Yoga is an ancient art and science with a vast array of practical applications in modern life. The physical practice of yoga uses the asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing) as a tool for concentration. By linking our mind and body with intention and effort, we can tap into the vital energy available to us all. By working the body, controlling the breath and quieting the mind, we create a stable, calm center from which we can live our lives. Yoga is a powerful practice to help us deal with our daily challenges in a more graceful and empowering way.
Yoga is a lifelong practice that changes and evolves with us and there’s no need to do it all on the first try. Remember it is not a competition with others or yourself. We not only remind ourselves this each time we arrive, but many times throught the class. Challenge yourself but don’t push too hard – yoga should never be painful. If you can’t breathe, it’s a warning to back off a little and reduce the intensity of the pose. If you push too hard, you not only risk injury, but lose the maximum benefit of the practice.
There are many modifications available for the physical poses to make them more or less challenging depending on your needs. No one is too stiff, old, overweight, or out of shape to begin.
Yoga practice helps you build strength, increase flexibility, and develop greater mental focus. Remember, the hardest part is walking through the studio’s front door! Try different classes and talk with your teachers (they like questions). Over time, you can tailor an individualized practice that emphasizes exactly what you need.