Yoga at New Body Barn, Devizes
Yoga in our modern world - What is Yoga?
The word yoga is the Sanskrit word yuj, meaning to yoke or to bind and is often referred to as a union or a method of discipline.
Yoga is the union of the body with the mind and of mind with the body.
- B.K.B Iyengar, The Tree of Yoga
Yoga has an ancient history practised in various forms across India as far back as 5000 years ago. The most famous text on yoga was the yoga sutras written 2000-2300 years ago by Patanjali. The yoga Sutras are a philosophical guidebook of statements that outlines the eight limbs of yoga: Yamas (restraints), Niyamas (observances), Asana (postures), Pranayama (breathing), Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses),Dharana (concentration), Dhyani (meditation) and Samadhi (absorption).
Movement through postures
Today, most practitioners focus on the third yogic limb, the asanas or physical postures. Movement through these postures is what typically gives you that after-class-feeling of being physically stretched out, less tense, mentally calmer and generally more relaxed. This is the deeper level of the practice coming into effect, the “union” of the mind and body that B.K.S Iyengar refers to. In this state the mind can associate the practice as a positive experience for the body.
While yoga has an ancient history of spiritual practice it is the physical benefits that draw most of it practitioners in our modern world. Yoga is often branded as another form of exercise in which to achieve a desired level of fitness. While there is more to the practice of yoga than its physical effects, they are no less important. The physicality of the asanas encourages the body to create new patterns and movement and often results in many lasting physical benefits such as:
- Mobility and Flexibility – Yoga stretches tight muscles and increases range of motion in related joints. A more flexible body will decrease stiffness and small aches and pains and increase range of motion.
- Strength and Stability – The body develops strong muscles from daily routines and other activities. Yoga aims to balance and strengthen the underused weaker muscles. When muscles are weak they tire quickly and often cause imbalances. Strengthening the body will improve posture, increase stability and aid in overall mobility. The asana practice targets all major muscles groups in the upper body, core and lower body.
Along with its overall physical benefits, yoga is a practice that, unlike other forms of exercise, leaves you feeling energized. The connection of physical practice and breath works oxygenates the blood and leaves the body worked but in a state in which it can actively recover from other daily strains or training.
A safe, non-judgemental space
Whether you are new to yoga or a seasoned yogi; be assured that everyone can grow and develop, regardless of age, physical condition or level of flexibility. The yoga space is a safe, non-judgemental space in which students have the opportunity to become more aware of their body, improve strength and flexibility at their own pace. In yoga there is no end goal as we are constantly changing and learning as individuals. Begin your yoga journey today.
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