Through the years, interest in yoga has increased substantially. It is one of the most popular ways to maintain one’s fitness these days. So for World Yoga Day (June 21), let’s take a look at this unique and ancient exercise.
What is Yoga?
Most people know what yoga is. Well, at least most of us think we do. It’s people tying their entire body into knots and it involves dogs, right? Of course, it’s more than that. What people believe is yoga is simply a small part of what it actually is.
Yoga is actually a discipline or a body of knowledge. The classical yoga actually has 8 branches and only one of them is devoted to the “exercise” we know as yoga. It’s named asana (Sanskrit: आसन ). Yoga’s ultimate goal is to merge individual consciousness to the universal consciousness. Yoga is not only about the physical, it is also about the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual.
Asana’s purpose in yoga is to prepare the self for meditation. In Hatha Yoga, asana is the first step. When you’ve done asana, it helps you become more steady and aware of yourself. This introduces the mindset needed to experience yoga completely. To achieve the balance of mind, of emotion, and of soul that yoga pushes for, we start first with the physical awareness of ourselves.
So now that we have clarified what yoga is, let’s see what we need to start becoming yogis and yoginis.
What You’ll Need
There are about 19 different types of Yoga out there, and you’ll need to decide for yourself which one you’d like to do. But before you do start, here are some things you may need before you get started:
Yoga mats are one of the first things you think of when it comes to yoga equipment. The mat protects you from the hardness or slipperiness of the floor. Although most yoga studios already have yoga mats provided, it helps to have your own so you can take it anywhere and practice yoga even at home. Also, it may be more hygienic to do this. Note, however, that yoga mats are not a requirement and not all types of yoga use yoga mats.
Yoga Mat Strap
A yoga mat strap helps you carry your yoga mat around. You wrap it around the mat and adjust the straps to accommodate the size of your yoga mat. This makes it easy and convenient for you to lug your yoga mat anywhere.
Of course, yoga is all about meditation. But if you’re too caught up trying to pull and tuck and shift your clothes around as you make the poses then you’ll definitely lose focus. So make sure you’re wearing comfortable clothes. Ones not too baggy nor too tight. Yoga pants are highly recommended as they are made for yoga. But as long as you’re comfortable and your clothes are breathable, anything is fine.
Yoga classes will make you sweat. Although it looks simple and seamless, yoga will make you sweat especially if you’re a beginner. So to hydrate yourself, bring a water bottle with you so you can drink after practice.
Use towels to wipe away your sweat during your yoga sessions. By wiping away your sweat, the body won’t be slippery while binding. Aside from that, new yoga mats tend to be slippery so towels can serve well as a grip during yoga sessions.
It isn’t only you who’s going to be covered in sweat after a yoga session. So will your yoga mat of course. That’s why you’d need a mat towel to wipe away the sweat and other dirt from your yoga mat. This keeps it hygienic for you and develops a good habit of cleanliness.
Now you’re ready to take on a whole new mystical world called yoga. Now move that body and start a-stretching! Namaste!