-- WHAT IS YOGA? --
WHAT IS YOGA?
In its simplest term the word ‘Yoga’ means union or 'to yoke' and yet it is clear Yoga means many different things to different people - over time I hope you find what it means to you.
Below are some of my favourite definitions of Yoga - they have been pulled together from a number of sources including a variety of Yogic texts (both ancient and new), good friends and inspirational teachers.
Living with mindfulness and compassion
Harmonising the body, mind and soul
Joining the individual self to the universal self
Settling the chatterings of the mind
Peace from the stress of life
Finding a home for the mind
Selfless thought and action
Action with complete devotion and awareness
It's safe to say most of us want physical, mental and emotional health and in today's hectic society maybe also a sprinkling of peace! The joy of Yoga is it allows all of this and more. By releasing tensions in the body, we can move more freely, breathe more fully and think more clearly.
Yoga poses stretch not only the major muscle groups in the body but also work upon the joints, deeper tissues and tendons bringing greater flexibility and range of motion to muscles and joints.
Many yoga poses require you to support the weight of your body in a variety of ways, all of which help increase strength in the body and muscle tone.
Doing yoga will give you an increased awareness of your own body, over time increasing your level of comfort in your own skin and leading to improved posture and body confidence.
By gently stretching muscles and joints as well as massaging the various organs and glands, yoga stimulates blood flow and helps flush out toxins.
By consciously turning the attention to the breath we learn to deepen and lengthen it, maximizing our lung capacity and delivering more oxygen and energy to the body.
Working with the body and breathing with awareness has the effect of calming the mind as the breath aids the central nervous system to relax.
Physical activity is good for relieving stress, and this is particularly true of yoga. The combined focus of the physical body, a fuller breath and the emphasis yoga places on being in the moment, helps us relax and let go of stress.