The word yoga means “union” in Sanskrit and Sanskrit is the language of ancient India where yoga originated. It means the union between the mind, body and spirit. I teach Hatha and Yin Yoga. Hatha Yoga represents the balance of opposites: the sun in Hindi is, (“ha”) and the moon (“tha”) and during the practice of yoga these two opposites work together creating unison and balance.
Some people’s perception of yoga is very different to the actual reality of it. I have had men say to me that they will not attend a class as they refuse to wear lycra! Or some people imagine having to stretch like a gymnast. This makes them worry that they’re too old, unfit, or stiff to do yoga. The truth is you’re never too old to improve your flexibility so yoga is open to all ages. It is one of the reasons why I love yoga so much, an 80 year old and an 8 year old can practice and share a common interest together. You can also wear what you like once it is comfortable for you to practice and it certainly doesn’t have to be lycra but if you chose to wear lycra thats ok too.
Yoga is really about learning to create balance in all aspects of your life and in the body by developing both strength and flexibility. This is achieved by performing various poses or postures which has a specific physical benefit. Yoga is life and how you practice on your mat will directly correlate to how you life your life.
It is really about the intention and what you wish to achieve from a class, e.g. the poses can be done quickly in succession, creating heat in the body through movement e.g., the sun salutation which is a sequence of poses or postures that work the whole body. This turns your practice into a detox which helps to eliminate waste out of the body.
Or, alternatively the poses can be done more slowly to increase stamina and thereby help perfect the alignment of the pose. Movement in and out of the poses or postures is done with complete awareness to the breath. This in time with familiarity becomes extremely meditative and I personally love some of the moving meditation practices.
Each time you take to your yoga mat you will do so under a different set of circumstances, so your Yoga practice will always be evolving and changing and this means it never gets boring. No two sessions will ever be the same. You body maybe fighting viruses, fatigue, or recovering after a late night. All this has an impact on your body and therefore impacts directly your experience on your mat at any given time. Yoga teaches you to meet yourself where you are at in any given moment, to be aware of the moment and to know when to accept and when to play a little with the body to see if you can improve your experience. This teaches you mindfulness of your own body and mind and when you have this awareness it also then filters out to those around you ensuring that you are mindful of others. This then also serves the benefit of the greater community.
The poses themselves do not change, correct alignment and awareness is always key but you will find that your relationship to the poses will change as you yourself develop on your yoga journey.
Yoga is non-competitive and pain free. One of the greatest pleasures in yoga for me personally is that it taught me so much about my own physical body. I have learnt how amazing our bodies truly are, how they naturally strive to be balanced and healed.
Meditation and balance poses helped me focus internally and have greater awareness. Breathing techniques helped me release stress, soothe and calm my nervous system during moments of stress in normal every day living e.g. I am a bad patient due to traumatic experiences in my youth, so a visit to dental appointments or hospital appointments is always a raised blood pressure moment for me, Taking a moment and using a breathing technique always calms down my system, soothes the nervous system which then calms the fight, flight and freeze response in me.
Breathing techniques also meant I learnt to know when things were not quite right in my body and I was able to seek medical advice sooner rather than later when symptoms were more pronounced. A few years ago I presented myself at a Doctor as I knew my right lung was not feeling right. It wasn’t I had a mild chest infection. I was able with awareness to prevent it from developing into anything more severe. Yoga taught me how to help cope with grief and life changing moments. Yoga brings me balance and grounding.
Yoga became my tool to help cope and survive life and all its challenges. It can help you too if you allow it to.
Benefits of Hatha Yoga:
- Stretches your muscles
- Increases range of mobility in joints
- Stretches soft tissues
- Improves muscle tone, strength and endurance
- Increases flexibility and strength bringing about better posture
- Increases body awareness
- Increases lung capacity improving sports performance and endurance.
- Promotes relaxation in the body
- Reduces and relieves the fight, flight and freeze response in the body
- Improves concentration and focus
- Lowers blood pressure and slows heart rate
- Boosts the immune system
- Slows the aging process.
- Teaches self-acceptance
- Boosts self-confidence and self-esteem
- Improves energy levels.
- Therapeutic yoga
- More energy and less fatigue
- Improves sleep through relaxation techniques
- Relief of physical, mental and emotional tension