Yoga is a mind and body practice with historical origins in ancient Indian philosophy. Various styles of yoga combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation.
With threads principally woven through Buddhist and Hindu theosophical origins, this spiritual and ascetic discipline that can include direction on the breath, meditation, and the adoption of specific body postures, is now widely practised outside Indian diaspora in all parts of the world.
Yoga postures were given names by the sages and richis who codified the practices over 5000 years ago. These have been handed down in ancient languages. We use them still today as compound words; they not only often describe the position, but also provide a universal familiarity for yogis of the 21st century practicing the world over.
Yoga is a total mind-body workout that combines controlled breathing and strengthening poses with meditation and relaxation.
Research has shown that yoga has outperformed aerobic exercise at improving balance, flexibility, strength and pain levels amongst all generations. It may also relieve menopausal symptoms, increase daily energy levels and therefore social interactions and generally help towards a better 'operating system' for your body.
Yoga does so much more than calm you down and make you more flexible!
Postures challenge the body, but without the spiritual side yoga becomes just another stretch class or gym workout or even a way of relaxing. Yoga is also a mental practice where you can work through emotional stress and psychological challenges.
So physically yoga offers a range of benefits including:
Why not try our different classes to get a feel for the way your body works and to find the right style for you. Some types of yoga will suit you better than others. Never force yourself into a pose and please don't feel bad about trying the different classes, styles and even teachers.
Learn to calm your mind and listen to your body and then you'll gain all the benefits yoga has to offer over the years.
There is no good or bad yoga, simply a practice. It is not 'a perfect' pose, in fact yoga is non-competitive and encourages self thought and acceptance. Accepting the present moment brings inner peace.
Holding poses for a period of time can help boost your self esteem and confidence off the mat and can also create an inner stillness and peace visible to the world.
Becoming aware of your body and mind helps you stay tuned with the world around you as well as developing the relationship with yourself. Learning to breath, relax and focus on yourself helps you become more aware and encourages love and good feelings, as well as compassion and a tendency not to over-react to everyday stresses.
The more you practice the more in tune with your body you will become. With regular practice comes awareness of your self. A feeling of 'oneness' within yourself often develops once you've been practicing for a while.
Through movement, meditation and breath (pranayama) you start to connect with your true essence. As thoughts become more controlled you find many 'habits' fall away to reveal your natural state of peace. Real Me!