In the West, what we refer to as Yoga are the “asanas” or series of postures. These can be practiced as individual poses, or part of a series or vinyasa. In a class one would also practise Pranayama (breath work) and Savasana (meditation or relaxation). There are many different styles of Yoga including Hot Yoga, Flow or Vinyasa Yoga, Yin Yoga. There are also many different schools of Yoga with their own particular styles. These include Satyananda, Sivananda, ISHTA, Iyengar, Bikram, and Forrest.
Do you do a lot of Stretching in Yoga?
Yes, you do. However, yoga is not just about stretching. It is about strengthening too. In Yoga we try to find balance in our bodies. Each posture has particular physical and more subtle benefits. In Yoga we also tune into our breath with each movement bringing a level of mindfulness that is not always possible in other physical activities. It is important to always work with alignment in yoga to avoid injuries.
What style should I choose?
That really depends on your own personal taste, but also depends on what type of body you have at this moment in time. Some styles of yoga are faster, or slower, or even practised in a hot room. Some move you deeper into your muscles and connective tissue, while other generate an internal heat. In my yoga classes, I like to vary my classes and I also include students of all ages and abilities. I include variations to move further into a pose, or to aid in getting into a pose. I maintain my yoga studio at room temperature (a heater in winter).
What are the benefits of Yoga? *
Yoga helps with posture – this can lead to a healthier spine and less aches and pains throughout your body.
Yoga helps to increase flexibility – tight muscles can put a strain on joints. Flexibility can help to ease this strain on all areas of your body.
Yoga helps to increase strength in your body – Keeps you looking good and able to accomplish harder physical tasks. Also, as you get older, there is less chance of you falling and breaking bones.
Yoga helps to prevent and slow down the onset of Arthritic conditions by bringing fresh blood and energy into joints and cartilage.
Yoga helps to keep your spine healthy – by working the muscles around your spine and by bringing fresh nutrients into the disks around your vertebrae.
Yoga improves your circulation and can help with heart problems.
Very often in our busy lives, we find ourselves disconnected from ourselves. Yoga helps to get in touch with your body on a physical level, a mental and spiritual level.
Through doing inversions, Yoga helps to re-orientate ourselves and see the world in different ways!
* Please consult your doctor before practising Yoga. The information provided is general information, and is not intended to substitute for informed professional medical advice.