Do I need any special equipment?
No, however most purchase a mat, also known as a "sticky mat", which sticks to the floor better than a towel or blanket. Loose fitting cotton clothing or Lycra allows you to stretch and twist naturally without restriction. Practice is normally done without socks, to ensure firm footing with the mat as you flow into pose.
I'm not physically fit. I've never tried yoga. What if I do it wrong? I'm intimidated.
Hogwash. There's no such thing as doing yoga wrong. What is wrong is not trying. Each pose has several variations and you do what you can. With practice, you'll notice a substantial improvement in your strength and flexibility in only a few weeks. Yoga is not about competition. It's about you doing what you can, and feeling better about yourself.
How many times a week should I do Yoga and for how long?
Most schools teach a practice session that lasts anywhere from 30-90 minutes. If you can do that everyday -- great. If not, try and do that much a few days a week, including a class or two, and fill in with shorter sessions on days when you don't have as much time. Any Yoga is better than no Yoga, and 20 to 30 minutes a day is better than 90 minutes once a week.
Do real men do Yoga?
American men are now flocking to the yoga mats where once, it seemed, only women dared to tread. A new Harris poll commissioned by Yoga Journal suggests that men now make up 25 percent of America's 15 million enthusiasts. If your goal is to feel better inside and out, increase your flexibility, endurance, core body strength and get leaner and lose body fat, then Yoga is for you.
What's the difference between Yoga and just plain stretching and normal exercise?
Traditional exercise is goal oriented: How many push ups can I do? Can I touch my toes? I'm going to do 10 more crunches today than I did yesterday. Yoga, by contrast, is a process. The idea is to focus your awareness on what you are doing and how you feel as you perform the postures. In exercise, you fail if you miss your goal. In Yoga, you succeed by trying. There's also a difference on the physical level. Weight training, for example, makes you stronger by breaking down and rebuilding muscle tissue. It's this breaking down and rebuilding that results in the bulky muscle look. Yoga increases strength by toning the muscles
Will Yoga help me lose weight and which style is best?
Yoga can make you look and feel better, regardless of your weight. That said, Yoga can help you slim down in a couple of ways. First, the exercises will help you burn calories. In addition, they'll help tone your muscles and improve of your posture. Yoga is also about healthy living, which includes a healthy diet. That doesn't mean you have to become a vegetarian, just that you should be conscious of the foods you eat, sticking with natural, fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, etc. as much as possible while limiting your intake of junk food and foods high in fat, like red meat. Any of the basic yoga styles will help. The important thing is to practice daily (or at least 4-5 days a week). Books, videos and website can be a great help, but nothing beats a live instructor.