Maya Answers Your Questions
To help you determine if yoga is right for you, I've included answers to the questions I'm most frequently asked about the practice and its benefits.- Maya
What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient practice designed to help one integrate body, mind and spirit. In general, yoga is a science of divine knowledge created to help calm and center the spirit, increase flexibility and range of motion, build self confidence, and promotes relaxation and introspection. Yoga also teaches one how to live in community with others as well as maintain health of body, mind and spirit. It is a complex system with eight limbs or branches, and any branch can help one begin on the path to wholeness. Hatha Yoga is the most popular form of yoga and it involves practicing specific postures (movements), combined with breathing techniques, followed by a brief period of relaxation. This form of yoga is done on a mat or rug.
Can anyone do yoga?
Yes, anyone and everyone can do yoga. It does not matter your size, or shape or color; race, or religion, ethnicity or personal affiliations.
Is Yoga a religion?
No, Yoga has no specific religious creed or doctrine but it is often confused with the Hindu religion because Yoga originated in India. Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice that supports healthy living by teaching us to honor our body, mind and spirit. This can be misconstrued as religious behavior but it is a simple way for us to go within and connect to our higher selves.
Is one ever too old to begin the practice of yoga?
No, yoga can be started at any age, no matter how young or old. Of course one has to keep in mind their own capabilities and interests. There are yoga classes where the postures are difficult and there are those that are created for people who like to move slowly and focus on relaxation.
How often should I practice?
Certainly the ideal would be to practice yoga daily, but most of us are so busy that adding yoga into our schedule is not always possible. The best prescription I can give is that you practice Yoga as often as you can fit it into your daily routine.
Can I practice at night?
Some of the yoga postures have a stimulating effect on the mind and body. During the day this stimulation can be useful but it may not be conducive to achieving a restful night's sleep. If you must practice at night, I suggest you practice relaxed poses (those down on your back or restorative poses), followed by the pose of relaxation also known as the savasana (relaxation) pose.
If I practice at home where should I practice?
If you practice in your home, find a comfortable place that is clear of too much furniture and void of clutter. Make this your sacred space with flowers, or a picture of your loved ones. As you do your practice, you will honor yourself and your loved ones by taking care of yourself.
How do a select a yoga teacher?
You may have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince or princess of a teacher, but the best way is to try a few individual classes before you commit to a series with one teacher. Be guided by your feelings. You should feel safe and also feel that the teacher is well trained in yoga. If you feel safe, and after a few classes it is clear that teacher is knowledgeable and well trained, then you have found a home. If you feel any discomfort in the space or with teacher's attitude, or experience difficulty with the practice – try another class. You may also find that the style of teaching is too difficult or perhaps too easy as you want more of a challenge for your body. There are many classes and teachers in every community. Shop around and you will find your spot!