To help you in this journey to discover yoga, here are the most common questions about yoga.




Having attended the yoga classes regularly for over 5 years now, i have never been bored as Alka always changes the sequence of the postures and introduces new elements and variations. The personal attention and support guarantees that every student gets the maximum benefit from all the excercises. more...
  • Where has yoga come from?
    Like all other things in life, yoga has also evolved through the ages and reached its present state of excellence. The yoga texts of yesteryears do not even mention Hatha, which is prevalent today. Yoga adapts itself to the needs of the people at every stage and the postures of Hatha are not even a hundred years old. The origin of Hatha yoga can be traced to a South Indian by the name of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya who was born in 1888 and hailed from a small village. Having learned yoga from his father, he taught it to others as it was not very popular at that time and also because it gave him the opportunity to improve his financial status. His efforts were rewarded with a job of teaching yoga at the royal palace gymnastics hall. Krishnamacharya combined the disciplines of gymnastics and Indian wrestling to produce new postures in order to keep his young students actively engrossed.

    The series of asanas created by him were further popularised by one of his students, Pattabai Jois. Another student, BKS Iyenger carried forward his skilful use of alignment in the asanas. He is still teaching yoga, although he is in his eighties.
  • What will yoga do for me?
    If you want to increase the quality of your life by being physically and emotionally strong and if you want to increase your stamina and get rid of stress and anxiety, all that you have to do is to start yogic exercises. You will start feeling much better and your blood pressure will also come down. With yoga, you will be able to improve your athletic performance and increase your flexibility. It does not matter how well you can perform the poses - what is important is that you should enjoy what you are doing!
  • How many types of Yoga are there?
    Basically there are four channels of yoga:
    JNANA - this leads to knowledge or wisdom
    BHAKTI - which means devotion
    KARMA - this is the path of action
    RAJA - this envisages self-control.

    The most popular form of yoga in the West is the Hatha Yoga which encompasses postures and breathing exercises and which is basically a part of Raja Yoga. Iyengar, Astanga, Integral, Kripalu and Jiva Mukti are some of the various styles of Hatha Yoga. All these Yogas are derived from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, which is the original text outlining the basic philosophy and practices of Classical Yoga and was written sometime between the second century B.C. and the first century A.D.
  • Is Yoga a religion?
    Although Yoga is basically connected to the Hindu tenets of Karma, Dharma, Reincarnation, Atman, etc. it can be practiced without any conflict with any religious beliefs. It depends on how religion is being defined and how the Yoga practitioner puts the yoga practice forth. Religion, race, gender and political leanings have no part to play in the practice of yoga as its physical and psychological benefits are real and have no bearings on the above aspects. Yoga is "mainstream" in the sense that spiritually most mystical traditions tread similar spiritual paths regardless of their being from the East or the West. Yoga can be practiced without any conflict with one's religious beliefs.
  • Has it been proven that Yoga is good for you?
    Yes. Innumerable physical and psychological benefits accrue if you practice Yoga - this is the result of the studies of Western science, which have been going on for about 50 years. A comparative study has shown that heart patients who were on a stress reduction program that included Yoga fared much better than other patients who merely exercised or did nothing. Even in the cases of asthma, epilepsy, anxiety, stress and other ailments, Yoga has been found to be very helpful according to a preliminary study in the United States and India .
  • What's the best way to get started, especially if I'm out of shape?
    The best way is to get one-to-one interaction from a teacher, as it will provide personalized training. You could also look for a book and/or a video to give you the necessary information. It is, however, important to remember that irrespective of the physical condition, there is a Yoga level for everyone.
  • Is Yoga a New Age practice?
    Yoga is an ancient practice with a written history going back thousands of years. It is not New Age, although various New Age movements have adopted and adapted elements of Yoga. In addition, Yoga and New Age movements share a focus on mind/body development.
  • Is Yoga an aerobic exercise?
    Any exercise that increases the heart rate and induces deeper breathing leads to improved oxygenation of the blood is known as an aerobic exercise. Some Yogic exercises such as Astanga and ViniYoga do just that as they strongly concentrate on the flow from one posture to another.
  • What's the difference between Yoga and just plain stretching and normal exercise?
    Most traditional exercises tend to move towards achievement of goals like the number of push ups you can do or the number of crunches that you have reached. On the other hand, Yoga is a gradual process in which your attention is towards what you are doing and how you are enjoying the postures. Your endeavor is the measure of your success whereas in an exercise if you don't reach the goal you will fail. Yoga tones up your muscles and does not break them down and then rebuild them as in the case of weight training.
  • How many times a week should I do Yoga and for how long?
    As a general rule, any yoga is better than no yoga. There is no hard and fast rule regarding the duration of training and the frequency. It would be ideal if you could do yoga for 60-90 minutes every day. If that is not possible you can do that a few times a week and when you don't have time you can do shorter sessions.
  • Has there been any formal research into the benefits of Yoga?
    A lot of research is taking place in India and the latest studies reported in research journals and the major organizations doing the research work can be found in The Yoga Site's Yoga Therapy Report.
  • How do I know which style is most beneficial to me?
    It is important to get started and choose the style depending upon your liking of the teacher who, you feel, will be able to give you the best training.
  • Is it okay to practice Yoga while pregnant?
    As long as you do not compress the belly or abdomen and avoid inverted postures and if you have been practicing yoga till the time of conception, it is okay to continue practicing Yoga while you are pregnant. It will keep you fit during pregnancy as it will help strengthen the pelvic area, normalize thyroid functioning and blood pressure, and help keep you calm and relaxed -- all of which is good for the baby too. Many public libraries also carry books about pregnancy. It's also a good idea to work with a Yoga teacher with pre-natal Yoga experience.
  To know more about Alka or for any other queries about Yoga contact alkathakor@yahoo.co.uk  
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