Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice. In fact, the word “yoga” comes from a Sanskrit word meaning “union.” Yoga asanas were originally designed to unite your body and mind by purifying both.
However, modern interpretations of yoga can also focus primarily on the physical benefits of yoga. These don’t incorporate many spiritual facets like chanting and chakras, but instead focus on building flexibility, strength, and proper breathing.
Find a yoga studio that focuses on the physical aspect
The best way to get into yoga without the spiritual aspect is to find an instructor that focuses on the physical aspect rather than the spiritual aspect.
You’ll be able to tell very easily how spiritually inclined a yoga studio is just by visiting the website or walking into one.
If the studio has lots of mystical and spiritual decorations, there’s a good chance the focus is on very spiritual yoga.
However, if you go to a yoga studio and it feels more like walking into a regular gym, then you know this particular studio is focusing primarily on exercise and flexibility.
Another way to get an idea of how spiritually inclined a yoga class is by looking at the name. Yogas attached with Sanskrit names(tantra, karma, Kundalini, etc) will likely be spiritually inclined.
Talk to the instructor if you have concerns or
If you’re still unsure, walk in to your local yoga studio and speak to the instructor. Tell them that you are not very familiar with yoga and let them know you would like to focus on getting a good workout without going too deep into the spiritual aspect of things.
Many instructors understand this and will help keep your session focused on exercise and stretching.
Find an online yoga instructor
If you want to try yoga without the spirituality, you can sign up for an online class. Just Google something like “free yoga YouTube” and you’ll have plenty of options. The advantage of this is that there’s no pressure from a physical studio or intimidating instructor.
Perhaps the easiest way to get into yoga without the spiritual aspect is to practice at home, using videos you can find on YouTube. Going down the YouTube rabbit hole can help you research the different types of yoga, too.
Just make sure any online instructor you check out has plenty of positive reviews(or good comments on Youtube videos)
Pay attention to the negative reviews too, as they might be able to shed some light on whether or not you’ll enjoy the class.
You can find yoga classes on YouTube and most teachers offer free versions of their workouts as well as paid classes. This way, it’s easy to see if you like their philosophy before paying for a subscription.
Yoga with Adrienne
Yoga with Adrienne is one of the most popular yoga channels on YouTube. She has multiple free workouts that you can follow along with to see if yoga works for you.
How yoga can benefit you
Yoga can improve your breathing
Not just in Yoga, but in a number of other strength-training, sports, and activities, good breathing is critical.
Ask any athlete and they’ll tell you that poor breathing can completely throw them off their game. Perhaps the best example of a sport where proper breathing is critical is swimming!
A large part of yoga focuses on teaching proper breathing and being aware of breath as it goes in and out of your body.
This is one of the many reasons why yoga, in addition to being a great form of exercise, can also improve flexibility and serve as an effective stress relief.
Yoga can increase strength
Since yoga places such an emphasis on stretching and holding positions for long periods of time, it’s no surprise that you’ll see significant strength gains just by doing yoga.
The best part about yoga is that it doesn’t even feel like you’re exercising!
Yoga can reduce stress
Many people are surprised to learn that exercise can be incredibly effective at reducing stress levels, but there are few activities that prove as beneficial as yoga.
This means lower stress during the day and a better night’s sleep at night.
Best of all, yoga doesn’t need to be a time-consuming activity. In fact, most people report that their favorite thing about yoga is how quick it is!
Yoga promotes mind-body awareness
Perhaps the most valuable benefit of yoga is its ability to promote mind-body awareness.
Since many people spend long hours during the day at the desk and just getting everything done that it can be easy for them to tune out their body.
Yoga helps you reintegrate your mind and body into one cohesive unit, which can help give you a more positive outlook on life in general.
Remember that yoga is supposed to help unify your body and mind. There’s nothing inherently spiritual about this, as all forms of physical fitness need harmony between your mind and body to see maximum results.
It doesn’t really matter how spiritual or not you are when practicing yoga. The goal is to be healthy and balanced and that’s what matters in the end. Don’t let any misconceptions get in your way, find a practice that makes you feel good and go from there.