“That's why it's called a practice. We have to practice a practice if it is to be of value.”
― Allan Lokos, Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living
Classic Hatha Yoga brings together mind, body & spirit through Yoga poses, Pranayama & relaxation. A great class for those new to Yoga with gentle stretching to warm up the muscles. Energize, strengthen & tone your body. Relax & de-stress your mind and leave feeling refreshed and balanced…
This is the official description of the class, but what’s really behind those words?
I checked with Wikipedia and I found that the information is extensive and is not suitable for this post so I cut it down to this quote: “In the 20th century, hatha yoga, particularly asanas (the physical postures), became popular throughout the world as a form of physical exercise, and is now colloquially termed as simply ‘yoga’".
This is what most people think yoga to be but once they start practicing yoga they realize there is so much more to it and it has a cumulative effect. The more consistent you are with your practice the more benefits you’ll experience.
Ways Yoga improves Health (source: Yoga Journal – partial list)
*Improves your flexibility * Builds muscle strength * Perfect your posture * Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown * Betters your bone health * Increases your blood flow * Drains your lymphs and boosts immunity * Ups your heart rate * Drops your blood pressure * Regulates your adrenal glands * Makes you happier * Founds a healthy lifestyle * Lowers blood sugar * Helps you focus * Relaxes your nervous system * Improves you balance * Maintains your nervous system * Releases tension in your limbs * Helps you sleep deeper * Boosts you immune system functionality * Gives your lungs room to breathe * Prevents some digestive problems * Gives you peace of mind * Increases your self-esteem * Eases your pain * Gives you inner strength * Builds awareness for Transformation * Encourages self-care * Benefits your relationships.
As for my own practice I started in the summer of 2008. After weeks of physical discomfort, I decided to try out the local yoga school. Yoga had previously peeked my interest but there never seemed to be enough time for it, so this was a perfect opportunity. I signed up for class and continued for the next 3 years. To my pleasant surprise I was not just feeling physically better but also more peaceful which inspired me to go deeper into the practice and become an instructor sharing the journey and joy of yoga.
In my classes I hope to bring a sense of purpose into the practice not just as a physical exercise for one hour, but as an experience that we can take with us into our everyday activities. We practice to tone our muscles, strengthen our bones, oxygenate the blood, improve our balance and increase flexibility using the poses and movements to accomplish that and we use the breath to support us as we move through, in and out of the poses. We also use it as a point of focus for mindfulness. Mindfulness is non-judgemental observation, the ability of the mind to observe without criticism. With this ability we simply take a balanced interest in things exactly as they are in their natural states. The breathing techniques, or Pranayama, we offer in class are mostly focused on breath awareness promoting a natural and effortless breathing pattern and quieting the mind to relax the body creating a peaceful calm within.
In a typical class we’ll begin with a relaxation either resting on the back or occasionally sitting in a comfortable position, centering, and focusing on the breath, pranayama, and body awareness. It is followed by gradual stretches and a variety of postures (asanas), at a slower pace and sometimes with a flow. Every class ends with a visualization in Savasana (Classic relaxation pose), the most important pose of them all, a deep relaxation where the awareness is focused inwards to experience an inner stillness, peace and harmony with which we can approach our everyday activities.
As one client puts it:
“Why I Love Yoga - Yoga allows me to concentrate solely on me. It helps me to let go of my responsibilities and worries for the day. I can then focus on getting my body in shape and feel stronger. At the end of class, I feel calm, strong, and ready to embrace my day, whatever it brings!”