What is yoga?
Yoga is many things, according to Pantanjali yoga sutra's 8 limbs of yoga, there are 8 parts of a yoga practice; Yamas - external guide to how we affect other people, Niyamas – internal instructions on managing our own life, Asana - physical poses, Pranayama - respiratory exercises, Pratyahara – control of the senses, Dharana - focused concentration, Dhyana meditation and Samadhi – present, connected and surrender.
When we usually talk about yoga, we talk about Asana, the physical poses. Although these are the ones we do in our yoga exercise, all the other areas naturally weave into our practice, so through physical poses we work with all the 8 limbs of yoga. This is what distinguishes yoga from all other physical training.
Yoga means, among other things, "To unite." In the context of yoga, you become aware of the connection between the breath, the body and the mind. As you gain greater body awareness, you will get to know your body better and become aware of how your mind works.
Yoga can be a transforming process, both physically and mentally. As the physical poses become more and more familiar for the body, it opens up for tension and blockages, which thus allows you to open up and remove blockages in your own life.
Physical benefits of yoga are stronger and more toned muscles that is less prone to injury. But it is the work on the mental body-mind balance that can help you through stress or unstable periods of your life, which is crucial to your well-being.
Yoga is a unique tool to get to know your body and your own resources. Yoga both relaxes and vitalizes you, it strengthens and mobilizes your joins, and muscles and acts deeply regenerating. Physical deterioration is prevented and remedied by regular practice, increasing your energy level and resilience.
It can be difficult to calm the mind with all the thoughts that constantly fly around in our head. But if you do not find a way to relax, it can quickly end up with stress, lack of concentration and failing memory. Yoga teaches the body and mind to relax and let go. In addition, your mental balance is strengthened in situations under pressure and you will experience increased clarity in your life. When practicing yoga, you’re spending time and energy on working with yourself, the strength and balance that yoga gives you both physically and mentally, provides you with more compassion for yourself and for others.
Yoga is for everyone regardless of age, sex, size and previous experiences with yoga. It is not necessary to be particularly flexible or strong. As long as you’re ready to work with yourself and your body, and you’re willing to listen to your body and respond honestly to what it tells you.
Yoga creates balance in the body and mind, provides physical and mental well-being, it increases energy, relieves tension and stress and increased body awareness. Yoga is physical as well as mental exercise for the body and mind, it's about being present, being present in what you’re doing right now.
Yoga has a particularly positive influence on: Muscular tension, the mental state, stress, concentration, depression and balance. Yoga Asana is in itself physical training, but also helps to calm your mind if you feel stressed. Yoga helps maintain mobility in muscles and tendons, and is a great addition to running, strength training and other sports.
When energy is allowed to flow freely in the body, in areas that has previously been blocked and you start to use muscles that are not used to being activated, you may experience some kind of discomfort. However, direct pain is not tolerated, and if you experience pain, you exit the pose or pull back a little until the pain disappears.
When performing the poses, focus your attention on the reactions and signals you experience in your body and adjust your alignment and position based on this feedback.
Try to do the poses based on the instructions you get from the teacher and concentrate on following it as well as possible. If you cannot do a certain pose, do the best you can. Doing something is better than not doing anything, it's a process in itself to acknowledge that something is possible and something might not, currently, be possible, both are equally good.