Yoga promotes health and wellbeing in body, mind and spirit.
We are all born with two things – our body and our mind. Yoga recognises that both are inextricably linked, the one affecting the other. Yoga is holistic and seeks to improve overall health and flexibility in body and mind in a balanced and harmonious way. There is no competition in yoga and the principle of non-harming (ahimsa) is central to yoga. We listen to our body and go only as far as we are able, which is why yoga can be for everyone.
Yoga can be considered as an antidote to modern life. Your life might be fast paced, with a challenging job, complex and busy family responsibilities., the seemingly constant pressure of technology and social media vying for your attention. Inevitably, perhaps, you have little time for yourself and your wellbeing, which can then affect your physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Yoga offers a mindful approach to wellbeing
Yoga brings many benefits and helps contribute to our overall physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing, helping us to release tension in the body and the mind, so we can relax, which is vital for good health and wellbeing.
Yoga can help increase our energy levels and our flexibility in body and mind. Yoga helps us to create balance in our lives. Yoga helps us live in peace and harmony with everything around us.
- Yoga contributes to our physical wellbeing:
- Yoga postures stretch, extend and flex the spine.
- Muscles and joints are exercised, making them supple and stronger.
- Postures, combined with the breath, stimulate the function of organs, digestive, endocrine and nervous systems.
- As we move, stretch and open up the body and, by using the breath, we learn to become more aware of how we are really feeling.
Mental and emotional benefits
- Yoga teaches us to breathe well benefiting our physical, mental and emotional health. We all breathe automatically, but how well do we breathe?
- Breath control quietens the emotions, calms the mind and brings us back into touch with ourselves at a deeper level, a great place from which to meditate.
- We learn to be more present or mindful, which helps us mentally and emotionally to deal with difficult, stressful and anxious situations in our life.
- Better breathing encourages physical wellbeing whilst allowing us to become more self-aware and take back control of how we react to other people and situations in our life. Yoga helps us to manage ourselves better in difficult, anxious and stressful situations which means we can improve the quality of our lives.
- Yoga can transform our lives on many levels, but, at the very least, practising yoga gives us an opportunity to take time out of our hectic lives, to stretch and open up the body and to focus on ourselves with no distraction, a rare opportunity for some these days.
- If we are well in body and mind, we deal better with the challenges and problems we encounter in daily life. From a growing place of balance and harmony, we begin to realise that we all have within us what we need to take us forward on our life’s journey.
Different paths of yoga
- Hatha yoga is the most widely known and commonly practised form of yoga in the West, using the body and breath.
- Raja yoga is meditation and the name given to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
- Gnana yoga is the path of wisdom and knowledge.
- Karmas the yoga of service.
- Bhaktiis the yoga of devotion.
- Tantra is the path upon which the two opposites, Brahman and Atman, meet and become one.
- Mantra uses sacred sounds to focus the mind and raise the energy
- Kundalini yoga concentrates on the chakras, the awakening and union of the female and male energies,
Yoga’s unique approach of using the body as our instrument allows us to access the depths of our body, mind and consciousness.. The aim of all paths of yoga is the same, to achieve Samadhi, a state of inner bliss.