Helps to reduce stress and anxiety
Increases oxygen intake, blood flow and lymph flow
Helps with detoxification
Supports a healthy metabolism
Improves strength, mobility and flexibility
Increases energy levels
Helps with insomnia
Helps to relieve back pain
Helps with weight management
Helps with hormonal balance
Reduces inflammation in the body
Enhances overall sense of wellbeing
Yoga, as we know it today, is based on ancient Indian disciplines focusing on bringing harmony between the body and mind through the practice of specific rhythmic movements, focused breathing and meditation. It is a physical activity consisting largely of poses (asanas), often connected by flowing sequences (vinyasas), accompanied by breathing exercises (pranayama), and ending with a period of relaxation or meditation.
Its’s aim is to bring a sense overall wellbeing, self-realisation, enhancing a positive mindset, harmony and vibrant health into everyday life.
There are many forms of yoga for all abilities, each offering a slightly different angle to the practice, and each resulting in an abundance of positive health outcomes on all levels – physical, mental and emotional. Each style of yoga follows a basic structure of postures and poses dedicated to serve a certain experience, with the intention to create balance within. No matter what style of yoga you choose to practice, you will see marked improvements in many areas of your health.
Hatha Yoga - The Sanskrit term "hatha" is an umbrella term for all physical postures of yoga. Hatha yoga classes are usually slower paced than other yoga styles, so it is a great entry point to the practice, and best suited for beginners.
Vinyasa Yoga Is considered the most athletic yoga style. It was adapted from ashtanga yoga in the 1980s.Many other types of yoga can also be considered vinyasa flows, such as ashtanga and power yoga.
Ashtanga yoga means"eight-limbed yoga," and encourages 8 self-awareness values: moral codes, self-study, breath control, senses control, concentration, meditation, being part of greater community/universe. The practice involves synchronising the breath with a progressive series of postures producing intense internal heat and a profuse sweat which detoxifies muscles and organs.The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body, and a calm mind.
KundaliniYoga derives from the Sanskrit word kundal, meaning “coiled energy”, and is a combination of breath, movement, and sound. The goal is to increase self-awareness by silencing the mind, energise the chakras and allow vital energy flow freely. This results in major health benefits such as better digestion and faster metabolism, improved muscle strength and tone, increased production of serotonin hence improved mental health, improved breathing rhythms, regulation of blood pressure, improved memory and focus, overall sense of wellbeing and more….
Iyengar Yoga was developed by and named after B.K.S. Iyengar in the 1960s. Iyengar Yoga is a very meticulous practice, placing the emphasis on precision of the pose, correct alignment and breath control. It is a practice suitable for all ages and abilities, learning the subtleties of correct alignment while building strength and flexibility. An Iyengar studio will always stock an array of props such as blocks, blankets, straps, chairs and bolsters, as these help students to be in alignment while holding the poses, even when they’re new to them, have a chronic condition, are injured, or simply stiff.
Power Yoga is a general term used to describe a fitness-based, vigorous approach to vinyasa style yoga, and was originally modelled on the Ashtanga method. Power yoga incorporates the athleticism of Ashtanga, includes many vinyasas (poses done in sequence) and gives each teacher the flexibility to teach any poses in any order, making every class different. With the emphasis on flexibility and strength, power yoga is now practiced as a way of a fitness work out.
Yin Yoga - “Yang” yoga practices such as vinyasa and power yoga focus mainly on muscles, Yin yoga targets the deep connective tissues like fascia, ligaments, joints, and bones. It is a slow and meditative practice, providing space to tune into the physical sensations of the body, and the depths of the mind. Yin yoga is based on ancient Chinese philosophies and Taoist principles, which believe that by stretching and deepening into the poses, any energy blockages can start opening, releasing the channels so energy can flow freely throughout the body, bringing many health benefits.
Restorative yoga is a completely different experience than most other styles of yoga. It is a low-energy, restful practice focusing on slowing down and opening the body through passive stretch poses. The poses are held for much longer, while using props like yoga blocks, bolsters and blankets, and the deep relaxation brings the meditative aspect of yoga to the practice, releasing any tension in the body and mind.
Yoga Nidra, also called “yogic sleep” is a guided meditation technique which aims to induce complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation. The script will vary from teacher to teacher, but a guided body scan is always included, where the instructor will draw attention to individual parts of the body as you consciously place your awareness on and relax the corresponding areas. When we are awake, our conscious minds operate at high frequency. As we begin to relax and start the process of falling asleep, these waves slow down into alpha waves, gradually into theta waves of a dreaming sleep, and finally into delta waves or deep sleep. Yoga nidra happens in the“hypnagogic state”, between the alpha and theta waves - between states of being awake and dreaming. Aside from the health benefits, yoga nidra is easily accessible to anyone who wishes to take up a form of yoga or meditation practice.
Pre-Natal yoga is a carefully adapted practice for expectant moms, tailored to women in all trimesters, with the aim to prepare for labour and delivery.
Yoga has been in existence for over 5,000 years; however, it wasn’t until 2,000 years ago that an Indians age and author of several Sanskrit texts, Patanjali, systematised the practice of yoga and documented his work called ‘Yoga Sutras’ for others to follow his work easily. In the Sutras, guidance is offered to help the reader create peace and achieve fulfilment.
Pantanjali set out the following eight limbs of Yoga for living a life of purpose and meaning:
Yama – ethical rules relating to conduct towards others or social discipline
Niyama – correct conduct towards oneself, a means of aiding personal growth
Asana – the practice of physical postures (the most well-known of the eight limbs)
Pranayama – controlling of the breath
Pratyahara – controlling the senses
Dharana – concentration, the process of drawing the senses inward
Dhyana – meditation
Samadhi – the union of mediation and the subject of meditation, often closely linked with obtaining enlightenment
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras have been credited as the very foundation of classic yoga.
Yoga was introduced to the West only in the early 19th century, as many teachers and gurus started travelling the world. One such teacher was Swami Sivananda who’s 200 books on yoga and philosophy contributed enormously to the yoga practices of that period. Other notable guru from around this time is Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, one of the most influential yoga teachers of the 20th century, often referred to as the ‘father of modern yoga’, as well as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who developed Transcendental Meditation, for which he’ll be remembered the most.
Modern yoga today is as complex as the lineages that have come before it, however, most are based on Hatha Yoga, which was initially introduced in the Yoga Sutras 5000 years ago.