“Yoga should adapt to the individual, not the other way around.” - Krishnamacharya
Yoga can give you the elusive ideal of a healthy body, a peaceful mind and an enlightened spirit. It gives you the tools to go within and access the still, calm place inside you. Yoga is thousands of years old, non denominational and open to all. The first reference to yoga comes from India in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, from 2500 years ago. The Sanskrit term ‘Yoga’ means ‘Union’: Union of the body, mind and spirit; and union of the individual self with the universal self, ultimately Yoga is a journey towards unification, oneness, Enlightenment.
"Yoga is Equanimity." - Bhagavad Gita 2.48
Yoga is not simply exercise, it is a science of the spirit; an ancient and powerful holistic system of health and self-development and available to anyone, anywhere. It's wonderfully portable, all you need is yourself and a small space to practice. Yoga is accessed through our bodies but affects every aspect of our being - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. It brings you firmly into the present moment which is the goal of all spiritual practices, and into equilibrium with your life and life itself. The body is a temple or vessel for the life force that animates all things. It can also be a lot of fun! Yoga strengthens the body, balances the emotions and soothes the mind, bringing about a stillness within, so yoga is primarily about the mind as demonstrated by the opening line of the Yoga Sutra:
“Yoga is stilling the fluctuations of the mind.” - Yoga Sutras 1:2
“Yoga is both a process, a means to an end, and the end itself.”
Yoga is not so much something that you do, as a way of life. Living each day to the full, staying positive and calm in daily life and making healthy life choices are all valid parts of a yogi's life. It's all about living yoga, both on and off the mat.
There are many styles of Yoga. Most physical yoga comes under the general umbrella term 'Hatha' Yoga. The meaning of Hatha is the union of Ha (sun) and Tha (moon,) balancing solar, masculine strength and activity with lunar, feminine receptivity and flexibility. In this way you develop balance and create a calm sanctuary within which you can retreat to at any time. The best way to make sure you are doing the right yoga for you is if that style makes you feel expansive and joyful. There is no one way. Everyone is different, and everyday is different.
"The only prerequisite to doing yoga is the ability to breathe.”