What is yoga?
“Yoga is the union between body, mind & soul through breath and movement; moving from just existing, into being authentically present in the moment.”
The beginnings of Yoga were developed in Northern India over 5,000 years ago and many interpretations have been handed down over the centuries.
One of these is to 'come together', to 'unite' which can give us a physical interpretation, the movement of the body.
Another meaning of the word yoga is 'to tie the strands of the mind together', for the setting of an intention before we begin our physical practice, and for the meditative aspects of Yoga.
Another classic definition of yoga is 'to be one with the divine'. It does not matter what name we use for the divine, be it God, Allah, Yahweh, or any other. That is personal to you. Yoga is not a religion. It is anything that brings us closer to understanding that there is a power higher and greater than ourselves.
There are no prerequisites
“We begin where we are and how we are, and whatever happens, happens.”
Where and how should your practice of yoga begin or continue? Should it be on the physical level? Do you need previous experience? Is it necessary to be physically fit or strong? Should all yoga include meditation? The beauty of yoga is that it all totally depends on you. Your personal interests, your beliefs, your current situation, your reasons for wanting to start or continue, your own goals or expectations. Everyone comes to yoga for their own perusal reasons - be that to improve flexibility and mobility, maybe to lose weight, or to spend some quiet me-time, or maybe to meditate and quieten the mind, or perhaps you've been doing yoga for a while already and were injured or have a medical condition that leaves you in pain. It could be any one or combinations of any these, or more. Yoga does not require you to be anything. Quite simply yoga is for everyone, at anytime, anywere.
So what does Yoga include?
It is a vast and expansive subject, ranging from the history and philosophy of yoga, to the anatomy and understanding of the amazing workings of the human mind and body. For the purposes of this blog, I will highlight only in brief, what I wish I had known so many years ago when I first started doing yoga! I will expand on these in separate blogs, coming soon.
There are 8 limbs to Yoga:
YAMA - considerations of restraint in our behaviour
NIYAMA - observations for daily life
ASANA - the physical practice and exercise
PRANAYAMA - the breath and breathing techniques
PRATYAHARA - turning inward
DHARANA - concentration
DHYANA - meditation
SAMADHI - Oneness with all living things
Personally, I love all 8 having taken the time to study and learn more about them. It opened my mind to the fullness of yoga, and how, by engaging in more than just the commonly known asanas, we can enrich not only our practice, but every aspect of our human life, including our relationships with others, our behaviour, our health, our breathing, and our chosen path of meditation.
Come to the mat with me
And so I warmly invite you to come and explore yoga with me, for your own personal reasons, wherever you are, and exactly how you are. It is the most fulfilling journey you can embark on, one that starts anywhere, and never ends.