With so many people now practicing yoga in the west, it is clear that yoga isn’t a religion or an Indian cult and is so much more than just the new aerobics! Rather, people have been benefiting from yoga for over 2,000 years.
Yoga is a philosophical approach to life lived within a practical framework of working with the body and mind every day to gain clarity and awareness. The practice of the physical postures (asana) imparts flexibility, stamina, and endurance, balance, concentration and clarity. Most importantly, for 21st century living, it greatly reduces physical tension and mental stress.
Based on sound physiological principles, the regular practice of yoga keeps the joints loose and mobile, it keeps muscles strong and relaxed, it tones the internal organs and glands, it boosts circulation of blood and with it, oxygen, and it does all this without expending energy, but building it!
By releasing contracted muscles and emotional tension, a yoga practice can liberate vast resources of physical energy. Aside from moving the body into poses, a yoga practice often employs a simple, rhythmical breathing technique that revitalises the body and refreshes the mind.
You don’t have to be flexible or strong to begin with - or even to end with! Though you will soon notice improvements... There are so many benefits to practicing yoga on top of a looser body, from a calmer mind to an expansive sense of life’s possibilities.
When the gardener plants an apple seed, does he expect the apple to appear at once? Of course not. The gardener waters the seed, watches each day, and feels happy seeing the growth. Treat the body in the same way. We water our asana and pranyana practice with love and joy seeing the small progress. B.K.S. Iyengar.
There are thousands of different physical poses (asana) practiced in yoga, and each exerts a specific effect on the body. It can seem a little overwhelming even to a seasoned practitioner! Useful to know is that the postures can be grouped into five major categories, with an overarching physical or mental effect that will be felt when performed, depending on duration, intensity and sequencing.
Standing Postures: These help correct the alignment of the structural body (bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments) and strengthen the spine and skeletal system. Standing asana build strength and endurance.
Twisting Postures: These massage the internal organs, especially those involved in digestion, assimilation and elimination, to help cleanse and regulate the body. Twisting postures also release tension and emotions stored in the core muscles.
Forward Bends: These lower blood pressure and relax and calm the central nervous system, bringing a restorative effect to the body and mind. These are especially beneficial when the body is tired, stressed or unwell.
Inverted Postures: These calm the mind, relieve anxiety and depression, purify the lymphatic system and regenerate energy. Inverted postures also balance the endocrine (hormonal) system.
Backward Bending Postures: These open the heart, clear the mind and stimulate the central nervous system. These are energising and fatigue reducing.
Our classes are based on the traditions of Iyengar Yoga which is a precise and exacting form of yoga taught by its namesake B.K.S. Iyengar, whose dedication and integrity has elevated this form of yoga to science, therapy and art. In this style of class the emphasis is on postural realignment, coordination of movement and breath, breath regulation, and allowing the mind to focus and the body to strengthen and open. Excellent for beginners and beyond.
If you haven’t done yoga before at all, we strongly recommend you start at the very beginning with our 6-week Yoga Courses
If you have done other forms of yoga before, but not for some time, we also recommend a 6-week beginner course.
If you have had a regular practice previously – you may be able to jump right in to our Beginner 2 courses.
It is always a good idea to come and try a class and ask the teacher what level they think is right for you.