6 Important Facts About Yoga (portions contributed by the editors of Yoga Journal)
1. What is yoga?
The 6000 year old, time tested, practice of yoga is comprised of stretching and breathing exercises designed to attain liberation. It enables you to gain bodily and/or mental control thereby improving your physical health as well as your mental health.
2. How do I clean my yoga mat?
Although there are now a large variety of yoga sticky mats on the market most are still comprised of a pvc vinyl material. These yoga mats can/should be cleaned by using warm water and a grease cutting soap. The mat can then be towel dried or air dried. Yoga mats should be cleaned prior to initial use and then every so often - depending on use. Mat disinfectant sprays can also be used and are strongly recommended if multiple people are using the same yoga mat.
3. How do I 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. If you don't know anyone who does yoga, look in the Yellow Pages under "yoga" and then make a few phone calls. Ask 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? Before you begin yoga, consult your physician, and let your teacher know if you have any health problems.
4. What are the benefits of yoga?
The health benefits of yoga are just beginning to be investigated by the mainstream medical community. Initial trials have shown that yoga can help people with asthma, cardiac risk factors, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and more. Some of the benefits of yoga include:
- Reducing stress by giving you peace of mind
- Increasing your strength, flexibility and energy
- Provide relief from back and neck pain
- Assist with weight loss
- Enhance your muscle tone
- Improve your posture, balance and concentration
- Strengthen your cardiovascular system
- Enhance your digestion and overall health
5. Can kids do yoga?
Yoga can benefit kids just as much as it helps adults. It can increase their flexibility, strength, coordination, body awareness, and concentration. With school, sports, peer pressure, and demanding social activities, a kid's world can be stressful. Yoga can help relieve the stress and encourage relaxation. Many yoga studios have yoga for kids or "Mommy and Me" programs. If you're familiar with yoga and planning on teaching it to your kids at home, you're not going to be able to mimic an adult class. Kids love to move, play, and talk, so be sure to incorporate all three when creating a home practice.
6. Is Yoga Just A Fad?
If you think yoga is just the latest fad then consider this...
23% of Americans said they regularly do yoga, meditation or other stress reducing excercises (Wall Street Journal / NBC poll).
On-site yoga classes can now be found at many fortune 500 companies including Oracle, Intel, JPL/NASA, Sony, HBO, Apple, IBM, Citibank, GM, AT&T, GE, Toyota, Pepsico, Dole and Nike.
Medical doctors and insurance companies, such as Blue Shield, now prescribe and cover yoga for patients with heart disease and asthma according to U.S. News & World Report.
Over 65% of traditional health clubs are now offering yoga in their activities according to IHRSA.
- Major media such as Harper's Bazaar, W, Health, InStyle, Los Angeles Times, Talk, Rolling Stone, Time Magazine, ABC, CBC, CNN, and NBC have had extensive yoga coverage.
Let's just say that if the age-old practice of yoga were to disappear, it will have been the longest lasting fad the world has ever seen!