Fundamentals of Yoga

Yoga is a technique developed over two thousand years ago in India to live in harmony with oneself. Yoga describes the state of clear mind and strong body as well as the way to this state. Yoga is a practical philosophy of life that lets you live more consciously and healthily and goes as deep as you want.

The word “Yoga” comes from the ancient Indian language Sanskrit and means literally translated: harness or yoke. The root “yui” can be found in the German word “Joch”. The best thing is to imagine a harness that binds body and mind together. The fact is that thousands of years ago people already had the longing to bring opposites together. No different than we do today.

Yoga is very much and in the end what you make of it. What it is not: Asian gymnastics, circus acrobatics, what for Indians or religion. And neither is yoga.

How does yoga work?

Yoga strengthens the coordination ability, flexibility, strength and endurance, and brings the Metabolism in swing, prevents diseases of the cardiovascular system and supports the musculoskeletal system. Just as many people have problems with their back muscles, digestion and sleep due to a modern lifestyle, and a good yoga burn has a direct effect on the metabolism, nervous system, muscles and joints, yoga also influences the modern mind and its overload in the hectic pace and hysteria of the 21st century. Through mindfulness and the coordination of breath and movement, self-perception is practiced and the first prerequisite is created for changing behavior patterns – if one wants to.

In addition to health prevention and stress management, yoga has a fundamental effect on the psyche of the individual and society. Most of us feel that we have lost contact with ourselves as well as with our environment and feel that this condition is a deficit.

Yoga describes the feeling of taking root again and coming to terms with oneself and one’s surroundings, at least for the duration of the practice, which is not a bad start. The effect naturally depends on the dose, the duration of the exercise, the discipline, but also the intention. In general: Better less, but practice regularly!

Yoga for mind and body

Yoga has an integrative effect, i.e. while we practice the mobility of our body, shape muscles, lose unnecessary weight, build strength and energy, our mind also experiences an impulse to recognize negative thoughts and habits and to get rid of them. Breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation are also integral parts of a holistic yoga practice.

Those who only want to perform physical tricks will not be able to enjoy the integrative power of yoga. This consists of experiencing oneself as part of a whole. This interplay of physical and mental effects is the essence of what we can experience in yoga: The body is considered the gateway to consciousness. Yoga has a unique effect on body, mind, and soul, integrates like nothing else the physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of man. Most of the exercise systems that are popular in the West focus on physical practice. But only through their spiritual embedding can yoga unfold its full effect. Otherwise, it remains – and there is nothing wrong with that – simply sport.

Spirituality is nothing more than connecting to something greater than yourself. To make this connection physically tangible, to use the body as a base camp for trips into one’s own consciousness and to find peace there – this is the unique quality of yoga.

Last: Yoga should be fun and good. The quick slogan “no pain, no gain”, which also reigned in yoga for some time, is outdated.

Can anyone do yoga?

“Anyone who can breathe can practice yoga.” The legendary quotation of the famous yoga teacher T.K.S. Krichnamacharya describes why yoga is neither sport nor religion. No matter how old you are, how immobile or how fat: As long as you can breathe, yoga is available as a path to silence, freedom of mind, space in the joints and general physical satisfaction.

So yoga is there for everyone. People who have health restrictions such as high blood pressure, herniated discs, sciatica, etc. should consult a doctor before the practice, what is possible or not.

Yoga is very adaptable: Even for people in wheelchairs, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or similar diseases, yoga has a lot to offer. For pregnant women and also after childbirth: please only practice certified pregnancy yoga and postnatal yoga.

Where can I practice Yoga?

Yoga can be practiced wherever you can breathe. Ideally, there should be a flat surface, a feathery wooden floor. Ideally, you have a mat ready, plus a few aids such as a blanket or block. It’s best to be quiet and not too cold.

But you can also practice yoga without everything, in the pedestrian zone at Times Square, in economy class, in the office next to the coffee machine. As long as you concentrate and stay true to yourself and his exercises, the outside world should not play a role.

But especially for the beginning, it helps to mark out a protected space for the practice, which you like to enter and in which you feel comfortable, whether at home or in a yoga studio. Yoga teaches you discipline as well as modesty: to get along with what is there. For the practice itself, it doesn’t matter where you roll out your mat, just that you do.

