What is Yoga?
For many of us, relaxation means zoning out in front of the TV at the end of a stressful day. Sadly, this does little to reduce the damaging effects of stress. To effectively combat stress, we need to activate the body’s natural relaxation response. We can do this by practising relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, rhythmic exercise and yoga. Fitting these activities into your life can help you reduce everyday stress and boost your energy and mood.
Yoga is a system of exercise, breathing, and meditation developed thousands of years ago in India. It is the world’s oldest system of personal growth, encompassing body, mind and spirit. The goal of yoga practice is the total harmony between body, mind and spirit in each individual and, even further, a union between the individual and divine. The ancient yogis understood the interrelationship between the body, mind, and spirit and the need for balance and health in all three areas as a foundation for personal spiritual awakening. Thus they developed a system for maintaining this balance, a system that addresses body, breath, mind, social and moral behaviour, and spiritual practices.
Yoga means ‘being in union’, ‘yoked’, such as at a point of the balance or union of polarities. Another well-known translation of yoga is “yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.” In other words, you are doing yoga in order to come to stillness and clarity of mind.
In a yoga class you will learn ways to relieve tension, but also cultivate physical strength, flexibility, energy and a greater understanding of your inner landscapes.
Yoga is a simple process of reversing the ordinary outward flow of energy and consciousness so that the mind becomes a dynamic centre of direct perception and is no longer dependent upon the fallible senses, but capable of experiencing the direct experience.
By practising the step-by-step methods of the yogic system, taking nothing for granted on emotional grounds, we come to know our oneness with the Infinite Intelligence, Power, and Joy which gives life to all and which is the essence of our own Self.