Yoga, which originated in India more than 5,000 years ago, is a Hindu system of philosophy that encompasses the body, mind and spirit. Its aim is ultimate physical health and happiness, together with mental peace and tranquillity.

What is yoga?

The Sanskrit word Yoga is translated as ‘union’ between mind, body and spirit. Please note that the form of yoga that we teach is secular/ non religious and is taught as a form of exercise. It will not conflict with any of your own spiritual beliefs. Many people’s perception of Yoga is that it is just stretching but it is also about creating a harmony and balance within the body through the development of strength and flexibility. This is achieved through controlled poses or postures alongside efficient and relaxed breathing. Each pose is claimed to have a specific physical and emotional health benefit to help promote an overall sense of wellbeing. In the West, the most widely taught forms are adaptations of Hatha Yoga. Some forms such as Ashtanga are more energetic.

Breath work

Breathing techniques are taught to develop awareness and relaxation. Begin by “tuning in” to your breath and any sensations that you feel in your body. This is a very practical way to work at ‘being in your body’ which can help you to be more aware of areas of tension or altered posture. Combining these body awareness skills with breathing techniques is a good way to improve relaxation and to ease into each movement.

Yoga can help with

Research suggests that yoga can help to manage or control many conditions including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Back pain
  • Blood pressure
  • Chronic fatigue

Yoga can also help with:

  • Improving muscle tone, flexibility, strength and stamina
  • Improving circulation
  • Reducing stress and tension
  • Creating a sense of well being and calm

Some things to think about

  • Breathe slowly and deeply
  • Reflect on how you feel
  • What sensations do you notice?
  • Take the time to explore the space between poses
  • Yoga is not a competition
  • Listen to your body and respond to it

It is important to have a go at these poses without striving and without forcing. While stretching or balancing we learn to accept our body as we find it. Do not feel the need to push yourselves, but be patient with your current physical capabilities. This may involve learning to work in a different way! Rather than focusing on the movement or what the body is doing, allow yourself to just be…

”paying attention to dwelling in the creative space between not challenging the body at all and pushing it too far”