By far the most frequently asked question I get is “Do I need to be flexible to practice yoga?” The short answer is a big fat NO! Yoga will improve your flexibility. All bodies are different. We have different levels of fitness and flexibility, different structures and composition, different limitations, injuries, and strengths. At Mandala Moon Yoga, we encourage each student to practice in a way that is comfortable for them in the moment. We offer props, modifications and variations for each pose so that the physical practice is accessible to almost all bodies.
2. What exactly is yoga?
Yoga is a Sanskrit word that comes from the root word “yuj,” which means “yoke.” It is a practice designed to “yoke” or unite all the parts of yourself—mind, body, soul. Yoga is at least 5,000 years old and originated in India as a meditation practice. The Yoga Sutra states that yoga is “the quieting of the fluctuations of the mind.” Over time, it has evolved to include the stretching and postures that are more strongly associated with it. The postures prepare the body for the quieting effects of meditation.
3. Am I too old, too young, too big, too poor, too male, too out of shape, too (fill in the blank) for yoga?
Nope. Just like you don’t need to be flexible, you also don’t need to have a specific body type or the trendiest yoga pants to start a practice. Yoga is not just for women. In fact, in ancient times, it was primarily a male practice. Yoga is for everyone. There are many different styles of yoga. I’ll come back in another post to cover some common styles. Try out different studios, different teachers, and different styles of yoga to find the one that works best for you right now. At our studio alone, we offer our middle-of-the-road multi-level yoga, the slower, gentler restorative yin classes, higher intensity fitness classes, faster paced flow yoga, yoga for beginners, and yoga for children.
4. What should I bring to class?
Bring yourself and an open mind. If you have a yoga mat, bring that too. Most people like to bring their own mat. They come in different thicknesses and sizes. But if you don’t have a mat, don’t let that stop you. We have loaner mats that you can use. We just ask that you use the disinfectant wipes provided to clean them off after use. We have all the yoga props that you will need (blocks, blankets, bolsters, straps), but feel free to bring your own props, too, if you prefer. You may also like to bring some water. If you do, please use an insulated, covered water bottle to protect our studio floors.
5. What should I wear?
Dress comfortably in layers of clothing. You may heat up and cool down during the different parts of class, and it’s best to be able to add and remove layers. Natural fabrics are best, and modesty is encouraged. Keep in mind that you will be bending and twisting and sometimes a bit upside-down, so be sure that you will be comfortable in whatever clothes you choose. We practice in bare feet, so shoes are left outside the studio. If your feet tend to get cold, wear socks. You may want to invest in socks with grippy bottoms so you don’t slip.