What is yoga?
Yoga, as defined by the classical texts, means ‘union’ or ‘to yoke’.
What needs to be united?
For many of us, this can be our connection to our environment, our relationships, our body, our breath, emotions, thoughts and on a deeper level, to our Spirit.
Traditionally, the word yoga has also been defined as the cessation of mind fluctuations, and an 8-point system has been systematically coded more than 2000 years ago to help practitioners reach this state of mind.
Today, many associate yoga with physical postures for strength and flexibility; however, Yoga expands much further than just the care of the body, and has a profound effect on integrating body, mind and spirit.
Is yoga a religion?
As defined by Wikipedia, religion is “an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence”. In this way, yes, yoga can be a religion!
However, for most of us, yoga is not a religion according to the connotation we have of modern day religious practices.
There is no dogma in the practice of Yoga and you do not have to have a specific set of spiritual beliefs or practices in order to be a practitioner of Yoga.
In reality, one who practices Yoga can go deeper into any religious practices because Yoga provides unity between heart, mind & spirit, enhancing clarity, wisdom & compassion, which can enrich any religious practice as well as daily living.
What does Om mean?
Om is a sound vibration or mantra that is of Sanskrit origin and found in many Dharmic religious practices.
It is said to be the primordial sound; the sound of all sounds.
When chanted aloud, it carries a vibration that is very harmonising to the energy centres of the body and relaxes the mind. Om is the reflection of absolute reality and is the sound of the Universe.
It is typically chanted at the beginning and end of a yoga practice to create a sacred container for the practice.
How is yoga different from stretching or other kinds of fitness?
Yoga can include stretching and strengthening postures, but it also has the capacity to enrich the mind through relaxation, developing awareness, flexibility, concentration and consciousness.
Additionally, the practice of yoga can influence our energetic body, particularly along the meridian lines, as well as help the practitioner to balance emotions and mental tendencies.
In general, Yoga is a much more holistic practice because it integrates body, mind and spirit.
How is elemental yoga different from other types of yoga?
The practice of Elemental Yoga brings a therapeutic approach to yoga in that each sequence is designed to balance specific constitutional physiologies.
Elemental yoga is the practice of hatha yoga; however Elemental yoga also integrates the concept of the 5 Elements into the practice. Specifically, Elemental Yoga arranges a sequence of physical yoga postures that directly affect the meridian pathways in our energetic body.
These meridian pathways correspond to elemental energies or organ energies within our body and mind, responsible for our physical, mental & emotional physiology.
Each organ energy correlates to one of the five elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Space.
How often should I practice yoga?
Yoga is a way of life and should be practiced daily!
A physical yoga practice such as those demonstrated in the Elemental Yoga Video Series can be practiced daily or as many times a week as one enjoys.
Of course to see progress, the practice should be consistent.
How should I practice Elemental Yoga?
Elemental Yoga can be practiced anywhere, at any time of the day. Ideally, the sequences are best to do in a quiet space, preferably early morning or late evening.
One should approach Elemental Yoga with joy, curiosity and a willingness to learn and progress. This practice is open to all, new or experienced practitioners.
I’m not flexible—can I do yoga?
Yes! And with a consistent practice, you will also gain flexibility.
I have an ongoing problem with my back/shoulder/neck/knee, etc. Will yoga help?
Yes, absolutely. The practice of yoga can enhance flexibility, reduce stiffness, improve blood circulation, breath and releive tension from the body. This in turn can heal injuries and improve overall well being.
However, one should always be responsible for their body and not push beyond its limits, honoring the body’s capacity for physical postures.
What Do I Need to Begin?
A yoga mat, comfortable clothing, an open mind, alertness and a willingness to learn and evolve!