I believe Yoga is for everyone, Yoga means ‘unity’ or ‘yoke’ and practising Yoga is a means of balancing and harmonising Body, Mind and Spirit.
Hat-ha Yoga is a system of postures and breath for the whole body – the postures (asana) are used as a physical practise to correct alignment, strengthen muscles, spine and core, increase flexibility and release anxiety and stress. We learn to synchronise the body and breath, thereby bringing balance to both body and mind.
Breathing techniques (pranayama) or breath extension can help reduce stress and HBP, it can induce the parasympathetic nervous system or the relaxation response, again preparing us mentally and physically for meditation.
Relaxation/meditation is key to Yoga, it is Yoga! and once we have practiced asana and pranayama we are physically ready to practice meditation.
In our daily lives we have to contend with constant stimulation – computers, TV, people etc – the intellectual mind rarely has time to be be still, even when we are sleeping them mind is still active, dreaming….We can use meditation to try and still the ‘Monkey Mind’. It can be difficult in the beginning as the mind is constantly chattering and thinking, so we work gently and patiently and in time we will reap the benefits.
Yoga is a very personal practise, even though we work together in a group; each individual works to their own ability and take each posture to their level of comfort. Everyone is reminded that Yoga is not a competition and you certainly do not have to be flexible to start, you can be any shape or size!
I believe we can all benefit from Yoga, whether physically, mentally. spiritually or hopefully all of these……..