Yoga

About Yoga – “Breathe deep, fly high.”

In our hectic modern world many people are coming to practice yoga – a system of philosophy that originated in India 5,000 years ago. Everyone can practice yoga, regardless of age, sex or ability.yoga pic
Please find more info about yoga classes and workshops at the Facebook page Yoga with Heather Murray (British Wheel of Yoga teacher).Attachment-1

Yoga offers a holistic approach to body, mind and spirit. It can help us not only to cope with the challenges of daily life, but to grow in strength and flexibility. Yoga can also complement medical science and therapy for specific conditions.
You may be drawn to yoga simply for health and fitness, or be seeking relief for a specific physical condition. You might want help with managing stress, or would like exercises suitable for the less able-bodied. Whatever your objectives, there are yoga classes that can meet them.
By making yoga a part of your daily routine, you may become aware of subtle changes in your approach to life. In your yoga class you may well begin to glimpse a state of inner peace….

What is yoga?

The Sanskrit word yoga is translated as ‘union’. The practice of yoga helps to co-ordinate the breath, mind and body to encourage balance, both internally and externally and promote feelings of relaxation and ease. In the West, the most widely taught form of yoga is Hatha Yoga. Yoga classes offer students postures and movements to stretch, strengthen and flex the body, to develop breath awareness, to relax and sometimes to meditate.lotus by pool

 What are the benefits of yoga?

Benefits of yoga include:
Improved efficiency of lungs and cardio-vascular system
Improved posture, flexibility and strength
Improved concentration
Enhanced feeling of well-being
Better quality sleep
Reduction of anxiety and depression

For more information contact Heather on 07811 628247

What Happens in a Yoga Class?

Preparation
British Wheel of Yoga classes begin with a short period of quiet to slow the mind and prepare mind, breath and body, followed by limbering moves and sequences to warm up the muscles and joints in preparation for asana (posture) work.DSCF4317

Working with the breath
Considering that our life depends upon our breathing it is remarkable that we have as much conscious control over it as we do. Breathing is fundamental to life. Man can live for weeks without food, days without water but only minutes without breathing. Breathing is controlled automatically by a respiratory centre in the brain. A nervous impulse sent from the brain causes us to inhale, breathing in essential oxygen as well as Carbon Dioxide (CO2). As soon as the CO2 reaches a certain level in our bodies an automatic reflex causes us to exhale. Human beings are unique in having a degree of control over their breathing. Automatic breathing allows us to be able to sleep; controlled breathing allows us to sing, talk and laugh!
The majority of people regularly utilise only 25% of their breathing capacity. Yoga helps us to learn to exercise control over our breath. This not only increases vitality but also improves digestion, tones the nervous system and calms and concentrates the mind.

“If you would foster a calm spirit, first regulate your breathing; for when that is under control the heart will be at peace; but when breathing is spasmodic, then it will be troubled. Therefore, before attempting anything else, first regulate your breathing on which your temper will be softened, your spirit calmed.”
Kariba EkKen 17th Century mysticphoto 3

“The mind is like a chariot, yoked to a team of powerful horses. One of them is breath, one is desire. The chariot moves in the direction of the more powerful animal. If breath prevails, the desires are controlled, the senses are held in check and the mind is stilled. If desire prevails, breath is in disarray and the mind is agitated and troubled.” Hatha Yoga Pradipika

In a yoga class you will practice breathing techniques to develop awareness and full use of the breath. These techniques are developed into ‘pranayama’ exercises to help control and move prana (energy) through the breath. Prana means ‘vital’ or ‘life force energy’. Not all exercises are suitable for those with respiratory or circulatory conditions, so be sure to advise your teacher of any such conditions before you start a class.

Text adapted from British Wheel of Yoga website.

For more information contact Heather on 07811 628247

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Early morning yoga at European Taiko Conference, Exeter, England

What You Can Expect From Yoga?

Thanks to certain celebrities like Sting, Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow, yoga is very fashionable. Everyone is practising yoga! There are many articles in newspapers and magazines about the benefits of yoga; deep breathing, energising postures, and stress control through relaxation techniques. Yoga is very fashionable now but it has been practised for thousands of years.
It has many different aspects and may be experienced on various levels. The practice develops strength, flexibility and stamina both physically and mentally. At its simplest, yoga is an efficient, safe and controlled method of exercise. Flexibility is increased, strength improved, stamina developed and basic posture corrected through a variety of stretches and both classic and modern yoga postures.
As well as toning muscles and extending the range of movement in the joints, the postures also benefit the body internally; stimulating organs, glands and nerves as well, keeping all systems in radiant health. Yoga lowers stress by developing relaxation and breathing techniques. As physical well-being and bodily awareness improve, together with deeper breathing and an ability to relax more easily, there is an increase in energy levels, greater mental clarity and a general feeling of calmness and control.
The benefits of yoga aren’t instantaneous but the result of continued practice. However as the ultimate benefit of yoga is optimum health, it is worth it! The practice brings us into balance physically and mentally. Yoga gives us the space to take the awareness inwards bringing the body, mind and spirit into harmony.

