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All you need is yoga

"Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self." - The Bhagavad Gita

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About yoga

In Yoga, the body, breath and mind are seen as a union of these multi-dimensional aspects of each and every human being. The system and various techniques of Yoga cultivate the experience of that union, leading to greater integration of being, internal peacefulness, and clarity of the mind. It is a system that is designed to cultivate health and happiness, and a greater sense of self-awareness and higher consciousness.

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The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root “yuj”, Yoga means union: of the individual consciousness or soul with the Universal Consciousness or Spirit. Yoga has evolved over thousands of years ago in India to embrace a wide range of styles and disciplines.

Today Yoga is a popular activity for all people (athletes, children, teenagers and seniors etc). Yoga can be modified to suit all levels of fitness, but it is much more than fitness.Yoga is a simple process of reversing the ordinary outward flow of energy and consciousness so that the mind becomes a dynamic center of direct perception no longer dependent upon the fallible senses but capable of actually experiencing Truth.

Yoga is Yoga has been proven to lower blood pressure and increases strength and flexibility. Yoga energizes our bodies and calms our minds.

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The Practice

Practice on an empty stomach. Wait for at least 3 to 4 hours after a meal. Do not drink during the practice and wait for a minimum of 30mins after the practice.

Clothing should be comfortable and elastic. Shorts, vests and leggings are the most suitable as they allow one to see the alignment of the body. Jewellery and watches should not be worn.

Do not be scared to sweat and feel tired, focus on the breath, move with awareness (consciousness) and a steady lower abdomen. The breath combined with the movement will bring new energy, eliminating tiredness and strengthening both the mind and body.

Awareness (consciousness) of the breath is the basis of a correct practice of the asana (posture). Practice Ujjayi breathing. Keep the throat relaxed and open, and apply a slight closure of the glottis. The air that enters and exits will produce a sound; the quality of the Ujjayi breath should be gentle, deep and strong. The breath is complete when the lungs are either completely full or completely empty. A deep exhale ends below the navel. A deep inhale will expand the back and the thoracic cage, filling the area around the heart.

DRISHTI

The point of gaze is important in a correct practice of Yoga. Awareness (consciousness) and the rhythm of the breath are tightly linked by the gaze. In every asana (posture), and movements in between, there are specific point of gaze: Tip of the nose, between the eyebrows, the navel, to the palm of the hand, finger tips, toes, in front or to the side. With time, the gaze gives balance and has a relaxing effect on both mind and body.

BANDHAS (locks)

During the practice one should lock Mulabandha and Uddyanabandha. Mulabandha is performed by tightening the muscle at the base of the spine, the pelvic and perineum area. Uddyanabandha is the contraction of the abdominals towards the spine, achieved by drawing the belly towards the kidneys. This stops the abdominal organs from dropping and the expansion of the diaphragm. Even though it requires years of practice before the bandhas (locks) can be controlled, they are the basis of the practice of both yoga and pranayama.

The flow between each asana (posture) is an integral part of the practice and part of the form. Always synchronise the breath with the movement and the gaze.

There is a logical sequence to the asana. Vinyasa means synchronised movement and breath. Breath is the heart of this discipline and links each asana into a precise sequence. Each asana, or group of asana, has a specific effect that is counter balanced by the previous asana, or group of asana. To accumulate the benefits, protect and balance the body, it is essential to follow the sequence.

In the method taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois the sequence of postures vary according to difficulty and effect. The First Series is therapeutic and corrects the balance (equilibrium) of body and mind. The Intermediate Series continues the work of the First Series and goes deeper, opening the Nadis (nervous channels) which are similar to the meridians of acupuncture. The Advanced series goes deeper still, increasing stillness, strength, balance and the opening of the body.

The closing relaxation is very important and is an opportunity for entering a meditative state
In the practice week there is one day of rest. Women, during the menstrual cycle, should not practice the inverted postures. Some postures are excellent for relieving back pain and lower back pain.

As described and practiced by Pantanjali in the Yoga Sutra (300 – 250B.C.) Ashtanga Yoga consists of eight limbs:

  • Yama – Ethical Discipline
  • Niyama – Self Purification (Physical and mental discipline)
  • Asana – Posture
  • Pranayama – Breath control
  • Pratyahara – Sense withdrawal
  • Dharana – Concentration
  • Dhyana – Meditazion
  • Samadhi – Conciuosness itself

Yin yoga is a way to p the practice of Yin Yoga provides the tools to reach into the deepest layers of our body, working the bones and the deep tissues holding the skeleton and other structures together.

There are two main element in Yin Yoga: long holds of the posture, and relaxation of the muscles around the areas targeted by the asana.  Both elements provide gentle, sustained tension or compressions on the deep tissues in a way appropriate to the quality and texture of the targeted fibers. Yin Yoga asanas work using gravity and leverages on the body while the
practitioner consciously tries to relax the muscles

 

Holding the posture for an extended time allows the body to settle deeply into the asana. The postures are defined by possible target areas, rather than aesthetic requirements.

In this way, classical Yoga asanas can be modified and adapted according to the unique anatomical design of each practitioner.  Yin Yoga unfolds its benefits on many levels: the deeper layers of the body respond to being addressed in the specific way they need by getting healthy, stronger and more elastic.  Appropriate stresses to the fasciae have an energizing effect on the energy meridians traversing the body.  The long holding times provide a quiet environment and an invitation for the practitioner to enter a meditative state.

Vinyasa Yoga or “Flow Yoga”, derived from Hatha Yoga, is a faster paced practice where breath, awareness and asana (poses) are combined in flowing movements, with postures held for a shorter period of time. The word ‘Vinyasa’ means “breath-synchronized movement” and refers to the continuous dance of limbs using the inhalation and exhalation to link asanas together. The practice increases muscle strength, endurance, flexibility and reduces stress levels