Here's a bit of information about Yoga followed with a little about me.
Then there's my India travel blog from Sept 2017 with loads of pics of my visit to Rishikesh, the 'Yoga Capital of the World'. Navigate around the chapters by clicking on their titles over at the right.
In our hectic world of hassle and stress, Yoga is the perfect antidote.
Life today in the UK is very busy, our working hours are the longest in Europe. We live in one of the most densely populated areas of the world. It's becoming more and more difficult to achieve quite ordinary things, getting repairs done, travelling to work and doing the weekly shop; these all raise our levels of tension almost without us knowing. Unfortunately we tend to forget about our health whilst we have it! We grab food and eat on the move, we can't find time to take exercise and without noticing we end up in a state of almost permanent tension. One of the most positive things you can do in your life is to take up yoga. Diffuse that tension before it builds up like steam in a kettle and the lid blows off!
As well as a clear organised mind Yoga benefits you in many other ways. It leaves you feeling full of energy whilst calm, if practiced regularly it can leave you free of aches and pains. It improves your posture, lengthens your muscles and increases your flexibility making you look slimmer and taller. Yoga raises your awareness of your body, improves your co-ordination and balance and helps you manage stress. It stimulates your immune system, improves your sleep patterns and helps regulate your hormones. Yoga increases muscle tone, improves digestion and aids weight management. Yoga can really make a difference to the quality of your life.
So Yoga helps you keep your life in balance and anyone can practice it. Yoga is not about twisting yourself into complicated knotted up shapes. Doing the most difficult postures is not the goal. Sometimes NOT doing a posture is the yogic thing to do. You do as much or as little as you feel like on the day. Yoga is never a competitive activity; you must work to your own level of ability and comfort. As long as your alignment is not harming your body it is not important whether or not your pose looks graceful. You have to start from where you are!
Hatha Yoga is a simple set of guidelines for a physically and mentally healthy life, developed around 6000 years ago. The regular practice of postures, called asanas, and breathing exercises, called pranayama, makes the body strong, supple and healthy. It has a profound effect on the circulation and on the functioning of the inner organs, glands and nerves, keeping all systems in radiant health and leading to greater energy, better concentration, and hopefully a happier, more fulfilling life. Many common physical ailments can also be improved through the regular practice of yoga, and it is never too late or too early in life to take it up. Anyone can practice yoga.
All the asana/posture based types of Yoga you hear and read about are merely different styles of Hatha Yoga, most of these have come about in the past fifty years or so. The differences are usually about emphasis, such as focusing on strict alignment of the body, co-ordination of breath and movement, holding the postures, or the flow from one posture to another. All of the styles share a common lineage. In fact, the founders of three major styles -- Astanga, Iyengar and Viniyoga -- were all students of Krishnamacharya, a famous teacher at the Yoga Institute at the Mysore Palace in India. With the current fashion for Yoga there are now hundreds of styles and many more are appearing all the time. No style is better than another; it's simply a matter of personal preference.
The asanas/postures are the thing that most western classes concentrate on, this is just one of the eight limbs of Yoga.
The 8 limbs are the eight stages of spiritual development, they are as follows
Yama - 5 ethics relating to others
Niyama - 5 ethics relating to self
Asana - postures
Pranayama - breathing
Pratyahara - withdrawal of senses/control of the senses
Dharana - concentration/mind control
Dyana - effortless meditation/contemplation
Samadhi - super conscious state/ultimate bliss/enlightenment
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