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  • Kristen Fewel

Overview of Yoga for Beginners

Full Circle turned nine years old this week, and I wrote this piece titled "The Path to Peace & Health" just after we opened in 2010 to state our studio philosophy and my approach to teaching. So, for your beginner's mind... enJOY!

The practice of yoga is a blend of art and science that creates union between body, mind and spirit. Its objective is to generate awareness of our thoughts, movements, and behaviors to live as fully realized beings intimately connected to the unified whole of creation. Living a healthier life brings about a sense of peace when we suffer less injury and degeneration and we are better able to take care of ourselves and our family. Yoga is compassion in action.

Yoga has numerous benefits to the body, makes you feel very good, and has much less incidence of injury than most forms of exercise. In each class, you will get instruction in breathing, stretches and movements, called asana (AH-san-a), and meditation. You will likely feel calm and peaceful, and with regular practice you will feel more inner peace in your day-to-day life. Many people report great improvement of degenerative conditions for which they once needed pain medication! Yoga also emphasizes the principle of non-harming which includes kindness to oneself with patience and respect for your own body’s capabilities. Although yoga can be challenging at times, it is not a competition, and it is best done with an open mind.

Although anyone of any background or worldview can practice yoga, the primary philosophies behind the teaching comes from two ancient Indian sages named Patanjali (Pa-TAN-ja-lee) and the Buddha, both of whom taught a path of awakening and relief of suffering more than 2,500 years ago. The physical aspect of postures and movements were developed a millennia later as a means to purify and prepare the body for stillness and meditation. It is during quiet and still moments that the true meaning of yoga is found. While most people experience a peacefulness similar to spirituality, yoga is not intended to create or replace any religious beliefs.

Yoga will compliment any fitness routine you currently engage in or it can be your main form of exercise. One thing is for certain: the more you practice, the better you’ll feel. You can enhance your understanding by taking classes and viewing many useful articles and books you can borrow or buy. We encourage you to take a look at our favorites on our website’s Resources page. We also offer private sessions, enrichment courses, and yoga teacher training.

The level of transformation that takes place is directly related to how involved you become with the practice. Yoga is completely natural, and nature takes its time. Don’t give up. We are here to teach you and guide you toward your personal goals and transformation. Lastly, remember that the ultimate authority on you, is you. To paraphrase the Buddha: “Don't blindly believe what is said or believe because others convince you. Find out for yourself.” In other words, if what we teach resonates with you, put it into practice, but the true Yoga will always be found within yourself.

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