The practise of yoga dates back to over five thousands years ago to the times of ancient forest dwellers called Rishis, sages who dwelt in Indus valley, in what is now northern India. Observing nature and searching within themselves, they evolved physical postures and breathing exercises which stretched, cleansed and centered the body, cultivating states of vitality, clarity and focus.
The word yoga is translated as union, unity or yolk, to join together , it comes from the sanskrit word yuj. This unity or joining is described in spiritual terms as the union of the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness. On a more practical level, yoga is a way of helping to co-ordinate the breath, mind and body to encourage balance, both internally and externally, promoting feelings of relaxation and ease. In the West, the most widely taught form of yoga is Hatha Yoga. Yoga classes offer students postures and movements to stretch, strengthen and flex the body, to develop breath awareness, to relax and sometimes to meditate. Some classes may be low impact while others can be very demanding. Yoga is a science of right living and , as such is intended to be incorporated into our daily lives. It works on all aspects of the person; physical, vital, mental, emotional, psychic and spiritual.
The practice of yoga helps us to achieve inner stillness and peace; yoga is a great way of keeping fit, giving the body an all over work out, the practice of yoga improves muscle tone , giving you core strength, balance and stability, yoga will brings balance and harmony into your mind, and thus creating health, happiness and fulfilment. Yoga really can make a difference to everyone’s lives
Styles of yoga
There are many different forms of yoga, including Ashanga Vinyasa this is a vigorous and physically demanding practice, Iyengar places great importance on precision and alignment, Satyananda emphasises on spirituality and awareness on the self, Kundalini is more about meditation and for those who seek a state of higher consciousnesses, Viniyoga includes a flowing session combining breath with movement, flowing in and out of the postures in time with the breath Bikram (hot yoga) has a set sequence of postures and is practiced in a heated room with temperatures of 36 to 42c, this can help students to sweat out toxins and stretch further than they could have done before, Brikram yoga may not be suitable for particular health complaints, Sivananda has a set amount of sequence that allow students to pace themselves. Here in the west, the widely taught style of yoga is Hatha this concentrates primarily on postures and on the breath, Hatha yoga is the umbrella term for all yoga, the teacher will incorporate their own teaching style. Yoga’s aim is to purify the body and therefore the mind, this is achieved through the use of asana (postures), mudras (gestures) pranayama (breath control) and the kriyas (cleansing techniques).
Some of the Many Benefits of yoga