What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in India around 5000 years ago. The word yoga stems from the Sanskrit word “Yuj” meaning to yoke, join or unite. Yoga is best known in the West as a set of practices that include stretching and strengthening the body, breathing and deep relaxation.
However on a deeper level yoga is a wonderful tool through which we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and life as a whole. It teaches us how to balance physical fitness, mental clarity and emotional peace. We recognise their innate connection and know that to feel truly healthy we must nurture all these elements of ourselves.
In society today we are often encouraged to turn our attention outwards, to consume and compete. The practice of yoga provides us with an opportunity to come back to the present moment and quietly ask ourselves, “what do we really require to feel deeply nourished and happy?”
Asanas (postures) nourish our bodies in many ways including stretching and strengthening our muscles in equal measures and lubricating our joints. They also work internally, regulating the function of organs and the nervous system helping them to work to their full potential.
Yoga also teaches us how to use the breath to help us relax and stay focused. Combined with the asanas, pranayama exercises help to regulate the flow of air and vital energy (prana) around the body. Pranayama helps us to fully oxygenate the body and also has a soothing and balancing effect on the nervous system. They can therefore help to relieve stress related problems such as high blood pressure, migraines and insomnia.