Is Yoga a religion?
No, Yoga is a Sanskrit word which means “union”: of body, mind and soul. It offers guidelines for all aspects of your life: postures & breathing techniques for your BODY; concentration for your MIND; and meditation for your SOUL. It also offers ethical guidelines in the Yamas or Niyamas – sort of the Hindu version of the Ten Commandments. But Yoga is not dogmatic. You can be any religion you want (or none) and practice it. What we can say is that yoga makes you closer to your spiritual part by helping you go inwards, into your soul.
Is Yoga a sport?
No. Yoga is a non-competitive discipline that not only unites the mind and body but the spirit as well. Yoga works on one’s physical part by mainly strengthening, stretching and relaxing the skeletal, muscular, glandular, and nervous systems. Mentally, it increases alertness and concentration. And, spiritually, it is a way of self-knowledge – a mirror to reflect the brightest and purest part of yourself. When we start to “dis-identify” with our thoughts and experience them just as thoughts and not as reality itself, then the “path to freedom” begins to unfold. And that path is as sweet as a ripe mango!
Do I need to be in shape, be flexible or have any past experience with exercise to do yoga?
No. All people of various shapes and sizes, mental and physical abilities, age groups, and so on, can find a Yoga class that is right for their abilities. Any Yoga class can be generalized to fit several different types of people or specialized to accommodate all sorts of special needs. The importance of taking things nice and slow, working at one’s own pace and doing what feels right for the individual is a basis for all yoga practice.
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