Yoga could be weird from an outsider’s perspective. Nearly everyone has heard of it, most people have done it once, but some still shy away because they heard that it’s done in another language. This is not necessarily true. Yes, yogic principles are based in Sanskrit, and some instructors use more Sanskrit than others in their teachings, but most do not, as to not exclude new practitioners. Those who do it well explain what the word means and may even explain why that word describes the pose that it refers to. Take this as a field guide to beginning your yoga practice, starting with:
Yoga Mat – to practice on, good ones cushion the hands and feet, and the rubbery surface keeps your feet and hands from slipping on hard surfaces.
Blanket – Some people like to use a blanket (like this) to sit on to encourage better posture. They are also great for covering up during savasana.
Bikram – A style of yoga where a series of 26 poses are performed in a room that is usually between 90-100 degrees.
Anasura – a more spiritually attuned style of yoga that concentrates on the mind-body connection above all.
Vinyasa – a style of yoga that focuses on breathing and movement for internal cleansing.
Savasana – The final pose of most styles of yoga, where the practitioner lays prone on her mat. These few minutes of rest give the body and mind time to process the yoga session that she has just completed.
The Other Stuff
Asana – the yoga poses, which are gentle stretching movements
Heart center – Right there in the middle of your chest, in front of where the organ by the same name resides. “Bring your hands to heart center” looks like this:
(Photo source: yoga with a side of pie)
Namaste (nah-mah-stay) – an Indian greeting of respect that means “I bow to the divine in you.” It is usually said at the end of the class.