as we know it today is practiced to improve overall health and well-being.
Its roots are in the Hindu tradition, and date back nearly 5000 years.
from the Sanskrit word for "union", yoga aims to bring its
practitioners closer to the supreme being.
exercises we now simply call "yoga" are actually "hatha"
yoga. This form attempts to prepare the body for the pursuit of union
with the divine, while raising the practitioner's awareness of creation
to a higher level.
are three disciplines which contribute to this search for union:
life force, or "prana" is believed to enter the body through
the breath. Shallow, rapid breathing therefore inhibits the life force.
Hatha yoga focuses on deep, slow, controlled breathing (pranayama)
to disperse the energy from the life force throughout the body, resulting
in a feeling of calm.
are a wide variety of yoga postures (asanas) which can be undertaken.
Some stretch and strengthen muscles, others improve posture and the
skeletal system, while others aim to compress and relax the organs
and nerves. While some postures can be awkward at first, with practice
they are more easily achieved. Overall, the main purpose of the postures
is to develop the body into a worthy host for the soul.
focuses the mind, and relaxes the body, reinforcing the disciplines
of hatha yoga, and leading to a quiet, calm frame of mind.
more info, see our meditation
Can Yoga Treat?
the use of physical exercises, yoga is most closely linked to mind-body
offers a significant number of proven health benefits. It increases
the efficiency of the heart, and slows the respiratory rate, improves
fitness, lowers blood pressure, promotes relaxation, reduces stress,
and allays anxiety.
also improves coordination, posture, flexibility, range of motion,
concentration, sleep, and digestion. It can be used as a supplementary
therapy for conditions as diverse as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, asthma,
migraines, and helps to combat addictions such as smoking.
yoga can make a major contribution in the easing of pain symptoms,
promoting relaxation, and creating an overall sense of well being,
your health practitioner should be consulted first if:
have had a recent injury or surgery
have arthritis, a slipped disk, heart disease, or high blood pressure
are pregnant (special classes which modify postures may be available)