Yoga: A way of life
Yoga is a 5000-year-old Indian philosophy that combines exercise, breathing, diet, relaxation and meditation. It is a combination of physical and mental disciplines which make the body stronger and healthier and the mind calmer and more controlled, helping towards self-realisation. It emphasizes the relationship of body, mind and breath, the synchronisation of the breath and movement, the use of preparation, counter pose, sequences of linked postures and modification of postures to suit individual needs. Yoga is the art of skillful living. It has many aspects. It is about getting to know yourself. Integrating the many aspects of ourselves and putting us in control of our minds; the effects are holistic, bringing about health awareness and a change of attitude towards ourselves and the world around us. We cannot practice Yoga without changes happening within ourselves, becoming more aware that it influences our life and the way we live. The practice can be low impact but it can also be very demanding. The beauty of Yoga is that it is accessible to everyone, as the session can be adapted to each person’s level of fitness or state of health. For those who love Yoga, it becomes a way of life. Whether your path is physical, mental, spiritual or a combination, yoga is for everyone. Most Yoga classes are composed of people with all abilities; these are termed as ‘mixed ability’ classes. There are classes especially for beginners, intermediate and advanced practitioners, enabling teachers to grade their students and plan the lesson accordingly. Hatha Yoga is probably the best known form of Yoga and includes Asanas (body postures), Pranayama (control of vital energy through breath control), Kriyas (cleansing practices), Meditation, and Deep Relaxation to reduce stress and build self-confidence.