1. Hot or Not? Is ‘Hot’ Yoga for you?
Sweat away your fears, pains, karma and love handles. Sounds good to me. Sign me up!… Wait a second!
Our organs may be taking more abuse than needed when we’re sweatin’ away here on our mats. The body works hard to regulate itself so put on those speedos (yeah, I said speedos) with caution. Do your research and try one class…. if it changes your world, awesome! If not, stick to the non-heated. Your organs might be really happy you did!
2. Do I have to be flexible to practice yoga?
Y e s. I n y o u r m i n d. Be flexible that what you can do is all you need to do. Be flexible with your self-acceptance and appreciate this is all the flexibility one needs to be “good” at yoga. Like many things, when we practice as result of hours and effort a positive reward is offered. This might mean touching your toes or a back bend, however what gets us to that point is first the flexibility to try, and try again, and you got it, keep trying. It’s the journey. First relax, then stretch your mind.
3. Is Yoga a Religion?
No, but Love is. Thanks Ziggly Marley!
Yoga (the yoking or union of mind, body and soul) is a spoke on a wheel of an ancient, system of medicine and philosophy originating in the Saraswati Region of India dating back more than 10,000 years ago! In the ’60’s some famous yogis were brought over from India to California and impressed everyone with their levitation and esoteric practices. The Beatles travelled with their own yogi (including Ravi Shankar…Nora Jones’s papa) , as well, spent time with one now very famous guru in India. Since the meeting of ‘east’ and ‘west’ yoga has offered something for everyone, and for some it is an exercise and for others it is a total life of devotion.
4. Does Downward Dog Get Easier?
Maybe…. Lets get a little technical here. There’s a lot going on when we go upside down. To save you the wrist pain, first, take it slow. If 5 breaths is too much then come down to all fours and work on lifting the energy of your hands (called Hasta Bandha), then consider your shoulders and the space between you hips and rib cage. A great alternative to a full downward dog pose is “half dog” by putting you hands shoulder height at the wall, walking back so your torso is parallel to the floor and enjoying the posture.
5. Is it ok to sleep during Svasana?
Be awake, aware, and drift into a state of bliss. Just between you and I… there have been classes I’ve fallen into a deep slumber and the worry of being left in class vanishes. When my body sinks into the floor, the room is the perfect temperature, the teachers voice like a lullaby and then without any inhibition, I sleep. Ok, so it happens to most everyone, and as a teacher, I let people sleep in my class. If you need it, get it, is my motto. However, there will come a time when our body, nervous system, adrenal glands and soul are rested and we can use svasana as the medicine it is. A time to sink into awareness, which is bliss. A state of consciousness completely awake and aware. In the meantime, get your zzz’s.
6. How often should I practice?
Great question! Lets first throw out that word, should. In life there are no should’s, could’s, would’s. It is, as it is. Ok, so I wonder what is the optimal amount of time needed to put into a yoga practice so that I can reap the sound mind, sleek body, and yoga glow? Yoga is a medicine and like a herb, it takes time to take effect. It comes on slowly and mostly we adapt to the practice. Each pose has an effect on our physical and subtle bodies. Really, practice each day for twenty minutes. Stretch and make space in your body. Once a week get in an hour or more of stretch and strength, or whatever you’re needing. If you need more get more, but know, more isn’t better, integrating is. The mat is practice. Sit up at the computer, stand square on your feet at the bank line, breath into your belly while driving, touch your toes when getting out of bed.
7. What does Om mean? Oh, and Namaste?
In my world Om is everyday vernacular and I really appreciate getting this question because it is a reminder of the beautiful definition. I understand “OM” or “AUM” to be a sacred sound which is considered a seed sound, meaning this sound is what created the universe. There are 7 (or more) sounds that resonate with our body and OM / AUM is one of the higher vibration sounds opening through the top of the head.
And, Namaste, well, depends who you ask. Generally, it is word of acknowledgement and casual blessings. In the west we use Namaste to identify gratitude and a classic sampling of this is “Nama” means bow, “as” means I, and “te” means you. Therefore, Namaste literally means “bow me you” or I bow to you”.
Jessica Beck via Salts Organic Yoga Clothing