Yoga is a variety of physical, mental and spiritual disciplines originating in ancient India and adapted for modern Western living. Yoga is widely recognized and recommended to promote relaxation, reduce stress and even improve certain medical conditions. It is a low impact activity requiring and improving strength and flexibility if practiced on a regular basis. When it comes to Asana practice itself there is a great variety of styles for every body, age, abilities and goals.
I practice and teach Hatha yoga, Hatha Flow yoga, Vinyasa yoga, Chakra yoga, Hot yoga, Yin yoga and Restorative yoga to main but a few. The aim of yoga is to clear the mind, improve its quality and understand it reality. The active postures (or Asanas) that make up the majority of modern yoga practice are a helping hand to the purpose of yoga. They will keep your body healthy and strong. It is also known as yoga of effort and has evolved considerably int he last century.
Thanks to advances in movement science, Pilates and more in depth training, the therapeutic side of physical postures has developed. Modern yoga puts greater emphasis on strength and careful alignment in the pelvis, shoulders, back and abdomen which makes it safer to practice for people with health conditions, expectant mothers and people of all ages and abilities. Slower restorative Hatha yoga sequences have also become more important, targeting joints and fascia (connective tissue) as well as muscles. On the other end of the scale, there are also faster practices focusing on inversions, arm balances, back bends and other asamas building strength and flexibility. Whilst it may appear all these variations of yoga practice provide different choices, it is important the essence of yoga remains unchanged. It is a non-competitive, evolutionary way of understanding and aligning body and the mind. One of the definitions of yoga is to achieve something that you couldn’t reach before. That is true with regards to the changes in Western yoga in recent decades as well as personal growth and transformation for anyone practicing on a regular basis. My hope for anyone who is embarking on this journey is that the find a softer, more grateful approach with a healthy dose of ego and little desire to prove anything.