What is Yoga?
Why do celebrities such as Madonna, Geri Halliwell and George Clooney love the discipline of the practise of Yoga. An ancient tradition of a belief system dating back 5,000 years.
In our technological world we reside in and the world we work in becomes more frantic and fast, people are seeking to return to more peaceful ways to unwind and de-stress. This in turn brings about the need for a spiritual release. Whilst many are not yet ready to become totally aware of their true self, they feel Yoga fits this basic need perfectly. Yoga captures the holistic dimension from mind, body and soul.
Yoga provides the perfect start for those wishing to embark on a journey of discovery. A journey that will travel to wherever feels most comfortable and fulfilling at that time, whether it is just the physical or the mind that needs a “work out”. One thing for sure is that Yoga can be practised throughout life, it really does suit everyone.
It is important to find a teacher and style that resonates completely when looking to start practising Yoga. This style may change over the years at different stages of life. Yoga, is perfect offering gentle low impact postures and can help certain medical conditions to improve. Yoga really does capture the spirit of our current age. With an ever growing health and fitness conscious society to be able to combine Eastern philosophy, fits very well.
The uptake on Yoga classes in the last two years has exploded, with more teachers being trained to cope with the demand. This also includes retreats, holidays and activity holidays that benefit from the inclusion of Yoga within the holiday programs.
Yoga should be classed as a way of life, not simply an exercise but a complete philosophy. Yoga dates back 5,000 years ago with most early mentions in India. Yoga balances mind, body and soul using a sequence of postures of stretching to activate the body’s system to create a flow of energy perfectly aligned. These stretching postures combined with diet, meditation and breathing exercises, leave the practitioner with a feeling of total wellbeing and on a path to opening towards spiritual enlightenment.
The word Yoga means union from the ancient Sanskrit word as in mind, body and soul become “one”, perfectly balanced to the “Higher Self” and bodily health. What is an Asana;
An Asana is the physical posture of stretching performed in Yoga. Not only will these Asanas help with suppleness and muscle tone, but will also stimulate the nervous system and help increase the flow of healing energy to the body’s organs or wherever it is needed most. The action of these postures acts by squeezing certain organs gently and the release causes a rush of healthy blood to flow, therefore helping to heal or unblock any areas that may need help in the body.
What are Pranayamas;
The special breathing techniques used in Yoga are called Pranayamas. In other practices such as Reiki the “Ki” or the “Life Force” as it is known or in Tai Chi the “Chi” is the life energy source. In Yoga the “Life Force” is called “Prana”, by controlling your life force you control the flow of vital energy around the body. This means you can control the breath, directing to areas of need.
Practising both Pranas and Asanas combined with meditation, will help to attain a higher level of “oneness”, towards spiritual enlightenement. Yoga practised as a beginner has the most wonderful benefits for reducing stress, encouraging relaxation, muscle toning, suppleness and because it is low impact suitable for all ages, abilities and especially good for athletes with injuries towards rapid recovery.
As with all activites there are many types of Yoga to choose from, it is important to try a few or combine a few weekly to suit the needs of each person. Ultimately all types will take you on a similar journey you choose the vehicle with which to travel at a pace to suit.
Hatha Yoga is probably the most common Yoga one will have heard of. Hatha mostly concentrates on the physical body and is the perfect place to start for a beginner, who may state they have no spiritual intentions whatsoever. Hatha means to balance. Hatha Yoga in it’s practice combining prana and asanas can help to balance, calm the mind and relax the body. If the mind is relaxed or the body calm, one will surely follow the other to achieve the desired effect of learning self control, which may be applied to daily life at home, work or in any situation.
This type of Yoga is known to be more strenuous. The postures combined with breathing and meditation progress through a repeated sequence of specific movements designed to improve circulation, detoxify and cleanse the body. These series of rounds produce a tremendous amount of internal body heat fantastic for an all over instant body detox.
There are many different types of yoga these are two of the most typical to be available at most gyms or centres. All types will give a warm sense of well being, increased level of fitness and spirituality combined.