• a great way to get into shape.
• a way to connect with myself
• something I do for fun.
• a great way to heal and strengthen my body.
• essential for my wellbeing, mental and physical.
• a great way to start the day.
• the best way to relax after a long working day.
• whatever you want it to be!
Yoga is many things to many different people. It could be that it defines your life, and informs who you are. Equally it could be something that you do for a couple of hours a week, to help you relax at the end of a busy day.
What is yoga about?
I work on the physical postures (asanas) to develop strength and correct alignment ( this is the fitness input), but with a strong focus on breathing exercises (pranayama) to help to induce clarity of thought, tranquillity and concentration. I also include meditation and relaxation to turn attention inward and help to calm the mind and reduce stress. In that sense you could see it as a sort of therapy, a yoga therapy.
With smooth but intense practice and the appropriate modifications to suit your individual body and mind, yoga can help to aleviate back pain, loosen stiff joints, and also improves depressive moods and depression. It releases stress. In that sense, it is quite similar to an ordinary fitness class, but with a deeper concern for health and well-being.
I chose to teach in the Pavilion of the Residents Garden in Southampton as it provides a calm and harmonious environment, which suits the spirit of Yoga. The evening class provides a good opportunity for people who work during the day to unwind and relax. The Chandlers Ford Methodist Church venue is clean and comfortable. It provides for a small, nurturing class with a maximum of 6 people.
A practical advice
It is not advisable to have a meal at least 2 hours before the session. Wear comfortable clothes, such as a tracksuit bottom and a T-shirt. You can bring a light blanket for the relaxation part of the session. I have a few spare mats, but it is advisable to bring your own mat. Blocks and belts will be provided. If you wanted to buy any of those later on, I can order them in bulk, at a reduced price.
What could Yoga be?
For me, yoga is a life-long path of self-enquiry and personal discovery, leading to better health and healing. It is a ‘life skill’, that gives me the ability to focus and to take a step back to lead an harmonious and fulfilling life.
Yoga brings different benefits to different people. With regular practice, you will improve your flexibility and your strength. Stira (smoothness) and stukha (strength)are two essential principles in Yoga, that can be achieved safely by coordinating breath and movement. This in turn benefits the mind.