Text adapted from British Wheel of Yoga website.

For more information contact Heather on 07811 628247

Frequently Asked Questions about Yoga

I have never been to a yoga class before and do not know what to expect. Are all the other people really good at it? Will I feel out of place?
Yoga is non competitive so there is no need to feel concerned about being new in the class. BWY teachers will make you feel very welcome and there is usually a mixture of ages and abilities in a class, unless they are clearly indicated as intermediate, advanced or special interest (i.e. for pregnant women, cancer suffers, children, special needs etc.). At a BWY class everyone is encouraged to work to their own abilities and according to their level.

What should I wear?
Something loose and comfortable that allows you freedom of movement. Yoga is generally done in bare feet but bring socks to wear especially during the relaxation.

Do I need to bring any equipment?
You will need a mat to practise on but if it is the first time you have attended a class check with the teacher whether spare yoga mats and other equipment are available. If you decide to continue attending you can make a decision on which equipment you wish to purchase. All items are available from the BWY shop and a discount is offered to BWY members. Bring a blanket that you will use to keep warm during the relaxation.

Can you give me an idea of how the class works?
The majority of classes run for a duration of 1.5 hours. They begin with a short, basic relaxation that allows everybody some time to settle down and centre themselves. A warm up session follows, using yoga based movements geared towards the main content of the class, the yoga asanas (yoga postures). The class will include pranayama (yoga breathing exercises) and ends with yoga relaxation. Modifications and adjustments are offered for beginners or people with health issues.

I’m very stiff and/or unfit will I be able to do it?
You may find that some things need to be modified by using various props to ensure it is safe for your individual body. Certain movements and asanas may not be suitable for you but you will be advised what these are and an alternative option offered.

I have health issues can I still come and is it safe for me to take part?
If you have a health condition you should seek medical advice from your GP before coming to the class. In the majority of instances you can still attend and practise safely. Certain movements and asanas may not be suitable for you but you will be advised what these are and an alternative option offered. You may also find that some things need to be modified by using various props to ensure it is safe for your individual body.

Is yoga just for women or can men practise too?
Yoga is for everyone so yes they can. It is often thought that men may prefer more dynamic or sporty activities, but this can lead to over-training in one sport, which can in turn cause repetitive stress and other more serious injuries. In addition to the benefits of the breathing and meditation practice, yoga is a full-body workout that creates both strength and flexibility. It strengthens muscles that get less attention during workouts, such as the lower back and knees, and also stretches out the hips, hamstrings, and shoulders, often very tight in men, leading to injury or weakness.

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Weekly hatha yoga class in Bwlch

Do you use Sanskrit names for the postures? How will I understand?
BWY teachers do underpin yoga practice with philosophy, much of which is written in Sanskrit. Yoga asanas all have a Sanskrit name which makes it easier to identify them across all disciplines of yoga; however BWY teachers do also offer English translations.

Do you sit around chanting? I am not comfortable with this.
Chanting may be a feature of some classes but BWY teachers will not ask you to do anything that makes you uncomfortable.

I am not a very spiritual person but have heard that yoga is for spiritual people. Does this matter?
Yoga is not a religion. Most classes provide a healthy balance between philosophy and asana practice and it is up to the individual as to whether they take the philosophy on board.

The term ‘hatha yoga’ covers all types of physical yoga. Placing an emphasis on postures with breathing and relaxation, it’s suitable for all ages and levels of ability, making it ideal for beginners. Classes that are described as ‘Hatha’ tend to involve slow-paced stretching with some simple breathing exercises and meditation.

Whatever type or level of class you choose, make sure to check the teacher’s qualifications before you sign up. British Wheel of Yoga teachers are well trained and are up to date on safety guidelines and best practises.
See more at http://www.bwy.org.uk/uf

Text adapted from British Wheel of Yoga website.

For more information contact Heather on 07811 628247

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yoga poster Sept 20162016

 

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