Introduction to Yoga

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Mats, cats, lats, and pants: all part of the wonderful world of yoga.

So, you want to practice yoga. Or maybe you just want to improve your overall health and well-being with one of the most versatile, relaxing, and trendy exercise programs in the history of human civilization. Yoga has become a common sight in our culture, and even those who are unfamiliar with the postures can identify an angry cat or a down dog.

Like any different culture, yoga has its own language, clothing, and customs. Do you practice alone, or with a group? Should you take a class? Which type of yoga is right for you? How much Sanskrit do I need to know? Luckily, yoga has a presence in every neighborhood, regardless of climate. language, or income bracket.

The Ancient and the Modern

When you step on to your yoga mat, you’re moving through more than 3000 years of human history. Sanskrit texts from India that mention yoga date back this far, to the spiritual and religious origins of yoga. Yoga as a path to self-awareness and better perception is still a part of most modern yoga practices. In fact, this holistic approach that serves both the body and mind is part of yoga’s universal appeal.

You Need Stuff, But Not Money

Despite perceptions of yoga that include upscale spas, polished studios, and designer accessories, yoga doesn’t have to be expensive. It also doesn’t have to be trendy or fashionable, and you don’t have to be a rich hipster to have a rewarding and sincere practice.

Mats can range in price from around $20 to several hundred dollars, available from the local supermarket or online boutique. Any domestic animals you have will appreciate these soft but firm, comfy yet cool strips of colorful foam, no matter where you got them. Yogi purchased and cat approved, you might say. Expensive yoga pants are fashionable and fun, but your jogging pants or bathing suit boy-shorts will work just as well. Yoga resources are so ubiquitous that many videos, designed for all levels of ability, are available free of charge on Smartphone Apps and online venues like YouTube.

Choosing Your Yoga

There are between six to fourteen types of yoga, depending on who you ask. This doesn’t always include the combinations that integrate other exercises like Pilates and aerobic movements into the practice. To work on certain muscle groups, try the more intense Vaseyana, or a yoga practice that integrates Pilates postures. There are also kinds of yoga developed to focus on specific parts of the body, or as rehabilitation after an operation or injury. Beginners are usually recommended to try Hatha, which moves slowly through the poses, and combines meditation and breathing into the practice.

The Sanskrit Connection

Understanding some Sanskrit isn’t mandatory in the world of yoga, but it is very helpful. You’ll find yourself picking up words and phrases just through use and demonstration, no phrasebook or tutor required. Knowing some Sanskrit will help you decipher the different types of yoga and their related postures. Some of these ancient terms are still used, such as the “Namaste” (thank you) that follows every practice.

Part of the appeal of yoga is that it nourishes our whole self, including the spirit and mind, while also maintaining our physical well-being. The practice has more than survived. It has thrived, and grown into a myriad of different practices. What they all have in common is your spiritual, mental and physical well-being. It’s important to acknowledge the positive effects that yoga has had on our society as as whole, and when you become a part of the world of yoga, this also becomes clear. Namaste, brave beginners, and mind Fluffy when you’re doing the sitting poses.

Tanks Perfect for Yoga

Dog Monsters carries a wide selection of tank top designs that would be perfect for a yoga session.  The racerback design helps keep the straps on your shoulders and the breathable fabric will keep you cool.

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