What is yoga?

Yoga is a holistic system aimed at creating balance and therefore health and well-being, in body, heart and mind. It's ancient tried and tested techniques have been around for well over 2000 years.

For some people Yoga is also a spiritual path (though NOT a religion) aimed at developing awareness and evolving our consciousness so one can live to one's fullest potential and be freed from conditioning and habits.

Modern science and research has proven yoga's effectiveness in combating many imbalances (dis-eases) of the physical and physiological systems.

 
Yoga practices
  • asana (physical movements and positions)

  • pranayama (breathing)

  • meditation (seated or moving)

  • yoga nidra (relaxation)

  • mudra (physical gestures that affect the mental and emotional systems)

  • chanting

  • kriyas (cleansing)

  • bandhas (physical gestures that release energetic blockages)

  • philosophical study: aimed at developing self-awareness and giving guidance for “right” living.

The Eight Limbs

The Yogic system and philosophy is based on what are known as the 8 limbs, as described in the ancient text of the Yoga Sutras of Patanlali.

  1. Yamas: guidances for living in the world.

  2. Niyamas: guidances for our relationship with ourselves

  3. Asana; physical positions or movements

  4. Pranayama: movement of breath and energy (Prana)

  5. Pratyahara: turning inwards, a quietening of sensory distraction

  6. Dharana: a state of awareness described as concentration, or the ability to chose the focal point for one's attention e.g. giving all of one's attention to a flower

  7. Dhyana: a state of awareness whee the relationship with the object of one's attention deepens to the point of merging e.g. a sense of not being separate from the flower

  8. Samadhi: a state of oneness and complete absorption, non-duality, non-separateness. Pure meditative awareness.

 

 

While i use many of these practices and guidelines in my weekly classes, for more in-depth experience i recommend attending a workshop or retreat.

Who is it for?

Anyone, whatever your age, flexibility, fitness level, mobility, social background, can practise yoga.

There is a yoga system and teacher to suit everyone. There is no such thing as being 'good' at yoga! it is more than an exercise class, it supports physical, mental and emotional well being. For some it can also be a spiritual practice (though not a religion).

Sometimes if you have a particular condition to work with, one-to-one work might be more suitable for you, however i can suggest adaptations of practices during classes to suit your level of experience and personal needs.

Benefits of yoga.

Based on many research programmes worldwide, yoga's benefits are being documented as having positive effects on many of our physical and mental processes. It is a way of maintaining physical health, but has also been found to support chemical balance in the body, and of course has that well -known “feel-good factor” that supports stress relief, positivity and all round well being.

(ref: https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/count-yoga-38-ways-yoga-keeps-fit)

  1. improves flexibility

  2. builds muscle strength

  3. perfects your posture

  4. Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown

  5. Protects your spine by keeping the discs supple

  6. Betters your bone health through weight bearing

  7. Increases your blood flow

  8. Drains your lymph and boosts immunity

  9. Boosts your heart rate

  10. Balances your blood pressure

  11. Regulates your adrenal glands (thereby balancing hormone release e.g. Cortisol – the stress hormone)

  12. Makes you happier – aids release of stress relieving and pleasure hormones. Regulates nervous system

  13. Supports a healthy lifestyle

  14. Lowers blood sugar

  15. Helps you focus and improves concentration

  16. Relaxes your system

  17. Improves your balance

  18. Maintains your nervous system

  19. Releases tension in your limbs / muscles / connective tissues

  20. Helps you sleep deeper

  21. Boosts your immune system functionality

  22. Gives your lungs room to breathe

  23. Prevents or supports management of IBS and other digestive problems

  24. Gives you peace of mind

  25. Increases your self-esteem, boosts confidence, develops inner strength

  26. Eases and helps with management of pain

  27. Builds awareness for transformation, thereby developing the ability to create positive change in your life

  28. develops friendliness, compassion, and greater equanimity

  29. links body and mind, thereby increasing potential for mental and emotional regulation and healing

  30. develops inner guidance (“intuitive inner wisdom”)

  31. encourages self care and care for others

© 2014 by Claire Osborne.

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