Frequently Asked Questions About Yoga

Everything you need to know.

Although yoga has quickly become part of the American mainstream during recent years, many people still equate it with a special religion or something only rubber-jointed people can do. Here are some answers to common concerns.

Q. What does yoga mean?
A. Yoga literally means “union.” The practice is designed to unite your mind and body, as well as your spirit, through deep breathing, peaceful meditation, and physical poses that stretch and strengthen the body.

Q. Does practicing yoga affect my religious beliefs?
A. No. Although yoga was developed by Hindu people in India 5,000 years ago and continues to be part of their religious practice, people of all faiths can perform yoga poses to calm stress and tone and energize the body.

Q. If I can’t touch my toes, can I still do yoga?

A. Absolutely! Just as people who are out of shape should walk and lift weights to increase their physical fitness, people with tight muscles and stiff joints reap benefits from practicing yoga. Just start slowly, modifying the poses as you need to, and never stretch to the point of pain. Within a few weeks, you should see noticeable improvements in your flexibility.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest