Where to begin? We could say India a few thousand years ago, aiming to teach young boys enlightenment, we could say Tibet and the Himalayas where monks have been practicing Tantra for centuries, we could even eventually include Europe and Scandinavia where body building and gymnastics fused with Indian philosophy. There are so many stories, schools, styles of Yoga that it can be a daunting task when you are first starting out. What we can say is that in this modern age Yoga has grown and established itself in our everyday lives as a system for all over wellbeing. Whether its a stress reducing, relaxation-focused class or a heat and sweat-inducing cleansing session there is now something for everyone. The majority of Yoga that we practice in the west today is a form of Hatha Yoga – different schools and styles have names added to them because of the guru or teacher who created them i.e Iyengar, Sivananda, Astanga etc – but all come under Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga incorporates physical postures (asana), breathing practices (pranayama) and meditation/relaxation techniques.

Yoga has been proven to help with such issues as back problems, sports injuries, stress & anxiety, depression, flexibility, weight management, sleep problems, joint issues, asthma, arthritis and many other physical and emotional issues. Students report feeling energised, happy and calm after taking a Yoga class. The bodies systems are cleansed, the muscles are gently worked, the mind becomes focused and clear, the breath natural and un-hurried.

Yoga is non-competitive – our ego’s are left at the door! We learn how to breathe correctly, we learn to listen to our bodies, to nature, to the world around us without attachment or judgement. Our bodies become strong and supple, our minds calmer and more open. On a deep level the benefits of Yoga slowly but surely start to creep in to our lives.

When starting out in your Yoga journey it is important to find a style that suits you. Yoga shouldn’t be a chore! You should revel in it, learn from it and want to do more. Research your teacher – have they trained and how long for? Do they still study and train themselves?  Are you comfortable with the level of the class? And perhaps most important – are you enjoying it!?

Yoga  benefits many different people in many different ways – open yourself, take your time, experience the magic and spread the love! Namaste x

 

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