8 Answers to Yoga questions you're too scared to ask…

8 Answers to Yoga questions you're too scared to ask…

Yoga is growing in popularity each and every day (which is a beautiful thing); however, most of those who practice yoga are not experts. The majority of students in classes are new to the practice and have insecurities and many questions that they are too afraid to ask. Understandably so, there is a lot to take in when you are new to the practice --- poses, Sanskrit, breathing, meditation…the list goes on and on. It can be especially daunting when you are positioned on your mat next to a 20-something year old popping in and out of handstands and splits. Not to fear, here are the answers to the questions that even that 20-something year old was thinking at one time or another:

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What do I wear to practice (i.e. do I have to be a walking Lululemon advertisement)?

Good news - there are absolutely no hard and fast rules about what you should and shouldn't wear when practicing yoga. Be advised that you'll be most comfortable in clothes that are not restrictive. There is a reason why yoga pants have become the fad that they are today because generally, tighter fitting and stretchy or giving clothing tends to work best for this type of body movement.

In reference to brands, unless you have a dedicated practice, it might be best to save your money and wear clothes that you already have in your closet. Yoga leggings, dry-wicking tops/bottoms can really add up, so make certain that you have a routine before going out to invest in a $90 pair of black pants. That being said, when you are ready to take the plunge, do your research and invest in a quality yoga outfit. Many companies nowadays guarantee their pieces and promise warranties. In the grand scheme of things, a $90 pair of black pants pays for themselves if you get four years of regular wear out of them!

My feet (and whole body for that matter) sweat a lot. Do I wear socks? How do I avoid slipping on my mat?

Many students prefer to wear gripping socks (very similar to socks you would see someone wear in a barre class). This may or may not be comfortable for you. It is important to be able to grip the mat in your yoga practice, if you opt-out of wearing socks and are concerned you may slide around, a mat cover is an excellent option. There is always an option to pause your practice and wipe your mat with a dry towel if you find that you are pooling sweat. A little bit of sweat is not going to turn your mat into a slip-n-slide, but if it provides you with peace of mind, invest in a mat cover or socks.

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I started my period. Is it still ok to practice?

There is no hard and fast rule here. If you have a heavy flow, it is advised to avoid activity that would impede your natural flow (i.e. Inversions). Best advise --- listen to your body and honor how you feel.

I'm overweight. Can I still practice?

Believe it or not, this is a very common question. The short answer: Yes! Yoga can be adaptable to all shapes, sizes, and ability levels. Yoga for weight loss is another story. Movement is wonderful for the body and something that each and every body craves;  however, everything in moderation…including moderation. Keep in mind, it is best to consult your doctor before adopting any fitness regimen.

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Is Yoga a religion and will it interfere with my beliefs?

Yoga brings together the mind, body, and spirit. Yoga is a personal practice that you get out of what you put into it. A deeper connection with yourself will serve to enhance whatever spiritual beliefs you subscribe to. Chanting and speaking in Sanskrit is optional. If this causes you to be uncomfortable, refrain from participating, or seek a class/instructor who doesn't chant. Remember, it is YOUR practice and you can (and should) do what feels best!

Am I going to be the only guy in class?

While you may be in the minority, you will likely not be the only male in class. Yoga is increasing in popularity at a rapid rate and is a fantastic complement to any existing fitness regimen. Professional sports teams are now incorporating yoga into their training programs.

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What if I can't do a lot of the poses?

Want to know a secret? Most yoga instructors can't do all of the poses that they instruct. Often this is due to modifications, injuries, or adjustments over time. Remember, people are just people. Everyone is different. If you're a beginner, it is normal to not master each and every pose. Don't be shy about requesting modifications or resting in downward facing dog or child's pose if you become fatigued. Take your time…that is why it is called a practice.

What happens if I fart?

All joking aside, this is a very common question and fear of a lot of yogis. Here's the best advice: respond as you see appropriate. If you find it funny, then laugh! You are working to relax the mind and body and bodily functions sometimes happen and are totally NORMAL. The average person farts 27 times a day. Remember, people are just people and a little gas never hurt anyone!





Meghan Ann Martin