Practised for thousands of years by Indian saints and sages, Yoga has spread throughout the rest of the world as a physical activity that conditions the body and the mind.  The term ‘yoga’ means ‘union’, bringing the body and mind into unity through the practice of the yoga asanas, breathing and meditation. 

With as many ‘brands’ of yoga as there are toothpaste, it’s important to find the style of yoga which suits you and your mind and body.  Some people find peace in a fast and challenging sequence of asanas, whilst others find calmness and clarity at a slower pace, concentrating on their breathing and the spaces between the asanas. 

Benefits of Yoga:

On a physical level yoga tones the body and increases flexibility, strength and stamina.  It improves balance and coordination and can correct postures.  It is known to reduce the heart rate and blood pressure, with pranayama (yogic breathing exercises) improving lung capacity and respiration.  Through the sequence of asanas the major organs are exercised and rejuvenated, also stimulated are the endocrine and nervous systems. 

Yoga is also known to reduce stress levels and the ability to cope with it by reducing the activity of the sympathetic nervous system’s ‘fight of flight’ response and instead increasing the work of the parasympathetic nervous system.  Giving respite from stress, brings calmness and mental clarity.  Through connecting with our breath we are able to control our physical, mental and emotional reactions within stressful situations more easily. 

What to expect during a class:

The class will be taught in the standard Sivananda school of yoga style, classic hatha yoga exercises and breathing integrated into a fuller way of living life, for physical and mental health.

1. Proper Exercise, Asanas, are designed to stretch and tone our muscles and joints, to bring fluidity and flexibility to our bodies and keep discomfort and disease at bay.  A gentle and flowing form of exercise yoga is enjoyable to the practitioner physically whilst also bringing calm to the mind and emotions.  The body is as young as it is flexible. Yoga exercises focus on the health of the spine, its strength and flexibility. The spinal column houses the all-important nervous system, the telegraphic system of the body. By maintaining the spine's flexibility and strength through exercise, circulation is increased and the nerves are ensured their supply of nutrients and oxygen.

2. Proper Breathing, Pranayama.  Sat at desks all day, many of us have forgotten how to breathe properly, breathing shallowly.  Pranayama cleanses our respiratory systems from external environmental influences and teaches us how to use the lungs to their maximum capacity, increasing vitality and mental clarity.

3. Proper Relaxation, Savasana.  Sportsmen from any tradition know the importance of relaxing the muscles after exertion.  Savasana is incorporated into the yoga sequence to relax the muscles and revitalise the nervous systems and tissues of the body.  A full relaxation at the end of the class brings a deep sense of inner peace and mental clarity, combating stress and aiding a sense of perspective.

4. Proper Concentration, Meditation.  With hundreds of media messages, advertising messages, constant demands on your time and busy lives in general, our minds are agitated and always working.  Just as we rest the body to give it a chance to relax and regenerate, we need to also rest the mind.  For those looking to calm the number of thoughts running through their minds, leaving them feeling fresher and more able to tackle daily life we can introduce you to meditation techniques, bringing it into your regular practice, or running bespoke meditation classes and workshops. 

Before commencing yoga classes we will meet to discuss your specific health and fitness levels, any injuries or areas of tension, your experience and understanding of yoga and what you wish to achieve from the practice.  Using that we will personalise the practice, adjusting the focus of the sequence and postures to suit your needs.

The class can be held in your home, or ours, with a maximum of 2 people to ensure attention to your specific yoga needs and development.  We can also bring yoga to your place of work if you have a group of colleagues looking to practice yoga on a regular basis.

We recommend two classes or more per week to receive maximum benefits from the practice.

Sivananda School of Yoga:

The Sivananda school of yoga was started by Swami Vishnu Devananda in 1957, when he was sent to the West by his Guru, Swami Sivananda, to spread the teachings of Yoga.  A non-profit  internationally recognised yoga organisation, it now has more than eighty centres and ashrams worldwide, offering drop in yoga classes, residential yoga ‘vacations’ and training more than 10,000 Yoga teachers around the globe.  

Useful links:

http://www.sivananda.org

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