Yoga Guide - everything you need to know
What is yoga?
Yoga originates from India and was developed more than 3,500 years ago. Yoga means "unity" and is derived from the Sanskrit word "yuj", which can be translated as "unite". On a spiritual level, it is about connecting the individual with the universal consciousness. Practically, yoga practice aims at a balanced relationship between body, mind and emotions.
Yoga also has positive side effects on our body. Yoga strengthens coordination, flexibility, power and endurance, boosts metabolism, prevents diseases of the cardiovascular system and supports the musculoskeletal system. So if you do yoga, you are doing something good for yourself!
Yoga is suitable for everyone, as there are many different variations. The variations and methods of the different yoga styles can be modified so that the practice suits one's own type and state of health. By the way: yoga knows no gender and no age, because both men (yogis) and women (yoginis) benefit. Depending on your fitness level or the goal you want to achieve with yoga, some types of yoga are better suited than others. Even if you have ailments, such as knee or hip problems, there are ways for you to practice yoga. With a regular yoga practice you will find more peace and balance and thus strengthen your stress resistance.
Where can you learn yoga?
The correct execution of the various asanas should be at the forefront of your yoga practice. Incorrectly executed exercises can, contrary to the actual intention of yoga, cause postural damage. Therefore, it is important to learn yoga first. For example, there are extra yoga studios, but also local gymnastics clubs, fitness studios and adult education centres that offer yoga courses. Employers and schools also often offer yoga courses. If you prefer to keep to yourself, you can also watch special/free tutorials or join an online class. However, if you are fairly new to the world of yoga, initial supervision by trained teachers is always preferable.
What yoga styles and exercises are there?
You have the choice between different methods of yoga. Powerful/challenging, sweaty/flowing, gentle and meditative, analytical/therapeutic or ecstatic/wild - all styles coexist peacefully. You have to find the style that suits you best. The main styles include
No exercise style is better than the other per se, it depends on your preference. Try it out and find your way. But just because you've found your favourite yoga style doesn't mean you can't add variety to your practice with a different style in between.
Is there a difference to Pilates?
Yes, there is! Pilates, for one thing, is much younger than yoga. It has existed since the 20th century. Probably the biggest difference between yoga and Pilates is the importance that the body and mind have in each case. Yoga, which is several thousand years old, aims to create a unity between the two factors, whereas Pilates focuses primarily on the body. Pilates primarily aims to strengthen the muscles through specific and coordinated movements. Using one's own body weight, the prana, the energy, is awakened in the centre of the body as well as in the arms and legs. This is quite strenuous, especially in the beginning! The main aspects of Pilates are the strengthening of the deep muscles, a healthy body and an increased body awareness.
Yoga and Pilates also differ in terms of breathing. In Pilates, too, breathing is related to movement, but there is no spiritual aspect behind it. Basically, the diaphragmatic breathing is used here and the air is drawn in or expelled particularly intensively. Breathing is therefore more functional and determines the rhythm of the movements.
You want to start yoga and preferably right away? We have listed the equipment you need for yoga here.
When buying a mat, you should first think about which characteristics are important to you. There are differences in material, thickness, size and feel. There are models made of natural materials or mats made of plastic. Thicker mats have the advantage that they cushion the body better, thinner mats are better suited for balance exercises. Also pay attention to the feel. If you practise a sweaty style (e.g. Ashtanga), it can quickly become slippery.
Your clothes should not be too tight, but also not too loose, otherwise they can interfere with some exercises. Comfortable yoga pants or leggings with a wide waistband are best. Wear a sports bra and a top with a high cotton content. Synthetic fabrics make you sweat more quickly, which can feel uncomfortable in the long run. For the final relaxation in Shavasana it is also advisable to wear a cosy yoga jumper at hand for the final relaxation in Shavasana, so that you do not cool down immediately.
For some exercises it is useful to use a fascia roller or a yoga block. For some exercises special special belts are used. If you don't want to buy such a belt at first, you can also try a normal belt for trousers or bathrobes. It is also important to always have something to drink nearby. Yoga exercises can also be strenuous and sweaty. A cushion and a blanket are also useful. These can, for example, cushion the knees, support the position or, in the case of the blanket or, in the case of the blanket, to keep the body warm during the final relaxation. serve as a blanket. A yoga towel is very helpful in some situations, for example in Bikram yoga.
You can find even more clothing and equipment here.