Yoga is a five thousand year old physical and philosophical system designed to improve a person on all levels. Yoga is a Sanskrit word (from the same Indo-European root as the English word 'yoke'), which means 'union'. Yoga is principally concerned with uniting the disparate elements of body, mind, intellect, emotions, nerves, soul an so on for a more fulfilled and more efficient living.
No. Yoga teaches the student to keep their body in tune with their mind and their soul. The body, mind, intellect and breath are all concentrated when performing an asana.
Everyone from children to those in their senior years. It is open to people of either sex and of all ages, races, religions and abilities.
No, not at all. Although in the West yoga is predominantly practised by women, the numbers of men who are turning to yoga is increasing all the time. In a class of 20 or so, there will usually be around 5 men present.
There is no minimum or maximum recommended time. A daily practise, however short, can be more effective that an intense weekly class. Dedicated yogis normally spend several hours a day.
No. Yoga is non competitive - ie. every posture is practised to the best of that person's ability. As the yoga practice progresses, students find that their flexibility improves greatly.
Yoga is a powerful discipline that can improve health and fitness. Yoga postures can increase flexibility, stability, stamina and strength and help bring proper alignment and posture. They also bring a feeling of well being to the entire body by stimulating the organs and improving circulation. As the body works more efficiently, problems like headaches, back pain, stiff hips and digestive disorders can all be alleviated. Pranayama, the breathing techniques can lower the blood pressure, increase cardiovascular efficiency and aid relaxation.
Yoga can help reduce stress, improve concentration alleviate mood swings. It brings awareness and the ability to be 'still'. Practising pranayama helps bring mental clarity and calm.
A regular practice can help improve the following conditions: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, menopause, ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, migraines, insomnia, fused vertebrae, arthritis, chronic pain, scoliosis, sciatica, respiratory ailments, digestive disorders and diabetes. It benefits many other conditions also.
Meditation is the result of sustained concentration. The desired purpose of each meditation technique is to channel our awareness into a more positive direction by totally transforming one's state of mind. To meditate is to turn inwards, to concentrate on the inner self. Meditation calms the mind, brings emotional balance, mental clarity and focus.
Yoga philosophy is a philosophy of life. The basis of yogic philosophy is the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. Written over 2000 years ago, the Yoga Sutras contain four 'Padas' or chapters brought from all paths of yoga and creating a comprehensive text. Within the sutras, Patanjali describes the Eight Limbs of Yoga, which must be practised and developed before true mental liberation is reached.