Yoga is not an ancient myth buried in oblivion.
It is the most valuable inheritance of the present.
It is the essential need of today and the culture of tomorrow.
–Swami Satyananda Saraswati
The word Yoga is classically translated as meaning ’union’
It is the union of body, mind, and breath, combining all parts to create a unified whole.
I believe this is what sets yoga apart from all other forms of exercise.
Today’s fast-paced and stressful world often leaves us feeling off-kilter, unbalanced and worn down.
Yoga brings us back to basics, redressing the balance, putting each part back on an even keel.
It gives you time to take a step back and allows you to breathe and relax.
If we break down the separate parts we can take a look at the benefits yoga brings to each one.
Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape
Regular practise of yoga will increase your strength, stamina and flexibility.
Through the postures you will develop balance and co-ordination.
You will increase your spinal flexibility and your posture will improve – helping you walk tall and combating any lower back issues.
Yoga also improves blood circulation and lymph flow – getting rid of toxins and promoting a healthy immune system.
Yoga postures have the potential to unlock the body’s ability to heal itself, by stimulating and balancing the important glandular system and increasing the natural flow of healing energy throughout the body.
As long as there is breath in the body, there is life.
When the breath departs, so too does life.
Therefore, regulate the breath
–Hatha Yoga Pradipika
How often do we think about how we breathe? Yet breathing is our most immediate necessity in life. How long would we survive without the breath?
Many of us on a day-to-day basis ‘half breathe’.
We neglect the breath yet it is an all-important key to health and well-being.
In yoga we dedicate time to focus solely on the breath – exercising the lungs, strengthening them week by week, increasing their capacity.
For people who suffer with respiratory conditions the benefits of these exercises are great. And for everyone in general good breathing maximizes your intake of oxygen ridding your body of waste toxins, boosting your immune system and leaving you feeling vibrant and energized.
Meditation and concentration are the way to a life of serenity
Controlling the mind is probably the most challenging part of yoga.
Our minds are full of chatter – it is constant and relentless.
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and added to your list of ‘things to do’? Or perhaps you find it difficult to fall asleep because your mind is so busy and you can’t switch off from the day.
Conscious relaxation and visualisation is a vital way to quieten the mind, calm anxiety and soothe the nervous system.
Through relaxation techniques we can clear emotional blockages and control the mind rather than letting the mind control you.
Yoga relaxation gives us the tools to do this – and remember you can take the techniques home with you to promote a good night’s sleep and enhance your concentration and attention in everyday situations.