Q.: Is Yoga a religion?
Ans.: Yoga is not a religion. It can be practiced by people of all faiths and cultures. Yoga is a science whose aim is to harmonize and elevate the three levels of the human being: physical, mental and spiritual.
All human beings want to be happy. None of us want unhappiness. All of us want an unlimited amount of happiness. There are many ways to achieve happiness. Attaining mental peace, freedom from stress, a healthy body and freedom from negative emotions are some of the intangible benefits of the regular practice of yoga.
Q.: Do I have to be flexible to do Yoga?
Ans.: As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect”. You will be amazed at how quickly the body can assume seemingly difficult postures if one can practice on a regular basis. Even 90 year old people in senior citizen’s homes have been known to regain use of long unused muscles through simple yoga movements.
Q.: Must I be a monk to do Yoga?
Ans.: Not at all. A very small proportion of practitioners become yoga monks. Yoga is not restricted to ascetics and monks. However some of its deeper practices attract those with an introversive and contemplative bent of mind. A genuine yoga path will always emphasize practicality, balance and a pleasant adjustment with the world.
Q.: Does Yoga means sleeping on a bed of nails?
Ans.: Although some sensational feats may be attributed to yoga the mainstream practice has nothing to do with any of the occult. Yoga means harmony or union. In no way is it connected to unnatural means to control bodily senses/functions or attain supernatural powers for show. A regular practice of yoga endows the practitioner with glowing health, strong mind and a broad, selfless heart.
Q.: Do I have to change my diet to do Yoga?
Ans.: No. In our system specific yoga exercises are taught in which there are no dietary restrictions. As one practices yoga regularly one will notice how certain foods affect energy levels, digestion, mental perceptions and feelings. But one is advised to practice yoga with an open mind and a sincere willingness to adjust to the positive changes that are indicated for one on the path of self-development.
Q.: Where is the best place to meditate?
Ans.: A quiet, clean part of a room in your own home would be an ideal place to meditate. Meditation outside or in the nature is also advisable occasionally for a healthy change of scenery and to connect more easily to the Higher Power.
Q.: What is the value of meditation for me?
Ans.: All human beings long for unlimited mental peace. A daily, regular practice of meditation gradually transforms the thought patterns in the brain to think uplifting, soothing thoughts. This endows one with subtle feelings of inner contentment and peace. There are many other scientifically proven benefits of meditation such as lowered blood pressure, slower heart beat, slower breathing rate, reduced stress, improved sleeping patterns, etc. These all relate to the improved mental faculties which develop over time with someone who practices meditation on a regular basis.
Q.: Is meditation part of a religious belief?
Ans.: All religions ascribe to a form of meditation in one way or another. Mystics of Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other religions have performed a type of meditation practice in order to connect to the Higher Consciousness. What makes religion valuable is its inherent spirituality. Meditation or deep prayer is a practical way to experience spirituality. Whether it is called so or not, any effort to silence the mind and tune into the unlimited stillness beyond the mind is a type of meditation.
Q.: When is the best time to meditate?
Ans.: Sunrise and sunset are ideal times for meditation. That is because during these times of the day the effect of the rising and setting sun, imparts a peaceful ambience that is conducive for meditation. More importantly however is that one chooses a convenient time for meditation and tries to stick to that time so as to create a healthy habit of meditating. Hence it is more important to meditate daily than to miss the practice simply because one has been unable to meditate at a prescribed time.
Q.: What happens if I stop meditating after some time?
Ans.: Nothing. If one has been meditating regularly one will notice subtle changes in one’s outlook, mental control, objectivity and interpersonal relationships. So if one stops the practice for any reason, one will long to regain those subtler mental states that slowly emerge from daily practice.
Q.: Will meditation help me find a job, get a new house, etc.?
Ans.: A true system of meditation is based on connecting to the Higher Power. It has a spiritual purpose. Its goal is not the attainment of material wealth, etc. However the positive effects of meditation on the mind will empower one with stronger will force, positive thinking, creativity, and resilient energy that will result in an improvement in all aspects of our material life, job, family, etc.