What is Yoga?

Yoga is a science and/or a healing modality that aims at uniting body, mind and spirit.  The ancient science of yoga developed in Chinese and Mayan cultures, as well as in India and Tibet.  No one really knows for sure when yoga really began, but ancient scrolls found in Tibet dating as far back a 40 000 BC describe recognizable forms of yoga.  Yoga’s birth date of somewhere around 3 000 – 1 900 BC has been confirmed by references in the Rig-Veda, which is the oldest known text in any Indo-European language. Although we often refer to yoga as a form of exercise, it is much more than that.  In a very broad way, it is a way to heal the body (move beyond pain), let go of the mind and connect with the spiritual aspect of who we really are.  By practising the asanas (the yoga postures) we prepare the body and the mind for meditation, which in turn opens the door to liberation.

What is Hatha Yoga?

Ha means “the sun, heat, light, energy, creativity, activity, passion, positive,” and tha means “the moon, cool, reflective, receptive, negative.”  Most contemporary styles of physical yoga emanate from Hatha Yoga; which is believed to be the most widely practiced branch of yoga. It is derived from the principles of polarities (such as the yin and yang or masculine and feminine) and uses these two extremes to energetically balance the body

The Benefits of Yoga

Among other benefits, Hatha Yoga purifies the body to achieve good health and discipline the mind.  It unlocks an individual’s latent energies to enable self-development. You may experience a myriad of benefits from practising yoga; a toned and flexible body, less stress, more energy, peace of mind and higher awareness.  Yoga works on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. Some claim that yoga can assist in relieving physical ailments such as an acidic stomach, asthma, backache, bronchitis, cold, constipation, diabetes, emphysema, headache, indigestion, menstrual disorders, migraines, obesity, prostate troubles, rheumatism, sciatica, arthritis, depression, moodiness, insomnia, and mental performance Masters to One thing to keep in mind is that only a complete approach to yoga, including a wise combination of asanas (yoga postures), 6pranayama techniques, 7bandhas, 8mudras, visualization, meditation, chanting and 9mantra can bring healing to its most powerful expression.  Yoga used to be taught by teacher to student, on a one on one basis, where the teacher would “prescribe” the perfect combination of these aspects of yoga to help his student “evolve” on the path to 5Samadhi (the last of 1the eight limbs of Yoga).  Some say that the fastest way to Samadhi is through meditation.

Is Yoga for me?

Yoga is for everyone regardless of age, flexibility or fitness level and spiritual belief.  A great yoga teacher should be able to tailor a sequence for your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs. Certain contraindications may apply, at any one of these levels, so it is wise to consult with your yoga teacher regarding concerns you may have.  Yoga is not meant to replace any medical care or treatment.

There are many styles of Yoga available to choose from these days and it can be confusing when looking for a yoga class or teacher. My approach to the Asanas (the yoga postures) is based on Hatha Yoga and Viniyoga. By combining the intelligence of sequencing, the Hatha postures and the Viniyoga approach a perfect flow of energy is created in the body that provides amazing benefits from a yoga practice.

May Yoga impact your life as positively as it has impacted mine!