Yoga is a system of physical and mental exercises designed to balance and unite the mind, body, and spirit. The classical techniques of Yoga date back more than 5,000 years. The word ‘yoga’ means to “to join or yoke together”.

One of the philosophies of yoga is that by balancing your body, you’ll learn to focus your mind, which will improve your health and spiritual well-being.

Types of Yoga

There are many different types of yoga. Each type has its own philosophies and practices. Some styles of yoga are meditative and focused on spiritual centeredness. Other styles of yoga are more physical and based on poses or exercises. Yogas that are more physical are called Asanas.

Benefits of practicing yoga

  • increases flexibility and stamina
  • strengthens muscles
  • promotes relaxation
  • improves balance and concentration
  • improves circulation

Before you start

There are many different types of yoga and many styles of teaching. Shop around and find a yoga type and teaching style that best fits your needs. A good teacher can make a huge difference in how well you succeed. You should also consult your physician, and let your teacher know if you have any health problems.

How to find a good Yoga teacher

Finding a good yoga teacher is like finding a good doctor or hairdresser-you have to ask around and then try out a few different people. Also, ask the instructor plenty of questions:

  • Is the yoga being taught vigorous or gentle?
  • What is a good class time for beginners?
  • Should I bring anything, like a yoga mat, or is that supplied?
  • How much is each class?
  • Where was the teacher trained? (Most teachers should have 200 to 500 hours of training.)
  • How long has the teacher been instructing?

Once you start

Have patience and practice regularly. Set a goal of how frequent you want to practice. Your goal should be easy to meet and then build upon it. While practicing yoga, don’t force your body into a pose or make movements that cause pain.