What is Yoga?
Although the practice of yoga is widespread, there is still some misunderstanding about it. People often think it involves contortionist gymnastics, is a key to instant enlightenment or even that yoga is a religion. Yoga is none of these.
Yoga is an ancient Indian discipline that makes you work for your health.
Yoga includes many different activities. The most well-known and documented is hatha yoga – a system of physical exercises that cover an enormous range of body movement that has an immense impact on the whole personality. It is a safe, regenerative form of exercise that builds a firm foundation of health.
What does yoga do and who is it for?
Practice of yoga poses leads to strength and flexibility both physically and mentally. It offers tools to combat stress and anxiety and it promotes relaxation. It also leads to poise, awareness of one’s capabilities and increased self-confidence. Yoga is a process of transformation.
There is no age limit to improvement so yoga is not merely for the supple or the young. And, it is not solely for men or for women – yoga is for all.
Yoga and healing
Yoga is also a powerful system of healing. Relief is felt from chronic fatigue, arthritis, back problems, menstrual disorders, migraine, drug side effects, circulatory, cardiac and digestive disorders and so on. This increased level of health means that diseases find it more difficult to take hold and are also easier to shake off or keep under control.
New evidence suggests that yoga is as good as aerobic exercise in terms of reducing the risk of heart disease, lowering blood pressure, cutting cholesterol and reducing BMI.
What does it involve?
Traditionally hatha yoga classes entail the following activities:
- yoga postures (asana) – physical body movements to build strength and flexibility
- yoga breathing (pranayama) – to restore energy and promote cardiovascular health
- relaxation and meditation – to lower stress and anxiety and keep our minds healthy
See this jaw-dropping video for evidence that yoga can transform and heal…
The umbrella term ‘hatha yoga’ includes many styles of yoga – including Iyengar, Sivananda, Ashtanga Vinyasa, Scaravelli and many more besides. These styles are classifications devised by their individual creator to describe their particular brand of yoga. In truth, yoga is in a constant state of evolution and should be tailored to suit every individual as they are, here and now.
Here at GuildfordYoga, rather than limiting ourselves to just one yoga style we practice a challenging mix of all that yoga has to offer.
“There is the practice of yoga of the body, mind and soul – always fruitful, and it gives to each through practice what he seeks.”
– Sloka 12, Yoganjalisaram, T. Krishnamacharya