What is yoga?
"Yoga is a way of moving into stillness in order to experience the truth of who you are"
Erich Schiffman (American Yoga Master)
Yoga is the current of spirituality that has developed on the Indian penninsula over a period of some five thousand years. Over the years, yoga has assumed various forms. However, underlying all forms of yoga is the understanding that the human being is more than the physical body and that, through practice, it is possible to discover what this "more" is.
How did yoga move from India to the West?
The missionary work of Swami Vivekananda, who spoke at the Parliament of Religions in 1893, saw the introduction of yoga into the West. His message of tolerance and compassion to all living things was received with a standing ovation.
The 20th Century saw a continued movement of wisdom from India to the West with Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (Master of Yoga, Ayurveda, Sanskrit and Logic) who was responsible for the incredible spread of asana practice in the West, and creating Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.
What is "Vinyasa" yoga?
Vinyasa is a flow-based derivative of Krishnamacharya's Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga which in the fullest format is impossible for people to to perform based on bone structure limitations. For this reason, Vinyasa flow has developed - the linking of one posture to the next using breath and movement.
What is 'My Kind of Yoga'?
"My Kind of Yoga is an Intentional Movement System that allows you to explore your internal landscape. "Intention has to do with the heart. The power of the heart is the driving force behind all and what we do; in yoga and in life. Movement is about what we do with our body. The beauty of the human body in action, when moving with intention and awareness is a wondrous thing. It's not about the shapes you can create with your body. It's about the feel and what you can create within that makes your practice beautiful" Ann-See Yeoh, creator of My Kind of Yoga
What is a Sun Salutation?
Originally the Sun Salutation was a sequence of sacred words to honour the sun and traditionally chanted at sunrise. The Sun Salutation now is a sequence of 12 dynamic Poses composed of three elements: form, energy and rhythm. The sequence is said to generate Prana (breath) with performance in a steady, rhythmic sequence reflecting the rhythms of the universe; the 24 hours of the day, the 12 zodiac phases and the biorhythms of the body. The application of this form and rhythm to the body-mind complex generates a transforming force which produces a fuller and more dynamic life.
What Poses are included in 'My Kind of Yoga'?
Over the years, the yoga world has adapted and drawn from other disciplines so that there are now a huge range of yoga poses available; some are not in the traditional texts.
Some transitional moves have been adapted now into Poses in their own right. Other Poses probably do not even have a Sanskrit name.
'My Kind of Yoga' is passionate about making yoga accessible to everyone with a simple, 'no fluff' approach. We classify the Poses according to their function which includes amongst others:
Standing Poses for body awareness, strength and balance
Balance for focus, centring the mind and body
Back Bends for stimulating the nervous system and releasing held emotions
Forward Bends for calming the nervous system and mind
Twists for suppleness of the spine, massaging internal organs (aids digestion) and balancing the nervous system
Two Yoga poses that are found in most sequences are:
1) Down Dog
Adho Mukha Svanasana is one of the poses in the traditional Sun Salutation sequence. It's also an excellent yoga asana all on its own.
Down Dog Pose helps open, activate, and balance the following chakra(s):
· Third Eye Chakra (Ajna Chakra)
· Throat Chakra (Vishuddha Chakra)
· Heart Chakra (Anahata Chakra)
· Solar Plexus (Manipura Chakra)
· Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
· Energizes the body
· Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
· Strengthens the arms and legs
· Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
· Relieves menstrual discomfort when done with head supported
· Helps prevent osteoporosis
· Improves digestion
· Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
· Therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis
If your lower back is rounding bend your knees to relax the Hamstrings. Then imagine pushing the front edge of the mat away from you to activate the shoulder stabilising muscles and lift hips and tail bone up towards the ceiling.
2) Childs Pose
Balasana is a resting pose that can precede or follow any other pose. If practiced at the end of a challenging sequence, it allows one to come to peace with the body and reconnect with the breath. On the other hand Balasana can be used purely as a restorative pose
Balasana helps open, activate, and balance the following chakra(s):
· Third Eye Chakra (Ajna Chakra)
· Sacral Chakra (Swadisthana Chakra)
· Root Chakra (Muladhara Chakra)
• Stretches the spine
• Stretches the entire lower body including the ankles
• Brings awareness of the body and breath
• Massages the internal organs
• Reduces migraines with increase in blood circulation
• Calms the body and mind to reduce stress and fatigue
• Encourages better sleep and treats anxiety and insomnia
• Relaxes the neck and shoulder muscles if the head and neck are supported
If you have difficulty sitting on your heels in this pose, place a thickly folded blanket between your back thighs and calves.
We usually don't breathe consciously and fully into the back of the torso. Balasana provides us with an excellent opportunity to do just that. Imagine that each inhalation is "doming" the back torso toward the ceiling, lengthening and widening the spine. Then with each exhalation release the torso a little more deeply into the fold.
We explore these and other common Yoga poses in our Back to Basics Yoga workshop. For more information on our upcoming workshops please click HERE