How can yoga nourish your soul?

Yoga is a system of physical, mental, and spiritual practices that was developed in India. In the Western world, it is more popularly known as a type of exercise that focuses on postures and relaxation techniques that aid in stress relief and body pain.

However, yoga has always been more than a series of poses that enhance your flexibility and posture. It is actually one of the six schools in Hindu philosophy, with much focus on meditation, mastering the mind, emotions, and enriching the spirit.

Its origins date back to over five thousand years ago in the Indus-Sarasvati civilisation from North India. The word “yoga” itself was first mentioned in Rigveda, one of the four sacred texts of Hinduism. But it wasn’t until the 19th century that masters of yoga began to spread their teachings to the West.

Today, there are numerous styles of yoga for beginners and experts alike being practised by millions of followers around the globe, whether for purely physical benefits or for more spiritual reasons.

Whether you are practising vinyasa, hatha or another style, these different paths can still share the same goal of uniting the body, mind, and spirit in order to achieve freedom.

Benefits of yoga

As a physical exercise, it is very common to utilise yoga for back pain and posture problems. It can also enhance a person’s cardiac and respiratory health, and increase their mind-body awareness.

As for its mental and spiritual benefits, yoga is helpful in managing stress, increasing one’s concentration, and clearing the mind. Due to its significant benefits, many athletes practice yoga to enhance their overall performance in their respective sport.

Moreover, yoga can be useful for PTSD and drug abuse victims as a way of coping and improving their mental and emotional state.

Other styles offer different benefits as well. For instance, those with insomnia can practice yoga nidra for sleep, and people who want to burn their fats quickly and improve their muscle tone may find more rigorous styles like ashtanga more to their taste.

What to expect from a yoga session

A standard session of yoga for beginners typically lasts an hour. But there are some classes that take up to 90 minutes or longer, while some are as short as 30 minutes.

For first-timers, make sure you are wearing comfortable clothing that will allow you to be as flexible as possible.

Do not be afraid of asking your yoga instructor questions. They are there to guide you, after all. Feel free to ask them things like “What are the best places for practising yoga near me?” or “How do I improve my breathing?”, and other questions that will help you improve your concentration and performance.

Perfecting all the yoga poses isn’t something that is expected out of you on your first session. If you are not sure of what to do, observe the others close to you, or watch your instructor. With your consent, the instructor will make corrections to your poses if needed.