New to yoga? We’ve got answers for you. These 10 common questions for yoga beginners should get you on your way to a deeper practice.
What is yoga?
What are the benefits of doing yoga?
The practice of Yoga includes a very holistic approach to health. It includes practices which focus on the well being of the body, mind and soul. Initially the benefits are very subtle but over a period of time when iy becomes a way of life, the benefits are very obvious.
Q:Is Yoga enough to keep you fit?
If by yoga, you mean asanas, then definitely it is not enough to keep you fit. Fitness depends as much on the state of mind as on the state of the body. Thus a well balanced diet, healthy lifestyle, an appropriate yoga routine (asana, pranayama, meditation) and using the knowledge given in the classes can help keep you fit. And doing all these things are very natural and effortless for all of us. That’s why in the yogasutras it is said, “Prayatna shaithilya anantha samapattibhyam.” Letting go of the effort and merging with the Divine presence are the two aspects of asana practice. To experience yoga, it is best to learn with a trained teacher and experience the totality of yoga.
Q:Are there any side-effects of doing yoga?
When done under proper supervision of a trained yoga teacher, there are no side effects. If at all the effects are only positive.
Q:Can the practice of yoga help in alleviating incurable diseases?
Yoga is not a substitute for medicine. However it does help the body mind complex to cope with stresses. Many patients with incurable diseases have experienced a remarkable transformation after doing yoga.
Q:Is the practice of yoga asanas enough? Or does one need to study different scriptures on yoga – like Patanjali’s yoga sutras – to get a complete experience?
The field of yoga is like an ocean. Some people come and sit on the shore, enjoying the cool breeze. Some wet their feet. Some swim and surf. Yet others dive deep and get the pearls. It is up to you to decide how much and what you want to do. With the help of an experienced teacher, you can explore the full potential of your life through yoga.
Q:Which school of yoga is taught at Sooriya Wellness?
Sooriya Wellness is a celebration of the diversity in Yoga in a simple and joyful manner. We combine yoga essentials – breathing techniques, stretching and postures, meditation and relaxation, and yogic knowledge. By incorporating all these beautiful facets of yoga we are able to look deep beyond the level of the physical body and really sharpen our sensitivity and awareness of subtler levels of existence.
Q:Do you need to go to the gym if you’re doing a yoga workout?
Participating in a yoga session after going to a gym can help release the stresses that build up after the exercises. The muscles get toned and do not get excessively fatigued. It complements the gym schedules and keeps the body from burning out.
Q:What asanas are included in a complete yoga workout?
A complete yoga sequence should comprise asanas that help to balance out the imbalances in the system. A healthy mix of standing, sitting and lying down postures is provided in the Sooriya Wellness Yoga sequences. It is very important to include yoga nidra at the end of any asana sequence as the body and mind needs the time to assimilate the effects of the asanas.
Q:What is the difference between yoga and exercise?
In yoga, one practices the asanas in a rhythmic manner that involves the body, mind and spirit. Yoga is like an appointment with the Self, which rejuvenates one’s entire system. It leaves you feeling relaxed and energized. In exercise, the focus is more of physical well being. After an ordinary exercise session, one feels exhausted. And is not so after a yoga session.
Q:What is the minimum age to start yoga?
An infant is a born yogi. The whole process is of relearning.
Q:Which is the best time for practising yoga?
The best time to do yoga practice is early in the morning, when your stomach is empty, and you have a minimum number of distractions. It is also recommended that you repeat your practices late in the afternoon, or early evening before dinner. Morning practices keep your enthusiasm and energy levels higher during the day, and evening practices help you get rid of stresses and tensions accumulated during the day – refreshing you.
Q:How do I get a better posture in my asana? How do I maintain balance in any asana?
To attain a better posture and balance, the first thing to do is to let go of the effort in the mind. In the yogasutras, Patanjali gives two methods to deepen your sadhana. The first is Abhyasa, practice. The more you practice, the better you get at the postures. The key is to not force but gently improve the posture using the breath as a tool. You will notice that using the breath you are able to go deeper in the posture. The second is Vairagya – dispassion. The ability to drop the world is a big help in the practice. Mentally surrendering to the posture, not comparing or analysing too.
Q:What should be the duration of a yoga practise session?
Aim at doing your practices – for at least one hour every day in the beginning. If you do not have one hour every day, do your practices for whatever duration you can, however small it may be. Be regular and consistent in your practice. 20 minutes of daily practice is better than two hours of occasional practice.
Q:Could you explain the significance of the Surya Namaskar?
The Surya Namaskar – literally means Salutations to the Sun. Surya Namaskar is a beautiful set of asanas that massages, detoxifies and stimulates almost every organ of the human body, brings suppleness to the spine. It can be done fast, as a cardiac toner or at a slower pace to strengthen and tone the muscles and enhance the functioning of internal organs. It can also be performed with the different mantras (names of the Sun). Like all other yoga practices, it is important to learn it under proper supervision and guidance.
Q:How do I justify, the time I spend on myself to do yoga practise?
A happy person spreads happiness all around. So you are doing these yoga practice – not just for yourself, but for others’ happiness as well. Do not feel guilty for taking time out for yourself. Give yoga an important place in your life. It will bring many rewards.
Can I eat before yoga?
You want to have a more or less empty stomach during a yoga session, so leave at least two hours between a main meal and yoga. Digestion of food requires energy and when you do yoga after a meal, your energy goes to the muscles you’re exercising and the body can’t digest the food properly. It is not healthy and won’t feel good to practice yoga on a full stomach.
Can I practise yoga when I am menstruating?
Some women prefer to stop practising yoga when they have their period while others keep going. Most teachers advise not to practise inversions (Headstand, Handstand, Forearm Balances) which interrupt the downward flow. Strong twists can be uncomfortable as well. It really depends on the individual however so listen to what your body tells you! A slower, more restorative class might be more beneficial and pleasant for you.
I have a medical problem. Can I still do yoga?
Many people practise yoga as a way to manage their health conditions. There are many different types of classes which suit different health needs and can also be adapted and modified for injuries. However, if you have medical condition or an injury, you should consult a medical practitioner before starting any exercise including yoga. If you have a medical problem or injury and have not practised yoga before we recommend that you speak to an experienced yoga teacher (or a physical therapist with knowledge of yoga) to check your alignment in poses and to get advice about any poses or movements you need to avoid.
Can I do yoga while pregnant?
First of all, consult your doctor. You should consult a medical practitioner before attempting any exercise and particularly yoga, to ensure that you do not injure yourself. This is particularly important if you are pregnant.