Introduction to Yoga
Yoga is an age-old philosophy and has been in existence for thousands of year. In the West we have been introduced to this philosophy in a very physical way – this is know as HATHA yoga. The word HATHA means HA – the sun and THA- the moon also referred to as the male and female or the yin and yang so it as about bringing these energies into balance.
A HATHA yoga class generally consists of:
- Physical postures
- Correct breathing
All of which are extremely therapeutic helping to relieve stress and tensions both physically and emotionally, resulting in a more relaxed, confident, happy and tension free person.
RELAXATION: Yoga relaxation is a deep relaxation of the physical body and the mind. During relaxation, deep-seated tensions in the physical muscles are released and many aches and pains will be removed. The mind will eventually also let go of tensions, as you gradually learn to live more in the present moment. As energy blocks are dissolved, blood circulation is greatly increased. The effects are a calmer, more relaxed and energised person.
POSTURES: Done slowly with relaxation and concentration, these have the effect of stilling the mind, body and the personality. Most people find it difficult to sit still and even more difficult to still the mental and emotional activity. We cannot be still and relax because our bodies and minds are full of tension. Various kinds of stretching movements working on all the joints, muscles, internal organs and the whole central nervous system have a tonic and balancing effect on the body.
BREATHING: Correct breathing is a vital part of a yoga class as the breath is the life force of the body. By learning correct breathing techniques you will learn how to use the lungs correctly, resulting in:
- A more relaxed body
- Calmer mind and emotions
- Improved circulation
- More energy
- Lowered blood pressure
- Reduction in breathing problems
- Improved sinus and much more
MEDITATION: Can be seated or lying and is more easily achieved after the relaxation, breathing and posture work. It will always be a guided meditation and consists of visualisations and spiritual readings.
Yoga is non-competitive and you are never too young or too old to do yoga it is all inclusive. Some people are more flexible than others but it is important not to compare yourself to others as everyone is different and unique.
The most important aspect of the class is that it is special time you have set aside for yourself and if you learn how to breathe properly and how to relax you will have achieved a lot.
“The true philosophy of yoga lives in the heart as opposed to the intellectual mind. It is understood by many illiterate wise men and women yet not understood by thousands who have gained degrees by writing volumes about it.” All this means is that yoga needs to be experienced in order to be understood.
Catherine Sheridan – President Y.S.I