There is a myriad of information out there about what yoga is. Here’s an easy to digest list to give you some of the main points:
- In Sanskrit, yoga means ‘union’, or to yoke together. E.g. the coming together of the mind, the body, the spirit and the breath.
- Yoga is not a religion. Whilst the roots of yoga can be traced back to Hinduism, there are now a wide variety of disciplines which have no religious connotation whatsoever. It’s up to you how spiritual or religious you want your practice to be.
- Without the breath work (pranayama), yoga is just making shapes on a mat. Without the breath, it’s just exercise.
- The posture work (asana) is just one of the 8 Limbs of Yoga, according to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The other seven limbs are concerned with spiritual and mental well-being, and should be practiced in conjunction with the posture work in order to achieve the state of samadhi. Samadhi being when we truly achieve yoga, a union between the mind, the body and the spirit.
What could yoga do for you?
It doesn’t matter if you are young, old, stiff, infirm, wheelchair bound, a former gymnast or have never done any physical exercise before. Yoga is definitely for YOU! There are so many options out there now for classes, that there has never been a better time to get along to a class and start finding out what it’s about. Try different teachers, different styles, pick and choose until you find a teacher that you love. And that’s when yoga really starts speaking to you, when you find a teacher you trust and feel safe with.
Physically, you can expect yoga to strengthen and tone your body, and to improve your flexiblity. Your posture will improve. You might lose weight. You might find the age-old niggles in your body start to feel better. Maybe your lung capacity will increase as a result of the breath work we do. You will definitely feel more confident about yourself.
Mentally, you become calmer and more able to focus. You find an equilibrium with your emotions. The big highs and the big lows that we all get don’t happen so frequently, or as dramatically.
You can check out the types of yoga we teach at Great Malvern Yoga and read about our teachers here. Don’t worry if our studio is not for you, we’re very lucky that there are plenty of other yoga teachers in Malvern and further afield in Worcestershire!