
Why has there been such a craze over yoga in recent years?
There are more people doing yoga in California today than in the entire country of India. The reason for such a dynamic shift is that baby boomers are tired of pounding their knees and joints running, spinning or engaging in other high impact fitness activities that are prone to injuries. They are looking for alternatives. We are also experiencing very high pressured, hectic life styles. Corporate burnout is at its highest in history. 80% of illnesses are caused by stress. The top five best selling drugs in America are all related to stress reduction. Studies have shown that yoga is an effective form of stress reduction. Medical researches have also shown that yoga can help such diverse ailments as high blood pressure, arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, asthma, varicose veins and heart conditions.
Can yoga help with my back problems?
Back pains are often caused by or aggravated by poor posture. Many yoga poses emphasize on strengthening the back muscles, lengthening the spine, and maintaining a well balanced posture at all times.
Back pain can also be caused by shortening of muscles that are connected to the spine. Certain yoga poses will strengthen and lengthen these muscles, helping to eliminate back problems.
Can yoga help me lose weight?
Yes certain poses stimulate the thyroid glands, which help stabilize metabolism. Strengthening of muscles through various poses also increase the rate of fat burning. However, permanent (as opposed to temporary) weight loss involves a commitment to a permanent change in life style, which typically includes changing your diet and other eating habits.
How often should I practice yoga?
To start out with, you should try two classes per week. Once you start feeling the positive effect it has on your body, you will most likely be motivated to increase the frequency. Unlike going to a gym, you will actually look forward to taking a yoga class. At Yoga Body & Spirit you can take any class any time. We offer various levels of classes daily.
What should I wear to a yoga class?
Wear comfortable clothing, such as leggings, shorts, t-shirts, tank tops. Do not wear jeans because that will inhibit your stretching. Yoga is practiced barefooted.
Refrain from eating solid food two hours prior to class. Refrain from strong fragrances.