Yoga is the union of body and mind. Whether you do it for improved flexibility or spirituality, here’s a few essentials you need to know before you step foot on the mat
1. Why we “Om” – “Om”, pronounced “A-U-M,” is the alpha and the omega. Everything and nothing. It’s the sound of the universe. When we “om” together, we become one with the universe.
2. Show respect with “Namaste” – Namaste (pronounced “Naa-Maa-Stay”,) can have many variations in translation. “The soul in me honors the soul in you.” Traditionally, Namaste is an ancient Sanskrit greeting used in India but is also invoked at the end of a class to show gratitude.
3. Downward dog has nothing to do with your pet – Adho Mukha Svanasana is sometimes referred to as the mother of all poses in yoga. During this asana remember to spread the fingers wide and roll the shoulder blades back but don’t hyperextend the spine. Find your place in the pose and enjoy the benefits, which include decreased back pain, less tension, fewer headaches, lessened anxiety and improved circulation. Now, athletes and novices alike can get down with that!
4. Is it time for Savasana yet? – Also known as everybody’s favorite pose, it’s that time at the end of a class when you lie on your back and just let go. It serves multiple purposes for the physical, spiritual and philosophical self. Comfort is key during this pose. Feel free to ask your teacher for accessories like a blanket or bolster before you dive deep into relaxation.
5. Yoga is not for the flexible. It’s for the willing – Do not look over to your neighbor’s mat in envy of their eight-angle pose. Yoga is not about being bendy. It’s a reminder that all things take time and easing into. It forces us to be okay with the unknown and allows us to quiet the mind and just be.