Yoga newbies, do not fear; you are not alone. At For the Core, we've rounded up the most frequently asked questions that every beginner wants answered...
I'm not very flexible. Can I still practice Yoga?
"Saying you’re not flexible enough for yoga is like saying you’re too dirty for a bath!" - this commonly quoted yoga meme really does run true. If you’ve found yourself saying the above then you probably need a yoga practice in your life more than anyone. Ignore all the beautiful shapes and regularly unachievable yoga posts you see on social media; yoga is not about achieving the perfect final position like a gymnast, it’s about your journey and reaching your body’s full potential. Let’s face it, we’re not built in the same way, we are all structurally unique and some poses are better suited to different body shapes and sizes. Always remember to let go of any expectations when you reach your mat.
How often should I practice?
The benefits of yoga can certainly be experienced even after practicing for as little as one hour a week. If you can set aside time to practice more regularly and consistently, you will notice greater improvements such as: getting better sleep, improving your flexibility, becoming more focused to weight loss and so much more! The key is to not let time restraints or unrealistic goals be an obstacle - do what you can and you’ll find the more you do, the more it becomes a part of your lifestyle.
What does 'Namaste' mean?
Let's break it down: ‘Nama’ means ‘bow’, ‘as’ means I, and ‘te’ means you. So, 'Namaste' literally means ‘bow to me and you’ and ‘I bow to you’ but a deeper meaning could be interpreted: my soul honours your soul. I honour the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honour the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you, because it is also within me. In sharing these things we are united, we are the same, we are one. You may hear teachers saying 'Namaste' at the end of class during a moment of stillness with hands in prayer and a gentle bowing to initiate a symbol of gratitude and respect between the teacher and their students. The student is not required to respond, but it is a polite and lovely gesture to do so.
Don't men just go to Yoga to pick up women?
When learning about the long and ancient yogic tradition, the culture around yoga has changed so dramatically. It was common place for mostly men to practice yoga and has only in the past century been embraced by women and brought to popularity in Western cultures. Today, we see more and more men feeling comfortable and embracing the practice in classes. More mixed classes exist as the knowledge and benefits are being promoted for every human, man, woman, child... Including here at For the Core, of course!
Is Yoga a religion?
Yoga is an ancient Indian philosophy, estimated to be a 5,000 year old discipline originating from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the 8 limbs of yoga, which provide a framework for exploring spiritual growth, as well as, mental and physical self mastery. Yoga sometimes interweaves other philosophies such as Hinduism or Buddhism, but is not necessarily a study of these paths. Yoga embraces every human and welcomes them with open arms - finding the right teacher and class for you to develop is the next step.