You can purchase the best yoga books, mats, DVDs and uniforms that money can buy, but none of it necessarily makes your mind-body experience any better. That's the message we consistently try to get across at Dahn Yoga: you shouldn't have to shell out in order to bliss out.
A good example of unnecessarily pricey yoga meditation supplies can be found in a new line of yoga clothing released by the apparel company Garnet Hill.
Called the ZinniTM collection, it includes the standard sort of pants, shirts, shorts and wraps that you'd expect these days. Nearly all items are made with synthetic fibers, and many of the top-and-bottom sets have a clingy, restrictive fit.
The company's vice president of merchandising, Joanne M., called the line an "exclusive collection," which is pretty accurate, considering that even a simple pair of ZinniTM pants costs north of $80.
Now, it's certainly fine to wear any kind of clothing you like while doing yoga. However, you don't have to spend a bundle to be comfortable and stylish. Essentially, all you need in order to regulate your body temperature is a good pair of loose, natural-weave pants and a long-sleeved top.
It's not always easy to figure out the etiquette that comes with a new pursuit. In yoga, for instance, you may come to your first class without much idea of how to behave or what to bring. Rather than reading though an entire yoga books for beginners, though, just follow these simple tips for new practitioners.
1. Talk to your instructor before class. If you have big questions or concerns, now is the time to voice them, instead of during quiet meditation.
2. Turn off your cellphone. Just do it. It will never be a part of your essential yoga meditation supplies. A ringing phone can break everyone's calm.
3. Take off your shoes as you enter the studio. It's good etiquette, and it will relax your feet to get them back in a more natural state.
4. Make friends! You're not just going to yoga class to decompress after a long day, but also to meet other people and make social connections. Don't be an isolationist. Say hi!
5. Be open to new things. Some meditation exercises may seem silly at first, but chances are good that you'll quickly learn to love them.
Becoming a yoga teacher is typically a long process of training, stretching, meditating and learning to express the concepts of the mind-body regimen in a way that is simple and easy to understand. So, it might not surprise you to learn that some yoga books for teachers are better than others.
Recently, CNN noted that a now-infamous New York Times article – one that caught a lot of heat for arguing that "yoga can wreck your body" – is excerpted from a larger volume on the subject.
This book makes the same contention as the article – namely, that yoga classes have "no hierarchy of officials or organization to ensure purity and [the adherence] to agreed-upon sets of facts and poses, rules and procedures, outcomes and benefits."
Is this true? Well, yes and no. What matters isn't so much the standardization of yoga as the care and concern of its leaders.
Joe Palese, a yoga instructor with 14 years of experience, told CNN that "it's the integrity and the awareness that the teacher brings to class that is most important."
The best yoga books emphasize this fact while taking newbies through the gentle basics of the holistic system.
While many trendy yoga disciplines have helped popularize the mind-body system lately, it has in some cases been to the detriment of cash-strapped enthusiasts. Certain yoga varieties emphasize buying the right yoga meditation supplies over pursuing mental and physical well-being.
This phenomenon may be one reason why the yoga industry is expected to make billions in 2011. According to an IBISWorld Market Research report, yoga-associated revenues will hit $3.3 billion this year.
However, much of this money has little to do with the honorable tradition of learning – and eventually, teaching – the holistic system. The Bloomberg news organization calculated that the average female enthusiast may spend around $700 per year on yoga clothes, mats and other deluxe gear.
Such expenditures are hardly necessary. The best yoga regimens urge participants to stick to the basics – namely, a loose, long-sleeved shirt and a pair of natural-fiber pants. The rest they can jettison, since it does little more than drain their pocketbook.
Likewise, savvy yoga practitioners can hunt up good deals. Try searching for yoga books online, and purchase meditation DVDs that stick to the essentials rather than dazzling you with celebrity faces.
Reading yoga books for beginners and practicing the gentle maneuvers may be a reliable way to get healthier, particularly in light of a popular CNN article that suggests that taking supplements may not be as beneficial to one's well-being as previously reported. While most Americans know that exercising and eating a nutritious diet are key to striving for their full potential, it may come as a surprise to those who supplement their food intake with multivitamins that this practice could actually be detrimental.
A recent study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine reported that nutrients like iron, folic acid, vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc and copper have been associated with a mildly increased risk of earlier death, particularly among older women.
"Taking more of what we think is a good thing may not be so good," said researcher Susan Fisher from the University of Rochester Medical Center, quoted by CNN. "High levels of nutrient supplements may be harmful, or at least not helpful."
She and her team emphasized that further investigation is needed before a definite conclusion is made. Meanwhile, American women may want to continue eating a healthy diet and engaging in an exercise like yoga. Throughout the history of yoga meditation, the holistic regimen has been shown to improve many enthusiasts' physical, mental and emotional well-being.