What is Yoga?
From the Sanskrit word yuj, the word yoga, means to yoke or bind, and is often interpreted as "union". A male who practices yoga is called a yogi and a female practitioner is called a yogini.
The Indian sage Patanjali is believed to have composed 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 guidebook of philosophy for most commonly practiced modern day yoga. It also outlines the eight limbs of yoga: the yamas (restraints), niyama (observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyani (meditation), and samadhi (absorption). As we explore these eight limbs, we are likely to begin refining our behavior in the outer world, and then begin to focus inwardly until we reach samadhi (liberation, enlightenment).
Most people practicing yoga today are engaged in the third limb, asana (or pose), which is a series of physical postures designed to increase awareness within the body and provide physical strength and stamina. The physical practice was originally designed to create quietude within the mind and body in preparation for long periods of meditation.
Do I have to be flexible to do Yoga?
No! Bring the body that you have and you will find that yoga practice will help you become more flexible. Your instructor will have props and modifications so that you can fully enjoy each pose in your own way.
In fact, Patanjali never stated anything about limitless flexibility in the Yoga Sutras. Yoga asana are about balance of effort and ease, just as life itself is. The depth of understanding one reaches in the practice of asana has nothing to do with the flexibility of the practitioner. Everyone’s experience of asana is unique and should be respected as such, without judgment or competition.
What is the difference between Yoga and Pilates?
The benefits of Yoga and Pilates look almost exactly the same on paper. Both provide improved strength, flexibility, mindful breath work, and improved coordination. However, the means to the end is very different. Yoga is an ancient practice that provides a framework for personal growth and mastery over the physical and mental body