Yoga is an Indian Science and an Artistic form of movement and expression to aid an individuals health, and well-being. It teaches that in order for an individual to develop, there must be balance. The ancient Yogi’s therefore formulated the Yogic method combining movements needed for physical health, and breathing and meditation techniques to create peace of mind. Yoga means Union, or to unite the Body, Mind and Spirit, or Heart.
In our day-to-day lives when people talk, or hear about Yoga, they often assume that it means sitting or standing in strange positions while focusing on breathing. In some aspects of the practice this is true; however Yoga in our everyday western life can essentially be described as a “lifestyle”. It is a way of maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle by incorporating breathing techniques, postural movement and meditation into individual daily routine, and then taking the deep rooted principles of the practice off the mat, into our everyday lives.
In essence, by engaging with the body in the practice of Yoga, it is possible to strengthen and improve one's health and have a deeper understanding of how the body works, and feels. It also contributes to the mind in creating calm and furthermore teaching one to be in control of their thoughts, and emotions.
Moreover, Yoga has the ability to improve personal relationships, develop compassion for other people and provide a deeper understanding of one’s self. By incorporating the practice of Yoga into your own life you are able to see changes in the way you feel about yourself, other people, and the environment you live in.
These positive changes that the art of Yoga can give you as an individual may at first seen daunting, but by opening to these changes and wonderful shifts to the body, mind and emotions, you can ultimately improve your lifestyle, health, happiness and over all well - being!
As B.K.S Iyengar once stated, “above all, it gives hope”. It teaches the individual the importance of self-discipline and self-awareness by training the body and mind to work in harmony together, bringing balance to one’s life, and ultimately unifying the soul of the individual.
"Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations."
Yoga is therefore a powerful tool in a modern fast-paced western lifestyle giving awareness and strength to the body, a deeper sense of calm to the mind and a positive connection to one’s inner self.
You can find further reading and information about the Hatha and Therapeutic styes of Yoga by clicking the links below:
The anatomy is the heart of all living things. The human anatomy makes up the internal structure of the body, and so understanding the role of the vital organs, plays a huge part in the practice and teaching of Yoga.
In order for the body to function properly it is essential that all the vital organs are working correctly. Any damage to the organs can cause imbalances and in turn affect other functions of the body. Yoga aims to protect the vital organs by strengthening the muscles. It also uses breathing techniques and asanas to renew cells in the body, thus strengthening the cardiovascular, immune and lymph systems.
Through the practice of Yoga the stretching of muscles allows blood through the valves of the veins, and inverted postures allow gravity to assist the flow of blood back to the heart, refreshing and renewing body.
This also in effect stretches the heart and increases the amount of blood circulated, and thus improving awareness and concentration. By working with alignment in the practice of Yoga the body and mind function naturally at a more intelligent level. And using mind concentration with the flow of the breath, the body is highly developed to form a healthy physical and mental state.
In Sanskrit terms Ayurveda means ‘science’ or ‘wisdom of life’. It is an ancient philosophy built on fundamental truths about the human body, mind and spirit. It is also known as the sister to Yoga and is wholly based on wise, permanent principles of living rather than on going research and findings, unlike Western Medicine.
Originating in the East 3,000 years ago it could not be more appropriate for Western living where stress and illness are so common in every day life. Legend has it that 52 wise men, also known as ‘Seer’s’ traveled to the Himalaya’s and meditated together, and from this meditation they gained the knowledge of Ayurveda.
The core teachings of Ayurveda are that by balancing the body, mind and spirit the individual can prevent any imbalances in the body. Thus all three must be working correctly in order for the individual to be healthy and happy.
Ayurveda takes a holistic, logical and common sense approach to health and living, and is combined with philosophy, psychology and spiritual guidance. It uses detoxification programmes including diet, massage and yoga, and also treats disorders such as infertility, impotence, arthritis, hypertension, infectious diseases and chronic illnesses. It is believed that it works to create good relationships and healthy lifestyles.
Meditation essentially means the harmonising of the body and mind in a subtle yet continuous way of movement and action. By constantly observing the mind, the awareness that is gained from meditation can then be applied to everyday life. Through regular practice of mediation, one can experience peace, relaxation and a contented mind.
By focusing the mind on one point by way of meditation, one can transcend thoughts and constant chatter to find the tranquility that resides within. Hence, the fundamental concept of concentration, and obtaining the ability to focus the mind on the present, rather than past or future thoughts.
During meditation one may focus on an object or a mantra. This in affect allows the mind to stay still by creating a deeper sense of purpose and strength, and ultimately making thinking more concentrated, and positive in action.It is not an easy practice that happens overnight, but with patience and dedication, one can notice a shift in the way of thinking,a deeper sense of relaxation, and understanding of the self.