Yoga has become firmly established as a popular form of exercise over the past few decades, but some people still equate it with a special religion or something only rubber-jointed people can do. That misinformation isn’t further from the truth. Here are some answers to a few common questions about yoga.
Q: What does yoga mean?
A: Yoga literally means “union” in Sanskrit.
The practice is designed to unite your mind and body, as well as your spirit, through deep breathing, peaceful meditation and physical poses that both stretch and strengthen the body.
Q: Do I need to attend classes?
Though yoga classes can be great fun and provide you with the motivation to carry on. Also, an instructor can ensure that you’re doing the moves correctly and that you avoid injury.
Classes are also a good way to meet like-minded people who, like you, are committed to improving their health.
Q: If I can’t touch my toes, can I still do yoga?
Just as people who are out of shape should walk and lift weights to increase their physical fitness, so people with tight muscles and stiff joints can reap benefits from practising yoga.
Just start slowly, modifying the poses as you need to — and never stretch to the point of pain. Within a few weeks, you should see noticeable improvements in your flexibility.
Q: Should I see my doctor first?
A: It is worth checking with your doctor before taking unaccustomed exercise if you have medical problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis or obesity.
If you’re considering taking up yoga keep these answers in mind to help you make your decision.