An Introduction to Yoga
What is Yoga?
Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years to bring stillness to the mind and health and vitality to the body. Today, we are rediscovering how this ancient art can be used to bring balance to the stressful demands of modern life.
In the Sanskrit language the word 'yoga' means union, yoke, that which joins together. In this sense, the mind and body cannot be separated during the quest for good health. This is what regular yoga practice achieves through techniques that include postures, breathing and meditation.
The style of yoga I teach is Hatha yoga. Although the original definition of Hatha yoga referred to the physical aspect of yoga, or asanas, these days it is most often used to describe a more gentle, slow-paced class. A typical session will consist of simple stretches, joint freeing exercises, mindful breathing, breath control (pranayama), accessible, traditional yoga postures, relaxation techniques and meditation. Yogic philosophy will also be weaved into classes to offer a deeper understanding.
Who is it for?
Yoga is practiced in a non-competitive environment, the emphasis being on working to your own ability and limitations. It is important not to force your body to do anything which you find uncomfortable. It is therefore beneficial for men and women of all ages and abilities but with special regard to certain medical conditions. In fact, many of my students come with conditions such as arthritis, asthma, back trouble and other aches and pains and find that yoga can help to relieve symptoms. My classes are designed for all abilities and beginners are especially welcome. One-to-one instruction in your own home or in a local wellness centre is available to those who for any reason do not wish to attend a general class. This can be extremely beneficial for those with more complex health issues. For people living with all stages cancer or other serious illness, yoga, relaxation and meditation can be particularly helpful. Please see separate page.
Yoga should not be practiced on a full stomach; allow 3 hours after a heavy meal or 1 hour after a snack.
Arrive for you class early to ensure you are relaxed and ready to start on time.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing; perhaps a tee-shirt and leggings or jogging bottoms. Yoga is practiced with bare feet although it is a good idea to wear socks and other warm clothing for the relaxation part of the class. Please bring a blanket and a non-slip yoga mat (not a padded exercise mat) if you have one, and water in warmer weather. I always have mats for newcomers to borrow while they decide whether or not to invest in their own.
Every student will be asked to complete a medical questionnaire as some conditions require abstention or modification of certain practices. Such conditions include diabetes, heart conditions, high/low blood pressure, varicose veins, nervous disorders and problems with neck, spine, knees or other joints. If you have any of these, you can still come to yoga, in fact it could be especially beneficial, but I do need to know. Please keep me up to date with any circumstances regarding your health which may affect your yoga practice.
Above all, come with an open mind and be prepared to enjoy yourself!
Oriel, ( my Mum) aged 79 enjoying her Yoga Mudra
stretch at Sea Palling Village Hall.