WHAT IS YOGA ?
Yoga originated a few thousand years ago in India. Yoga is a Sanskrit word and one of it's many meanings is described as a union or merging of opposites. Hatha Yoga is the name used in the west for the physical forms of Yoga. It deals with balance and effort [ha is associated with the sun and tha with the moon]. It is believed that balancing and strengthening the body will in turn balance and focus the mind.
Hatha yoga is practiced in differing ways i.e. ashtanga, Iyengar, Sivananda, Scaralvelli, kundalini, Bikram and Dru to name but a few. Each style has the same goal- to increase self-awareness so that we can live harmoniously within our own bodies and also our surrounding environment. Hatha yoga's ultimate aim is to liberate us from the constraints of the mind. A visor of thoughts obliterates our view of the world and we don't look beyond it, if we did we would experience the expansive, timeless, limitless awareness that we hold within and are held by- yoga wants to lift the visor so that we can see beyond the restrictions of our usual, mind generated, expectations.
The styles that I prefer to take inspiration from, both as a teacher and student, are vinyasa krama and viniyoga.
If you are flexible it can be enjoyable to stretch your body, but Yoga is adaptable to every persons needs. Everyone will work within their own given framework. Challenge is good but pressure is not. Three of the main principles of Yoga are:-
- To avoid causing harm as far as possible [this most importantly includes ourselves].
- Acceptance [of what we have and haven’t got, or can or cannot do]
- Discipline [In order to reach our full potential it takes measured effort and gentle determination].
www.yogastudies.org/teachers-training/viniyoga/ (follow this link for more information on yoga and viniyoga)
All you need to practice Yoga is loose comfortable clothing, a mat, determination, persistence and a sincere desire to bring about personal positive changes. It may be useful to have a warm covering i.e. A blanket for relaxation as body temperature can drop at this stage. A cushion or block for some seated asanas [postures] is also useful for extra comfort.