Beginner Yoga | Yoga 101 Getting Started Guide
Beginner Yoga | Yoga 101 Guide
New to yoga? Confused by so many terms and strange names? Don’t worry, I have answers for you. Here are 3 yoga for beginners words explained in more detail. If you have taken a YogaShape Method class with me you will notice there are no oms, no chanting and all of the poses have been renamed as this class is designed to bring yoga to all. I want you to focus on moving your body and get results.
1. What Is Yoga?
The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj, means to yoke or bind, and is often interpreted as "union" or a method of discipline. A male who practices yoga is called a yogi, a female practitioner, a yogini. Although lots of people just refer to themself as a yogi these days including myself.
The Indian sage Patanjali is believed to have collated the practice of yoga into the Yoga Sutra an estimated 2,000 years ago. The Sutra is a collection of 195 statements that serves as a philosophical guidebook for most of the yoga that is practiced today. It also outlines eight limbs of yoga: the yamas (restraints), niyamas (observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyani (meditation), and samadhi (absorption). As we explore these eight limbs, we begin by refining our behavior in the outer world, and then we focus inwardly until we reach samadhi (liberation, enlightenment).
The YogaShape Method focuses on the third limb, asana, which is a method of physical postures designed to cleanse the body and provide physical strength, increased stamina and a more toned and fit body.
2. What Does Hatha Yoga Mean?
The YogaShape Method is based on Hatha yoga. In case you are wondering what the heck does Hatha mean, let me explain further. The word hatha means willful or forceful. Hatha yoga refers to a set of physical exercises (known as asanas or postures), and sequences of asanas, designed to align your skin, muscles, and bones. We do a Hatha styled sun salutation series of four or more in every YogaShape Method class. The postures are also designed to open the body especially the spine—so that energy can flow freely. To me this is the secret fountain of youth as a flexible spine will enable you to do anything you want and feel like a spring chicken doing it from zooming down the ski slopes to having a full range of motion on the golf course. So when your downdogging’ it with me on the mat you know that this class has incorporated some Hatha moves into it for a total body workout.
Hatha is also translated as ha meaning "sun" and tha meaning "moon." This refers to the balance of masculine aspects—active, hot, sun—and feminine aspects—receptive, cool, moon—within all of us. Hatha yoga is a path toward creating balance and uniting opposites. In our physical bodies we develop a balance of strength and flexibility. Hatha yoga also focuses a lot on balance and sending deeper breath to each pose in effect to surrender your body to the pose for maximum benefits.
Hatha yoga is a powerful tool for self-transformation. In YogaShape we constantly focus on our breath, this helps you calm your mind and put a stop to any racing thoughts. Thus, you become more present and mindful and you have one pure hour of bliss without your mind working on overdrive thinking about what you are cooking for dinner, cleaning your messy house or working on that sales report for your boss.
3. What is OM? What Does It Mean?
We don’t chant Om’s in The YogaShape Method because some people quite frankly are freaked out by this and think it is weird. My goal is to get you on the mat, get your body moving and have you enjoy your first few yoga classes. I want you to love yoga and realize the many benefits that it has. The YogaShape method as I say will change your body in 30 days or less, guaranteed. But in a lot of yoga classes they do chant “Om” quite a bit. Om is said to be the sound of the universe. Om is a mantra, or vibration, that is traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of yoga sessions.
Somehow the ancient yogis knew what scientists today are telling us—that the our universe is constantly moving. Nothing is ever solid or still. Everything that exists pulsates, creating a rhythmic vibration that the ancient yogis acknowledged with the sound of Om. We may not always be aware of this sound in our daily lives, but we can hear it in the rustling of the autumn leaves, the waves on the shore, the inside of a seashell.
Chanting Om allows us to recognize our experience as a reflection of how the whole universe moves—the setting sun, the rising moon, the ebb and flow of the tides, the beating of our hearts. As we chant Om, it takes us for a ride on this universal movement, through our breath, our awareness, and our physical energy, and we begin to sense a bigger connection that is both uplifting and soothing.
Now you know more about the history of yoga, what Hatha yoga means as well as the meaning of chanting OM in class. I am thrilled that you are here reading my blog and hopefully taking some of my online FREE The YogaShape Method classes. I am on a mission to bring yoga to all and to get people to love their bodies. Use it or lose it. As you grow with your yoga practice I encourage you to try other yoga classes, sign up for your first yoga retreat and attend a yoga festival to find the one you like the most. Find the ones that resonate with you and help you transcend your life and create a lifelong habit and mantra of it’s not just yoga it is life.