Yoga FAQs - All Your Yoga Questions Answered

The world today is more aware about the importance of healthy living and natural healings. This is why organic food, herbal medicines and cosmetics and yoga are gaining more and more popularity around the world, and particularly in the consumer-driven environment of USA. Some estimates show that there are more than 20 million people in North America who are practicing some or other type of yoga. The following points would try to throw a little light on different aspects of yoga by answering some of the most frequent asked questions about it:

What is yoga?

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that originates from ancient India. According to the historians and documents available yoga has been around from thousands of years and has survived into the modern era because it is unbelievably effective in reverting diseases and getting the body into a fit and healthy condition. Yoga involves a number of exercises – some of which are physical, some are breathing and some are purely for meditation. In combination, these exercises engage each and every muscle, tendon, ligament, bone and organ as well as the mind to give you a perfectly healthy body and mind.

There are eight stages in yoga or eight branches – (i) asana (postures), (ii) pranayama (breathing), (iii) dharana (concentration), (iv) dhyan (meditation), (v) yamas (restraints), (vi) pratyahara (senses withdrawal), (vii) niyamas (rules), (viii) Samadhi (enlightenment). The meaning of yoga means ‘unison’ and it implies unity with the universe or with God. The aim of a yogi or yogini (female of yogi) is to achieve the Samadhi stage.

What type of yoga can the common man perform/ learn?

Anyone can learn yoga and profit from it. In spite of the very unusual and forbidding looking postures, yoga can be learned by anyone – even by those who think that they are physically unfit for exercise. The most common form of yoga practiced all over the world is Hatha yoga (Ha means sun and Tha means moon – hence it means a combination and balance of both these energies). This type of yoga combines asanas (postures) and pranayams (breathing) in such a manner that the body gains complete internal and external balance and thereby revitalization and full health.

What do you need to do yoga?

You need nothing more than a will to do it and little time. There are yoga exercises that affect certain parts of the body and mind – hence, you could learn and practice only those exercises that you find useful to yourself or you could practice yoga that promotes general health like Bikram yoga. There are yoga exercises that practically help any type of affliction – diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, gastric problems, kidney problems, cancer, depression, anxiety, memory loss, and so on.

What are the accessories you need when you do yoga?

All you need for yoga is some loose fitting clothing which would allow your body to stretch without any effort or restraint and possibly a slip proof mat is you do not prefer to exercise on the floor. Other than that you need only your will power and a tenacity to stick with a daily routine of yoga exercises.

Why is the word ‘Om’ pronounces while doing yoga?

Yoga is a combination of physical and mental exercises which help the human being become one with the Universe or God. The word ‘Om’ is believe to create special vibration which are beneficial for the body and mind; besides it creates a channel whereby the body’s energy communicates with that of the Universe. This is why the word ‘Om’ (pronounced as aum) is used in the beginning and the end of the yoga session.

Can yoga help me loose weight?

Yoga can help a lot of conditions – and yes, it can help reduce weight. There are exercises that are meant to help you loose weight – provided you are willing to exercise daily for at least 20 – 30 minutes. Yoga can control your appetite, regulate and bring down the levels of cholesterol in your blood and increase your metabolic rate to burn more calories so you could loose weight faster. The only thing that is most important besides learning the exact exercises for your health concern is that you should practice it regularly and forever. You should not stop doing yoga if you want optimum results.

What if I want to only learn the meditation part of yoga?

Yoga is a combination of physical exercises and meditation. For best impact on the body, both should be practices as advised by the yoga teacher. However, in case you are inclined towards the meditation part of yoga, there are sufficient simple asanas which enhance the capacity of meditating. You would need to identify those postures which are the most comfortable for you and meditate to your heart’s content.

Is there any bar for doing yoga?

No, fortunately there is absolutely no bar – in age, physical condition or sex – for doing yoga. However, beginners are advised not to start doing yoga on their own at home. Many of the postures are intricate – but not difficult if done the right way. Many people get injured while doing yoga wrongly. Yoga is never harmful if done right – hence, you need to learn to do it the right way first.

When is the best time to do yoga?

Yoga is best done at sunrise. According to the yoga fundamentals, the first rays of the sun and the air inhaled at that time are extremely beneficial for human beings. This is why yoga is best done just before the sunrise continuing through the sunrise. However, you could still do yoga any other time of the day – and the body movements/ stretches, breathing exercises and meditation have their own plus points even without the ideal conditions provided by the sunrise.

Kundalini yoga faq

Also known as yoga of awareness, kundalini yoga is a form of yoga focused on awakening and employing kundalini energy which is believed to be colied at the base of the spine. Kundalini refers to 'she who is colied'