"Yoga is not something that we do but something that we become and are"
Sri Satguru Subramuniyaswami
I strongly believe that Yoga is not an exercise class but a way of being.
There is no doubt that the practice of yoga is of huge benefit to our physical health and there is a lot of scientific research to support this. However, in India we practice yoga not to develop a beautiful body but to develop inner calm and a positive attitude to life. India is a very crazy place and there are so very many of us, often living in very challenging circumstances, it is extremely important that we cultivate these qualities!
Yoga is often described as "an ancient Indian practice". Yes, Indians have been practicing yoga for thousands of years but this does not mean that we have been practicing asanas (which are only one aspect of yoga) for this long. We know from our ancient texts that some asanas have been practiced in India since at least 500BC. Some say that these poses were being practised as early as 2000BC because clay seals dating from that time seem to show some very basic asanas. The European Research Council has recently given a £1.5m grant to leading academics to locate and translate lost texts that may hold the answer to this question. It is very interesting to me that so much academic interest is now being taken in this subject but at the end of the day it is only practicing, not studying, yoga that will create real transformation in your life.
Yoga in the West: Yoga was not brought to the Western world until the very late 1800's. Now you can practice many styles of yoga and asanas (yoga poses) that we have not even heard of in India! However, sadly in the West many styles of yoga focus only on asana practice and do not cover the other aspects of yoga so they are an incomplete practice.
There are five distinct aspects to yoga:
• Positive Thinking and Meditation
• Proper Breathing (pranayama)
• Proper Exercise (asana)
• Proper Relaxation (savasana)
• Proper Lifestyle
In my classes we explore the first four of these. You can read more about them on my class format page
. Please ask if you would like my handout on the fifth aspect.