Q: Do I need to be flexible to do yoga?
Not at all. In fact, practicing yoga regularly will help improve your flexibility. Don't worry if you cannot achieve the full expression of any pose. As one of my teachers always says, practice in the body you have today.
Q: What does Namaste mean?
"Namaste" is the recognition that all people are one in the universe. It literally means "I bow to the divine in you." It is traditionally spoken to close a yoga class, however, it is entirely up to you if you wish to speak it.
Q: How often should I do yoga?
No matter your current level of fitness and familiarity with yoga, it is always wise to listen to you body and "practice in the body you have today," as my teacher always says.
If you are new to yoga, it is wise to ease into it. You can start by doing a few minutes a day, focusing on a different type of pose each day. Alternatively, you could practice a few longer sessions per week.
If you are familiar with yoga or are fairly physically active, you can practice yoga as much as every day.
No matter what, listen to what your body is telling you. Your practice is yours; if your body is feeling over taxed, honor your body and take time off.
Q: Can I practice inversions if I have my period?
There is no medical or scientific evidence that being upside down will affect your period in any way. Remember, astronauts in zero gravity do menstruate, and they don't have any problems doing so.
That being said, if you tend to get dizzy or light headed at all when you have your period, it is best to skip inversions.
Q: Is yoga a religion?
Yoga is a very spiritual practice. Or it isn't. You can practice yoga as it suites you. I came to yoga purely for asana practice (what we do on the mat), but it has evolved into more for me, personally, although it is not a religion to me.
That being said, there is a type of yoga that is. However, most people in the west do not consider it a religion and practice yoga in conjunction with their own belief system. I personally know Christian, Jewish, and Islamic yogis. The teachings of yoga are very compatible with all religions.
Check out this article written on BeYogi about the teachings of yoga.
Q: Do you teach Hatha yoga?
All asana practice (yoga poses) is "hatha" yoga. However, it has also come to mean a specific type of practice in which the breath is linked to the movement, however one typically holds poses for longer periods of time than Vinyasa. It focuses more on strengthening and stretching than cardiovascular fitness.
Q: Do I have to "Om"?
The practice of chanting in yoga is a personal decision. If you are not comfortable chanting "om," then just listen respectfully. No one will judge you. You may find that, in time, your discomfort will ease once you have become more familiar with those you practice with and with the practice of yoga in general.
Q: What is Ujjayi breathing?
Ujjayi breathing is sometimes also called "ocean" breathing. It is performed by partially closing the vocal folds while inhaling and exhaling. Simply put, you are breathing the sound of "hhhh," but through your nose.