Yoga

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What is Yoga? 

Yoga is so much more than postures, it’s a system and philosophy for living with vitality and integrity that originated over 5,000 years ago in India. There are many ancient texts and sages that have contributed to this tradition, and as a living tradition it continues to be influenced by modern thinkers and science.

The yoga system teaches us how to find balance and health socially and personally — in our body, breath, mind and spirit.

The word “yoga” in Sanskrit means union, and all of the practices aim to generate balance, harmony and union in all parts of our existence — ultimately leading to personal enlightenment.

Enlightenment means to bring in light and lightness. The path of enlightenment doesn’t mean you have to go sit in a cave and understand all the mysteries of the world — rather it suggests we work systematically to bring light and lightness into our daily life (called sukha in Sanskrit).


How can yoga help me? 

  • Calms the mind and reduces stress
  • Improves energy and reduces fatigue
  • Increases physical flexibility, mobility and strength
  • Reduces physical pain, inflammation and tightness
  • Detoxifies the body and stimulates metabolism
  • Improves mental focus and personal clarity
  • Enhances self awareness, care and self love
  • Generates peace, love, patience and connection

 


What style of yoga is right for me? 

There are many forms of yoga and to find the one that is right for you ask yourself: what do I want to get out of the practice?

There are so many ways yoga can help you, just look at that list of benefits above. That’s because there are so many tools in the yoga system and so many ways to approach a practice.

You want to make sure that the style or approach is aligned with your desired benefit rather than treating “yoga” as one blanket method. If it doesn’t give you what you need, try a different style or get some advice. In the mean time here is a quick guide to the main styles and what to expect.

Quick guide to yoga styles and their benefits: 

  • Hatha — The most traditional style of yoga. Often moving slower, holding poses longer and focusing on breath, alignment and energy. Good for beginners, building foundational strength, body awareness and breathing.
  • Dynamic Hatha — A more flowing approach to traditional Hatha poses, often stronger and will build strength, balance, flexibility, endurance and generate greater mindfulness as well as cultivate being calm in the middle of challenge.
  • Iyengar — One of the most famous schools of Hatha Yoga following the method of Mr. BKS Iyengar, the godfather of good alignment and attention to detail. Slower paced, longer holds,  excellent for beginners and those needing to heal an injury, as well as for advanced practitioners to refine their alignment and mastery of poses.
  • Ashtanga — One of the most famous forms of flowing dynamic yoga founded by Sri K Patabi Joyce integrating sun salutations throughout class. Follows one set sequence called the Primary Series focused on continuous movement and breath, builds strength, flexibility, endurance, breath control and mindfulness.
  • Vinyasa — Born out of the Ashtanga system this is a flowing form of yoga integrating sun salutations throughout class but does not follow a set sequence, rather it can be very creatively designed by the teacher. Generally stronger, focus on continuos movement and breath awareness.
  • Yin — A form or yoga focused on building flexibility by holding stretching poses for 3 to 5 minutes with emphasis on creating space in joints and releasing fascia. Very relaxing and excellent for people looking to gain flexibility, athletes and those needing more of a meditative practice.
  • Restorative — A very relaxing form of yoga designed to restore and rejuvenate the body through supported, long held poses, breath awareness and guided relaxation.

I have studied and practiced all of these methods and teach primarily dynamic hatha as well as yin classes. (Book a free 15 minute strategy session with me to discuss what is right for you).

 


Is it safe to practice with an injury or medical condition? 

Yoga can help with so many medical condition and injuries, but it can also exacerbate them if you do the wrong style for your situation. Also speak to your teacher before starting a class about any injuries or medical conditions. I recommend doing a private session first with an experienced teacher and get their advice on what approach will help you most.

 


What are the other parts of yoga beside postures? 

The yoga system is often broken down into 8 limbs`according to Patajali’s Yoga Sutras:

  1. Yama — Social observances (nonviolence, truth, non stealing, non-excess, non-possessiveness)
  2. Niyama — Personal observances (purity, contentment, self discipline, self study, surrender)
  3. Asana — Physical postures and health
  4. Pranayama — Breathing exercises and ability
  5. Pratyahara — Control of the senses
  6. Dharana — Concentration
  7. Dhyana — Meditation
  8. Samadhi — Union with all, enlightenment

Yoga practice is a whole lifestyle practice as you can see, and integrates a refined system of ancient philosophy from India into living a full, happy and healthy life.

Practicing yoga is also about following the principles of Ayurveda, the traditional medice system of India. Ayurveda particularly emphasises lifestyle design as preventative medic through — read more here.

My coaching and lifestyle programs are very steeped in Ayurvedic principles and focused on teaching lifestyle design that will prevent illness and supports our vitality.

My approach is also very practical and I like to make yoga philosophy real and applicable rather than just esoteric ideals or funky Sanksrit words. I have a number of practices, worksheets and workshops that help us ground these beautiful ancient principles into our every day life.