What is Yoga?
Yoga means union of body,mind and spirit.
Another great definition is “Harmony in life is Yoga”
(Yoga Teacher’s Training course manual – Swami Vishnu Yoga Centre)
Hatha Yoga ‘officially’ is any yoga that includes the physical poses or asanas. There are many, many different types of Hatha Yoga (ashtanga, Kripalu, power, yin, Bikram, Anusara, flow and on it goes.)
The term Hatha yoga also ‘unofficially’ refers to a gentle type of yoga.
Why practice Yoga?
In order to live harmoniously with better health and well being. You will experience physical and psychological benefits by:
- becoming aware of tension in the body and mind (stress)
- focusing attention in order to remain aware and present
- stimulating the relaxation response through conscious breathing
Remember your breath is always with you :-)
When practising yoga asanas…
Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutras, only had one comment about the asanas (poses.) “Perform them with STEADINESS and EASE.”
• If it doesn’t feel right either back off a bit or stop and modify
• Be kind to yourself and respect your present limitations
Stretching should produce more of a broad sensation. The more focused, tight, sharp or electrical sensations means you have gone too far so back off or come out.
3 Steps for moving from pose to pose (vinyasa)
1) Get the movement first
2) Once you have the movement then try putting breath with it
3) Once you are familiar with the movement try flowing with the breath - matching the length of inhalations and exhalations to the movement
IF YOU ARE UNSURE PLEASE ASK QUESTIONS
More details about Yoga....
There are 4 broad types of yoga:
1) Jnana Yoga – yoga of knowledge (wisdom)
2) Karma Yoga – yoga of action (selfless service)
3) Bhakti Yoga – yoga of devotion to the divine
4) Raja Yoga – yoga of physical and mental control (often called the yoga of meditation.) Hatha Yoga is a subset of Raja Yoga.
Patanjali, the founder of Raja Yoga, described it as having 8 limbs
1. Yama : attention to ethical conduct in the outer world
2. Niyama : attention to personal ethics
3. Asanas : poses – training the body
4. Pranayama: breathing exercises - training the breath and prana (life force energy)
5. Pratyahara : withdrawing attention from senses (touch, sight, hearing, smelling, tasting)
6. Dharana : concentration; focusing attention toward an object
7. Dhyana: meditation; uninterrupted concentration on an object
8. Samadhi : highest state of consciousness; body, mind and senses are united with unity consciousness/ higher intelligence/ Brahman/ God/ universal energy…many names.
As we move from the first limb to the 8th limb our attention becomes more and more focused until there is no separation between our sense of “I” or “Me” and what we are focused on.
This is unity....this is Yoga. .