Ten Popular Questions Asked By Beginner Yoga Students
If you have recently started yoga, you will naturally have lots of questions to ask your yoga teacher.
The following is a selection of frequently asked questions I am asked by new yoga students.
1.What does Yoga Mean?
The traditional meaning of the word 'yoga' originates from the Sanskrit word 'yuj' meaning to yoke, union, join together as one. Traditionally speaking, the goal of yoga is to achieve union, connection with the Divine. In more general terms, yoga is seen as a practical way to help you achieve a state of inner balance, wholeness and calm into your life.
2. What is Yoga?
Yoga is a form of exercise which consists of a programme of stretching exercises,(known as asanas) which gently open and stretch the body, increasing flexibility, suppleness and strength; breathing practices (known as pranayama) designed to cleanse the body and calm the nervous system and emotions; and guided relaxation to release body tension and promote a sense of well-being. Some yoga classes also include meditation and chanting. Meditation helps you to calm and focus your mind and have a sense of inner peace.
3.What style of yoga do you teach?
There are various styles and different approaches to yoga. In essence, asanas, breathing exercises, relaxation and in some cases meditation and chanting form the basis of all yoga styles. All yoga is known as "Hatha Yoga." However, different schools of yoga place difference emphasis on these aspects. Some yoga teachers, may focus more on breathing techniques (known as pranayama), whilst another may pay more attention on the alignment of the body in the poses. The most common styles of yoga taught are Iyengar Yoga, Sivananada Yoga, Viniyoga Yoga, Astanga Yoga and Bikram Yoga.
4. Am I too old to start yoga, I am over 40?
Regardless of your age, you can practice yoga. An experienced yoga teacher will be able to adapt poses and exercises to meet your individual needs.
5. What difference will yoga make to my lifestyle?
In essence, yoga provides a philosophy of living in harmony with all. It emphasises the need to live a healthy, natural way of life and for you to see the good and beauty in all. Regular practice will also help you learn how to cope with stressful situations at work and at home.
6. I am not a vegetarian and enjoy eating meat – can I still practice yoga?
Yes, you can. Many people who practice yoga eat meat and diary products. The foods you eat have a major influence on your energy levels. As a source of energy, food can either drain or energies you. To get the most out of your yoga practice, you want to aim to eat food which provides you with maximum energy and nutrients as well as able to repair, strengthen and protect your body from disease, e.g. raw foods, whole foods, seeds and nuts.
7. Is yoga a religion?
Yoga is multi-faceted. Yoga students come from all walks of life, social background and faiths. Yoga is a philosophy and offers you a healthy way of living. The practice of yoga, with its emphasis on cultivating inner peace and harmony can support you to strengthen your faith.
8. What is a Chakra/Energy Centre?
The word chakra means "wheel". In yoga philosophy, the body consists of a number of minor and major energy centres or wheels of energy. Your energy flows through these energy centres. There are seven main Chakras - The root chakra, the sacral chakra, the solar plexus chakra, the heart chakra, the throat chakra, the third eye/brow chakra and crown chakra.
9. What is the Sun Salutation?
The Sun Salutation is an ancient yoga practice that draws energy and sunlight into the mind and body. It made up of twelve different movements or positions which form a graceful sequence.
10. What does “asana” mean?
Asana - this is the term for a yoga posture or yoga pose. It literally means "steady pose."
11. What does Namaste mean?
Namaste is a sacred greeting to remember and honour the sacred, the spirit within yourself and others. When you say Namaste, you put your hands together in the prayer position in front of your heart centre, bow and say “Namaste”.
12. What are the four paths of yoga?
There are four main paths of Yoga practice, which all traditionally serves as a means to help you achieve your potential and unite with your divine nature: Karma Yoga (the path of selfless service and action), Jnana Yoga (the path of intellect, knowledge and wisdom), Bhakti Yoga (the path of devotion and love), Raja Yoga (the physical practice of yoga - asanas, breathing, plus spiritual, ethical guidelines, known as the Yoga Sutras or Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga.)
When you first start yoga, you may feel overwhelmed and not sure of yourself. Just take your time, relax and enjoy your class. When you get home, have a look at this list of ten frequently asked questions and see if your question is there. If not, drop me an email and I’ll be happy to answer any queries you may have.