What Is Yoga

Yoga is a system of physical, mental and spiritual development that originated in India some 3000 years ago. It is a personal development program that teaches us how to quieten our minds and how to flow harmoniously with our lives. The postures, breathing exercises, relaxation and meditation enhance both our physical and mental well being.

Yoga classes are always unique to the teacher. Every teacher will have their own style of teaching and the ideas of yoga teachers as to what their class should incorporate will vary widely, for yoga is a very personal experience. You will find very physical classes and you will find very spiritual classes. The question you need to ask yourself is “What am I looking for?” If you don’t feel comfortable with a class look for a different one. There are classes out there to suit absolutely everyone.

All physical yoga is known as Hatha Yoga. There are many types of physical Yoga including Ashtanga and Power Yoga, Bikram or Hot yoga, Vini Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Integral Yoga, Iyengar Yoga and the list goes on….

The yoga I teach is Integral Yoga. Integral Yoga follows the teachings of Sri Swami Satchidananda, who came to the United States from India in the 1960s and founded many Yoga institutes. Integral Yoga is a gentle, Hatha Yoga practice, and classes usually include postures (Asanas), breathing exercises (Pranayama), and relaxation. It is called Integral yoga because it seeks to integrate the mind, body, and spirit, and is intended to give students the tools they need to live peaceful, healthy, joyful and purposeful lives. Since meeting Derek Thorne in 2010 an exceptional self-realisation meditation teacher who brilliantly communicates the teachings of Ramana Maharshi I have become profoundly interested in meditation and incorporate meditation into all my classes.

Although the classes are not strongly physical, they aim to keep the joints flexible and the body supple and strong, as well as working on all the body’s systems. In addition to the mindful bodywork, the classess inculde mindful breath work and meditation.The emphasis of the class is to learn to work safely with absolute awareness or mindfulness, staying in the present moment which helps to free one’s self from constantly worrying about the past or the future. By working in this mindful way we begin to learn to control or still the mind or perhaps, more accurately put, we begin to learn to detach from what is more commonly known as the “monkey mind”, a mind that incessantly jumps from one thought to another.  This detachment enables us to bring peace, contentment and balance into our lives.

Yoga is a healing tool that helps us to find out who we really are, bringing our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects backs into balance so that we can feel “whole” again rather than unsettled and fragmented. Yoga gives us the opportunity to look at ourselves from the inside out. Through the practices of breath control, meditation and self-awareness, a spirit of tranquillity manifests that pricks our consciousness, making us more determined to explore and understand ourselves further. Yoga is a journey of self-discovery, a journey of self-realisation.