Everyone can practice yoga, fully fit or disabled, young or old. Yoga is not a philosophy or religion, it is more a set of techniques, everyone is welcome to join in. Yoga can create extra space in your day where your mind becomes calmer and more efficient, your body becomes fluid, your spirit unfolds in bliss.
If you are coming to one of my Oxford yoga classes remember not to eat for a couple of hours beforehand, as there are twists and some forward bends that don’t go well with a full stomach!
While in class remember that you can always push your own practice further by stretching that little bit more, or continually scanning your form for micro improvements. Equally you can relax into child’s pose, or sit and breathe and meditate if you feel like it and join in the asanas again when it suits you. Always listen to your body with a kind ear and only go as far as you want to go.
Yoga gives you the space in body and mind to discover who you truly are.
It is a way of being which reminds you to take full responsibility for everything you do and feel.
Yoga takes you to a new level of understanding, which is beyond what you thought was possible.
It eases stress, pain, imbalance and responds to your unique needs.
Through yoga you see that all the life force, fire, creativity and joy has always been and always will be there inside you.
The eight-fold path of Astanga Yoga:
Yoga has its roots about 5000 years BC as described in Vedic Philosophy and Tantras. The renowned and respected sage Patanjali drew these ideas together in his Yoga Sutra. Here he shows how Yoga can work as an eightfold path:
YAMAS Moral Code
Ahimsa: Non-harm and compassion for all beings
Brahmacharya: Sensual and sexual continence
NYAMAS Self Disciplines
Tapas: Fire or endurance
Ishvara Pranidanah: Dedication to the divine
Yoga postures with equilibrium through stability and comfort. Moving meditation with effortless effort.
PRANAYAMA Strengthening the life force through breathing and discipline
Breathing exercises and cleansing to increase the pranic flow in the body.
PRATYAHARA Withdrawal of the senses
Preparing yourself mentally to increase the powers of the mind. Not letting distractions take you away from your path.
DHARANA Meditative Concentration
Often by fixing the attention on one point or mantra. Through deepening concentration the normal activities of the mind slow down to an eventual place of stillness and silence.
DHYANA Meditation – Contemplation or insight
From Dharana the mind becomes free to spontaneously expand. This expansion of mind is meditation. This leads to a most subtle depth of awareness.
SAMADHI Meditative absorption
The duality of mind is transcended and a state of pure awareness arises. This is the state of cosmic fusion where the finite has become infinite and Yoga (union) is attained.
State of bliss, joy and merging individual consciousness into universal consciousness. Union between Jivatman and Paramatman. Union of Shiva and Shakti in Sahasrara Chakra.