What is Yoga?
Yoga is a wide-ranging holistic system of comprehensive philosophy, inner self-inquiry, mindfulness & movement practices that originated in India several thousand years ago.
Hatha Yoga is a path of the Yoga system most widely known
as a practice of physical postures & exercises, breathing & meditation.
The physical practice of yoga (Asana) has many varied styles and approaches - however all generally seek to improve physical condition of the body, while increasing inner balance & harmony. This is cultivated through practicing mindful awareness of how we move, feel, breathe, relax & experience the world we live in.
Yoga is a progressive 'practice' where you start with learning the basics
of movement, conscious breath direction & mindful awareness.
Over time, as you become more familiar & confident in your practice,
you might choose to introduce more challenging variations.
Progress in yoga is best attained through steady, patient, practice.
Many of the standard yoga postures & practices remain the same, but how you refine them & experience them will often change as you strengthen & feel ready.
How often should I practice?
Quick answer: as often as you like! There are no ‘shoulds’.
As a suggestion, beginners might start with 1 to 2 classes per week. Eventually practicing 3 to 4 times each week works well for many people, but it’s different for everyone and you’ll need to experiment to find what works best for you.
Gradually building to a daily practice brings many benefits, although this doesn’t always have to mean practicing physical postures. It may mean practicing stillness and relaxation through meditation or breathing practices (also known as Pranayama).
Its important to remember Yoga is a highly personal practice, not a competition. Everyone has different goals, needs, interests and available time. Like anything worth learning, consistent practice helps.
However I like to remind students (and myself!) that commitment can easily become a burden when it's loaded with expectations or judgments. So be kind and curious about your yoga practice as you move forward.
Remember its all about experiencing the moment.
General approach to Yoga
Yoga is unlike many other forms of exercise in that it encourages a non-competitive approach.
Rather than trying to ‘beat your best’ or ‘be the best’, you are encouraged to let go of pushier part of the ego & simply focus on doing your best on any given day.
One of my favorite teachers says "Do the right amount of effort for today" (thanks J. Brown!)
I believe this attitude best honors us as we are & helps us respect our needs in any given moment,
which is part of learning Yoga. Accepting where you are gradually shifts your awareness towards what your body needs & responds to best – making your practice uniquely suited to you & no other!
While any yoga practice is meant to challenge you, it is not meant to be approached aggressively. No matter your goals, the primary goal of yoga is to give yourself respect, patience & acceptance always.
I look forward to sharing your practice soon.