The philosophy of Yoga roots in India and started an estimated 2,000 years ago. The word yoga, coming from the Sanskrit word yuj, means to yoke or to bind and is often interpreted as “union”. Yoga is seen as a method of discipline and as a powerful tool for self-transformation.

Unlike stretching or fitness, yoga is more than just physical practice. The Yoga sutras (scriptures) illustrate how the physical practice is just one aspect of yoga. Even within the physical practice yoga is unique because it connects movement of the body and fluctuations of the mind to the rhythm of our breath. It asks us to bring our attention to our breath, which helps us to still the the mind and be more present in the unfolding of each moment. On the yoga mat the body is used as a tool to move through a set of physical exercises (known as asanas or postures) and sequences of asanas, designed to align skin, muscles, and bones. The postures are also designed to open the many channels of the body. The focus is often on the main channel, which is located in the spine, so that the energy can flow freely.

Yoga is a path towards the unification of opposites and the creation of balance. In our physical bodies we develop a balance of strength and flexibility but we also learn to balance our effort and surrender in each pose.

Why do yoga?

Just to give you a short answer: yoga makes you feel better. Practicing yoga postures, moving on the breath, the breathing exercises and meditation makes you healthier in body, mind and spirit. Yoga lets you tune in, chill out, shape up — all at the same time. But there’s more if you’re interested.

For starters, yoga has many benefits. Just to name a few. Yoga improves the muscle tone, flexibility, strength and stamina. It reduces stress and tension and boosts self esteem, improves concentration and creativity and Improves circulation as well as stimulates the immune system and on top of it all… creates a sense of well being and calm.

And that’s just the surface stuff. In fact, most of the benefits mentioned above are secondary to yoga’s original purpose. Yoga means “union” in Sanskrit, the classical language of India, the concept of union has a powerful down-to-Earth meaning. Yoga helps us get in touch with our true selves; it is a methodology for developing a deeper experience of yourself and the world.

Yoga makes you feel really good, and so you give yourself a meaningful gift on many levels by starting with yoga. Beginning a yoga practice when you are new to yoga can be challenging especially when you don’t know what to expect or have not done some physical exercises in a while. That’s why at YogaFest we offer a great course to start your yoga journey. This two-hour introduction is designed to gradually introduce students to the fundamentals of yoga practice.

I’m not Flexible- Can I do Yoga?

Yes! You are a perfect candidate for yoga. Many people think that they need to be flexible to start yoga, but that’s a little bit like thinking that you need to be able to play tennis in order to take tennis lessons. Come as you are and you will find that yoga practice will help you become more flexible.

Link to the course:

by Marlene Henny

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