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WHAT IS YOGA: The Ultimate Yoga Guide For Beginners

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What is Yoga

You must have heard or even read the word ‘yoga’ somewhere, right? Have you ever wondered what yoga really is? Like really…

Some of us may think it’s just the poses, postures and the closing of eyes that makes one look like they are in another peaceful world, definitely not earth.

According to Wikipedia’s definition, yoga is a group of disciplines and/or practices involving the spiritual, physical and mental aspects of a human being.

Apparently, yoga originated in ancient India (am sure you all guessed that).

It is considered part of the Hindu philosophical traditions of six orthodox schools. Noting that in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism there is a myriad of yoga goals, schools, and practices.

Yoga Connects to Your Most Intimate Self

In the modern Western world definition, yoga is seen as a composite of postures commonly known as asanas, yoga as exercise and Hatha yoga.

Yoga is big and essential. UNESCO listed yoga in December 2016, referring to it as an ‘intangible cultural heritage’.

Yoga History

You must be curious; how did yoga come to being?

Well, yoga dates back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions. However, its development and absorption heightened in the 5th and 6th centuries BCE, during the Sramana and ascetic ancient India movements.

According to Yoga Basics, yoga’s history and practice can be subdivided into 4 periods:

 

Tantra yoga involves radical techniques that are meant to cleanse the body and mind. By doing so, these techniques are meant to break any existing knots tying us to the physical existence. Woah, that’s deep!

For example, Sivananda started the Divine Life Society located in holy Ganges River banks and Krishnamacharya founded the first Hatha Yoga school situated in Mysore. They further engaged in writing and teaching to spread yoga.

Sivananda wrote over 200 yoga books and Krishnamacharya had three remarkable yoga students that grew his legacy. This was the beginning of the thousands of yoga centers across the world today.

We definitely owe these spectacular yoga leaders big time!

Yoga facts: Did you know…

  • That Yoga Sutras surprisingly are not accepted globally?
  • That body image is more than just a modern yoga problem?
  • In the past, women who practiced yoga were sexually objectified or even invisible?
  • When it comes to yoga cultural and religious identity and appropriation and debates, they are conflicting and muddier than we imagine?
  • The yoga term ‘Vinyasa’ did not originally refer to the “sequence of poses”?
  • The chakras are both a spiritual dream and a felt reality?
  • Even though the medieval yogis practiced pranayama and asana, they knew very well the potential danger they withheld?
  • During the medieval pranayama, self-sufficiency was considered the dominant theme?

Yoga philosophy

The yoga philosophy is deep.  It is not about getting into shape, flexibility or even turning to a better you. It’s beyond your mind and ego.

Yoga is a technique of realizing and creating oneness with reality. It defines our true nature.

Basically, with yoga, the bridge between our brain and heart is reduced.

Yoga = Union 

For a clear understanding, Patanjali defines the eight limbs of yoga.

Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga

This Hindu philosopher advises that for one to derive emancipation, better known as moksha, the eight modes or limbs are done together.

However, each limb can be done separately, without much pressure.

The practice of these limbs will enable you to realize your true nature and explore the truth which goes beyond your mind.

Do you wish to raise life awakening? Embrace these yoga sutras and immerse yourself into yoga with this key goal; and not just because your friends do it and you would love to hang out with them.

Is yoga right for me?

Are you just making an excuse not to toss yourself into yoga or are you very interested but genuinely worried?

Bring your peace and calmness back with Yoga

Either way, we answer your worries below;

  1. Not flexible enough

Sweetheart, yoga is not acrobatics! Better yet its never a competition on who poses best. Every yoga beginner did not start pulling that pose like a veteran, no…they learned over time. And so can you.

All you need is patience and an open mind; keeping in kind your core goal of choosing yoga.

Start with once per week for 4-6 weeks and you will be surprised the poses you can easily twist (hehehe…not literally though) into.

Flexibility only comes with time. So, don’t quit trying yoga just because you think you are not flexible enough.

2. In bad shape

Can’t help wondering, what do you mean out of shape or in bad shape? Some of these lies we tell ourselves are all in our minds! And guess what? We have control over that!

So, if you fill you are unfit, start doing something.

The good news is, our bodies are made to change; we just have to dictate how.

If that’s not enough most Yoga studios are very professional and more than willing to help you throughout your journey.

Just take the first step and have faith!

3. Calming down and relaxing is not my portion!

Who doesn’t need that calmness and peace of mind in their lives? May it be you have a stressful job, being a working mom is killing you, or life is just smiling at you at the moment; yoga is what you need!

The relaxing postures (asanas), meditation, breathing techniques as well as diet recommendations work in harmony to relax and calm you down.

Try yoga, consistently, then come back and tell us your experience.

Honestly, when I first tried yoga, I thought that was a crazy idea because my mind runs fast and I mean faasst!

Surprising, that was all I needed to connect with the deeper intimate me.

4. I have a bad back

This is more than a genuine concern.

But guess what? Yoga is recommended by medical doctors for individuals with back problems or injuries.

They actually claim that through yoga back pains and problems are less likely to recur.

Yoga has proven to heal and relieve back ailments, neck and shoulder pain as well as sciatica.

However, it should be noted, this is not a miracle pill…no. Start yoga and do it consistently with the right guidance.

5. I want to lose weight; not sure yoga will do that for me.

Oh yeah! Yoga will.

Research has shown that yoga is great when it comes to weight loss.

However, it is recommended that for best results and to achieve holistic health and fitness, you should combine yoga with cardio workouts such as swimming, biking or even running and walking.

Parting shot

Have you been thinking about joining your friends for yoga? Or have you passed by a yoga studio often and got a tingling feeling like you should try it? Just do it.

Try it, don’t let anyone tell you its good or not for you. Make an informed decision yourself.

One thing I can promise you is that yoga is an essential part of living a calm and connected life. If this is what you need in your life, at whatever level, please join yoga today. Don’t postpone it.

Check out for other subsequent yoga articles in our blog to stay informed.

All the best. Cheers!

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