No doubt the word yoga is a familiar word to just about everyone now, but what is all this hype?. When most thought of Yoga, it would conjure up images of a mysterious and hairy person meditating with their legs crossed on the green grass of a Himalayan mountain. But now it summons up images of fit, flexible, and totally toned people in a hip classes with fashionable ‘stretch-wear’ and the body we wish we all had.
“Yoga is the union of body, mind, and soul”. Cool, that sounds amazing but..uhm..”what does that really mean?” In simpler more layman terms, Yoga is a fantastic system for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “Yuj” meaning to yoke, join or unite. This implies joining all aspects of the individual – body with mind, and mind with soul – to achieve a happy, balanced and useful life, and spiritually, uniting the individual with the ultimate.
For anyone who has even begun to truly investigate yoga, one thing is for sure – it’s much more than a just system of stretches, and relaxation methods. While stretching is certainly involved, yoga is really about creating balance in the body by developing both strength and flexibility. This is done through the act of poses or postures, each of which has specific physical benefits. The poses can be done quickly in succession, creating heat in the body through movement or more slowly to increase stamina and perfect the alignment of the pose.
One of the most difficult, but ultimately most invigorating things about yoga is letting go of your ego and accepting that no one is better than anyone else. Everyone is just doing their best on any given day. The other mind-blowing thing about yoga is that your “practice” is always sprouting and changing, so it never gets boring. Although the poses themselves do not change, your relationship to them will.
Ok, it does take some time to really understand what this ‘unification’ of yoga is all about. The practice of yoga is really an exploration of ourselves on a physical and mental level. According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the ultimate aim of Yoga is to reach “ultimate freedom” within yourself.
Yoga is therefore a spiritual quest. However, along the path of yoga, the aspirant also gains health, happiness, tranquillity and knowledge
Typically, a yoga class at a gym will be more focused on the purely physical benefits of yoga, while we have the advantage of beautiful scenery with calm and pleasant parkland surrounding us so you can clear your head of the day to day stresses of city life.
Bottom Line: You look and feel like a million bucks and start to feel muscles you never thought you had. Who doesn’t want to look like Madonna when they are 50?? Yoga is the secret.