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Yoga

What is Yoga?

Although the physical postures are what most people think of as yoga, it is so much more than just exercise. It is a philosophy of life, sometimes also described as a practical science. It provides us with an extraordinarily versatile tool for living, which can help us achieve whatever we want. It helps us gain control over our body, emotions, thoughts, behaviour and actions, enables us to grow and develop in all areas of life and find true inner happiness.
It can be used to stretch, tone and sculpt the body, massage the internal organs, calm and steady the mind and balance energy levels. It helps us develop strength and flexibility, release tension and relax more efficiently, enhance our mental powers, and improve resistance to colds and flu. It also lifts the spirits, boosts confidence and helps us to clarify and realize our goals in life. Best of all, yoga shows us the way to be more at peace with ourselves, happy and at one with all that surrounds us.

Peace within makes beauty without
~ English proverb ~

The word Yoga means union in Sanskrit and refers to the realization of the unity or oneness behind the apparent separation of the individual person from the rest of creation. Thus the practice of yoga, in it's various forms (see Types of yoga), is aimed at integrating the body, mind and emotions so we can be a state of balance and harmony where the sense of effort disappears, the mind becomes quiet and we experience that which is beyond the mind...

When the restlessness of the mind, intellect and self is stilled through the practice of Yoga, the yogi, by the grace of the Spirit within himself finds fulfillment. Then he knows the joy eternal, which is beyond the pale of the senses, which his reason cannot grasp.
~ From the Bagavadgita ~

The ancient Yogis recognized long ago that in order to accomplish this ultimate aim of yoga, a healthy body is essential. When we are sick or in pain, our attention is not free to contemplate the infinite nature of being!

The body is a sacred garment
~ Martha Graham ~

Hatha Yoga is the physical form of yoga (although the term is now often used to denote a classical style of yoga which does not carry a trademarked name). It consists of postures (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama), which relax, strengthen and energize the body and calm and focus the mind. The purpose is to promote free circulation of energy (prana) throughout the whole body-mind system and to create a state of both stability and ease. The ultimate aim was traditionally to enable the yogi to achieve the long periods of stillness necessary for deep meditation.

Stiram sukham asanam - The posture should be steady and comfortable
~  Patanjali (The Yoga Sutras) ~

Personal growth and the path to self-knowledge are greatly enhanced when we understand that the body is not merely a bag of organs and bones, but a finely balanced system of energies. Freeing the structure enables the energy to flow and circulate freely. This keeps both the structure and the internal organ system functioning optimally, helps protect from injury and disease and maintains a youthful body and mind.

The practice of yoga also brings greater awareness and self-confidence and teaches us how to have a clear perspective on the ups and downs of life.

Know thyself
~ Socrates ~

The obvious benefits, in all areas of life, of having a strong, flexible body and calm steady mind are what have made hatha yoga so enormously popular in the West today. Yoga is also enjoyable and imparts an immediate feeling of wellbeing. Yoga is best used as preventive medicine, but some of its practices also have great therapeutic value and this forms the basis of yoga therapy It can help those suffering from a range of difficult physical conditions, including musculo-skeletal problems, degenerative diseases and arthritis, internal organ diseases, also mental/emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks and painful issues from both past and present.

 
 
 
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