What is Yoga?
“Breathing in, I calm body & mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know that this is the only moment”. -Thich Nhat Hanh
I discovered yoga in the 80’s when it was very much around, but not practiced by many. Back then, I took Hatha Yoga classes and, all I knew for certain was that yoga made me feel great, it always lifted my mood and at the same time I felt a sense of peace. Times have moved on, today in the West, you can find yoga on Television, Commercials, Dvd’s, You Tube, Yoga On-Line channels and Gyms, allowing for more people than ever to have the opportunity to experience some form of yoga.
Why now, more than ever, is yoga considered so cool and hip?
Why now, more than ever, has it become so popular?
Well, I believe it is because the level of consciousness of the human race is rising, therefore more people are seeking a deeper connection to themselves and greater fulfilment in their lives.
So – The big question is what is Yoga?
Yoga is not a religion. The classical techniques of Yoga date back more than 5,000 years. In ancient times, the desire for greater personal freedom, health, a long life and a heightened self-understanding gave birth to this system of physical/ mental exercise which has since spread throughout the world. Yoga asanas (poses), are designed to put pressure on the glandular and organs systems of the body, thereby increasing its efficiency and total health. Yoga is a system of techniques that can be used for a number of goals, from simply managing stress better, learning to relax, letting go of negative behaviour patterns, building physical flexibility and strength, to becoming more self-aware and acquiring the deepest knowledge of ones own self. The word Yoga actually means, to join or yoke together, into one harmonious experience so, ‘Yoga’, by definition, is the union of body, mind and spirit.
The teaching and practicing of yoga reminds me of what I aspire to be, and what human beings are truly capable of becoming. It is about connecting back to our truest authentic selves, a place where we can listen to our own wants, needs and desires. It’s also about letting go of conditioned thought and behaviour patterns. Yoga inspires the ordinary so that we no longer long for the extraordinary. Yoga is here to point you to the light. Yoga is a place where you remember that your essential nature is one of compassion, kindness and open-mindedness. Yoga becomes a way of life!
The teacher’s gift is to see this great light in you and hold it high so you can see it as well so that you can start saying yes to life again.
I believe that yoga is a place which lives inherently inside of us, its a place where we connect back to our truest essence, it is a place where we know the difference between the ego and love, between the dark and the light. It’s a place where truth does not need to be spoken or explained, because it just is. Yoga is where you make a choice not to forget because you become more conscious. With practice and over time, transformation happens, in our bodies, minds and lives, Yoga and Meditation begin to invoke these qualities in us. Then we can shine this light of consciousness in our own personal, creative ways. We can be of better service to others, and we can learn to listen to our humble intuitive nature, believe in ourselves, follow through, trust and live our lives to their fullest potential.
Asanas – Postures work on therapeutically aligning, stretching, strengthening and toning the muscles, joints and bones. Each posture also has a healing effect on the body internally toning and stimulating glands, organs, nerves, promoting cellular renewal and oxygenating blood. This releases physical and mental tension resulting in increased energy flow and an uplifting feeling of empowerment thereby encouraging total health.
Pranayama – Breath/energy-control regenerates, revitalises and renews the body, calms and refreshes the mind resulting in increased mental clarity, concentration leading to a state of absolute pure “bliss”.
Meditation and Relaxation – the art of silencing the body and mind to connect to a source if stillness deep within your being ultimately tuning in to your heart and intuitive true divine nature.
“Within the heart there is a beautiful flame the size of your thumb, it is full of knowledge, full of love. This divine flame gives lustre to your body, it gives power to your mind. This divine flame in the cave of your heart allows you to love others”. – Swami Chidvilasananda