Which yoga style is right for me?

It is part of yoga to find out which method suits you best. No exercise style is better than the other, but one style is more suitable for the individual than the other, and it is well worth finding the right style.

Since yoga sees itself as the “science of man”, the evidence is always the man himself, that is, experience counts. In other words, trying out is more like studying. In order to find out which method suits you, you should not only practice this method once and in top form but several times and also when you are tired, exhausted or dejected. You should do a fitness review of all the styles to choose the one for you.

Moreover, the first association does not always lead to the goal. Anyone with a lively temperament and a tendency to breathlessness should not necessarily draw the conclusion that they only want to practice dynamically and sweatily, but should rather choose a balancing, calm method. Conversely, those who tend towards phlegm or even depression are probably better off with an “anti-authoritarian” wilder style like Kundalini Yoga.

How do I find the right yoga teacher?

As with the method, the only way to find the right teacher is to try it out repeatedly. The right teacher is the one who helps you stay on your yoga path. The one who inspires without pushing himself into the foreground. The one who encourages you to practice without being too authoritarian. The one seduces to autonomy and to bear responsibility himself. To open one’s eyes to the beauty of yoga and life.

It doesn’t matter how famous or flexible the teacher is, whether he calls himself a guru, how many followers he has and how many yoga schools are named after him. The relationship between teacher and student should be one that helps the student to stand on his own two feet (or on one…).

How is a yoga class structured?

Yoga is about movement. To get the circulation going, to release tensions, to break through blockages, both physical and mental, we need to get moving. It’s the only way we can change the status quo.

There are no generally binding rules for setting up a yoga class, and yet there are some principles that apply to most methods. One of the classic building blocks that make up a complete yoga practice:

  • Meditation: breathing meditation or simply sitting in silence
  • Pranayama (breathing exercises): exercises to get the flow of energy (prana) going and to regulate it.
  • Asana (posture exercises): exercises that involve mobilizing the spine, strengthening the muscles and connective tissue and stimulating the metabolism, i.e. preventing, bending back, twisting, reversing postures.
  • Mantra (Om): The beginning and end of the practice are usually done in silence or by singing the mantra “Om”.
  • Savasana (Deep Relaxation): Up to ten minutes of deep rest at the end of the practice so that body and mind can absorb the effort.

Can I lose weight with yoga?

Perhaps yoga is the best method of losing weight because it works most sustainably and it can lead to a much healthier life in a natural way. Since yoga is a philosophy of life, it is not about counting calories, but about asking oneself: How do I want to live? And what do I need for that? Pizza or would you prefer a little yoga break?

Even though yoga is traditionally associated with asceticism and renunciation, it actually means living in balance with oneself. Overweight is therefore measured less in kilograms than in the way of hastily satisfying one’s needs and in excess. If you practice regularly, you won’t become a Weight Watcher, but an observer of your habits and will be tempted by yourself to put away the bad ones.

Yoga is not about looking good, it’s about feeling good. There are many reasons to start yoga, and none is better or worse than the other. Those who start yoga to lose weight will actually lose weight with regular practice, simply because those who are satisfied with themselves do not need food as substitute satisfaction. Many sweat-inducing methods also convert fat into muscles and transform the body, until then perhaps just a gas station and dusty storage room, into the smooth, famous yoga body in which one likes to live.

The resulting attractiveness is not only due to the new muscles, but above all to the new self-confidence and serenity.

What do I need to wear to yoga?

Contrary to what is suspected, wide baggy pants are counterproductive in yoga because they hide the body and are in the way of many asanas. Comfortable leggings and tops made of organic materials are suitable, which guarantee freedom of movement and do not prevent the anatomical alignment of the body. It is better not to look for one’s knees in the wallege robe in a bend over to bend them.

Is Yoga a Religion?

Yoga is not a religion, but a practical philosophy of life. Yoga offers, without formulating beliefs, the framework for personal growth. To stay with the picture of the harness of the horse, in which body and mind are harnessed under a yoke (= yoga): Yoga possesses the onboard means and the technique to change. Everyone decides for himself where the journey takes him.