What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient system of working with the body, breath and mind to ultimately enable a union of the individual spirit with the ‘universal spirit’, typically through meditation. Yoga is not a religion as it has no doctrine, dogma or church and is in fact compatible with all religions even though it has its roots in Hinduism. You don’t have to believe anything!. It is, however, ultimately a spiritual practice. For most of us, though yoga is primarily working the body with awareness to achieve flexibility, healing and calmness of mind, although there are many paths possible. Yoga is for every body whether lithe and athletic or even paralysed. The perfect ‘form’ of yoga postures that are commonly seen do not necessarily mean ‘good’ yoga!
What are the Benefits of Yoga?
Provided yoga is practised with care, it is a very safe activity and provides a great many benefits to normal healthy people as well as those with some sort of problem. Yoga works holistically on the whole body - mind - spirit system, and can be modified to suit a person in any state of ill health or temporary injury. Limited mobility can generally be improved. Flexibility can be enhanced enabling the body to function more efficiently during normal activities. Yoga readily complements sporting activities too - allowing muscles to relax and stretch. The state of mind in yoga is introverted which increases one’s awareness of your body - normally ignored! Strength, stamina and balance are normally increased through yoga asanas or postures, although most yoga is not at all aerobic. Breath awareness and breathing exercises can also increase lung capacity and improve your breathing patterns. Full use of the breathing apparatus and movement of the torso also massages the internal organs, improving their health and function. And last, but not least, the practising yogi achieves a calm disposition.
How to get Started with Yoga
The subtleties of yoga mean that it is very difficult to learn by looking at a picture or reading a book, and attendance at a class is highly recommended. Yoga is experiential - it is only through practice that it can be understood - reading and intellectualising alone is not yoga. With asana yoga (physical postures), initially, the flexibility and strength of the body are developed and the grosser aspects of a yoga posture are learnt. Body awareness develops and correct alignment and muscle relaxation becomes possible. Controlled breathing and a meditative mind then develop to allow the practice to proceed to maximum benefit. It is emphasised that yoga is not really an academic exercise, but very much a practical experiential journey. Going to a yoga class makes this journey quite painless and any problems or questions can be answered by your teacher. Practice can then be deepened with home practice and weekend yoga days, etc.
DonsYoga style, unless described otherwise, is as follows. Classes focus on structural flexibility, structural integrity, a range of yoga asanas and working with the breath. The yoga tends to be more active, but not overly energetic! There is a strand of spiritual awareness throughout, although emphasised more during the latter quieter stages of a class.
to request. I have a newsletter for my yoga students that gives information on developments in DonsYoga, Yoga Class information, Local Events and Yoga Tips. If you are not already a yoga student with me but are interested (perhaps joining one day?), then just drop me an email by clicking on the link above and I will include you on the mailing list. There are usually 3 newsletters per year plus occasional notices.
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DonsYoga provides yoga tuition in the Swindon/ Marlborough area of North Wiltshire, UK and occasional yoga holidays. Hatha yoga is taught in personal private sessions or public classes. Public classes or courses are offered for Beginners, Restarters, Intermediates, Improvers, Advanced and a physical only version Yoga Posture-cise class (medium to high energy) with an optional follow-on session for non-physical classical yoga aspects. DonsYoga web site provides information on styles of yoga, finding a teacher, local yoga events and what to wear and take to a yoga class. You can also buy Yoga CDs, Videos and Books. Yoga mats, belts & blocks are available for hire or purchase for personal callers and DonsYoga students only.