Attending yoga classes has become quite popular around the world. There are many different ideas related to Yoga, where it comes from, what it is all about, and how to practice a range of techniques. Generally, it is recognised as an ancient system of philosophies, principles and practices derived from the Vedic tradition of India and the Himalayas, more than 2500 years ago. It is a system that recognises the multi-dimensional nature of the human person, and primarily relates to the nature and workings of the mind, based on experiential practice and self-enquiry. As yoga becomes increasingly diffuse and diverse, a single, common definition that can be agreed upon by everyone is almost impossible. Complicating matters further, the term yoga has been in use for several thousand years and has shifted in meaning many times.
The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as “union” or a method of discipline. The system and various techniques of Yoga cultivate the experience of that union, leading to greater integration of being, internal peacefulness, and clarity of the mind. It is a system that is designed to cultivate health and happiness, and a greater sense of self-awareness and higher consciousness. Thus Yoga is said to be for the purpose of uniting the mind, body, and spirit.
Yoga cultivates health and wellbeing (physical, emotional, mental and social) through the regular practice of a range of many different techniques, including postures and movement, breath awareness and breathing exercises, relaxation and concentration, self-inquiry and meditation. It is an approach to life that values appropriate effort, based on balance and harmony, within each person and with each other. In Yoga, the body is treated with care and respect for it is the primary instrument in man’s work and growth. Yoga Exercises improve circulation, stimulate the abdominal organs, and put pressure on the glandular system of the body, which can generally result to better health.
Today most people practicing yoga are engaged in the third limb, asana, which is a program of physical postures designed to purify the body and provide the physical strength and stamina required for long periods of meditation.
There is a general misconception that in Meditation, your mind has to go blank. It doesn’t have to be so. In Meditation, students bring the activities of the mind into focus resulting in a ‘quiet’ mind. By designing physical poses and Breathing Techniques that develop awareness of our body, Yoga helps us focus and relieves us from our everyday stress. Do not just take advantage of what Yoga can offer. Yoga encourages you to reflect on yourself and to find your inner peace. It exercises not just your body but your mind as well. With a healthy body and mind, you’re on your way to a more fulfilling life.