What is Yoga? Why should I practice? How do I begin?
Ready: The word “yoga” comes from the ancient Sanskrit word “yuj”. It means to yoke, bind or attach. The practice of yoga is intended to unify the mind and body with the ultimate goal being the attainment of pure consciousness. The aim of yoga asana (the physical practice of yoga) is to prepare the body and mind for meditation. Yoga or union of the mind and body leads to spiritual enlightenment. Still confused??
Set: Yoga Asana is but one of 8 limbs (branches) of Hatha Yoga and is what most people consider “yoga practice”. There are about 200 asana (poses) which are combined in various forms to create a “yoga asana practice” which should last 90 minutes. (gyms and other fitness centers may shorten the time) You have probably heard of Downward facing dog before, right? This is one of the most popular asana.
All you need is Yoga, The benefits of Yoga are endless and not limited to slimming down, toning up, becoming more flexible, and more peaceful. Yoga nourishes the body, mind and spirit. Although the practice dates back to India circa 2500 b.c.e., it remains the single most powerful system for overall health and well being. Yoga strengthens the body and mind against illness and disease, detoxifies on a cellular level, strengthens bones, muscles, and organs, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, strengthens immune function, improves posture, balance and coordination, promotes self awareness, fosters psychological equanimity and promotes spiritual well being. Most important to our society today, yoga lowers stress levels and provides the mind and body with coping mechanisms for future stress. Yoga decreases cortisol, and activates the parasympathetic nervous system allowing the body to rest digest and assimilate nutrients properly from food. Look no further for your total mind body wellness solution!
Practice: Yoga is FUN! It is a creative expression of your own body and spirit. With over 200 “asana” and multiple schools of yoga the possibilities are endless. From seated to standing on your head, from gentle and slow to dynamic, anyone can practice yoga. Many people already practice yoga in Philadelphia. To begin: pick up a mat (can get a cheapie but a goodie from target or T.J. Maxx under $15), stay hydrated, and wear some fitted clothes that allow for full range of motion. Take some great advice from a master yogi- Yoda, “Try not! Do or do not! There is no try, only do! JUST DO IT!
Meg Kipp has a background in Psychology and fitness and was first introduced to yoga by her grandmother when she was 5 She earned her B.A. in Psychology from theUniversity of Tennessee, and she taught yoga and group fitness classes for the University as well as personal training while attending. For 2 years she focused solely on developing her personal yoga practice before deciding to go to Goa, India to deepen her experience, skills, and understanding of yoga asana, philosophy and Ayurveda. Meg attended her 200 hour yoga teacher training certification through Quantum Yoga. Quantum Yoga is designed to develop your ideal practice to bring balance in the doshas (body-mind constitution). Meg works with clients on an individual basis as well group instruction at East Falls Fitness and Pep Boys Corporate offices. Upon her return fromIndia, she completed a 600 hour massage therapy degree from the Cortiva Institute of Muscle Therapy in King of Prussia. Meg combines aspects of yoga and massage into all of her sessions and has an intuitive understanding of the mind and body. She aspires to open up a studio in Philly in the next 3 years.