The physical health benefits of yoga (particularly dynamic forms) are many and can include; improved cardiovascular function and respiratory health, better posture, more flexibility and an increase in overall fitness, strength and stamina. Studies show it can help improve conditions such as asthma, hypertension, cholesterol, digestion, diabetes, osteoporosis, insomnia and many more – just Google ‘benefits of yoga’, the list is endless!
However there is of course much more to yoga than the physical benefits, the word ‘yoga’ in Sanskrit means to join, to unite, to yoke – essentially it means to bring unity, harmony and integrity. I like to think of it as a mind and body workout and a way to bring balance to your life, not the ability to twist yourself into knots!
The physical postures (asanas) can increase the flow of the subtle energies in the body and as you free up the body you free up the mind, regular practitioners of yoga often see an improvement in their mental performance. Flexibility in the body promotes mental flexibility bringing a sense of ease and balance in your life and with this practioners are able to rest better, relax and keep stress at bay.
My classes are based on the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series. Ashtanga is a set series of postures that work with the breath creating internal heat in the body cleansing and purifying the syste. The warmth we create throughout the body allows us to stretch deeper without injury. The term ‘vinyasa’ refers to the alignment of movement and breath, and turns static yoga postures into a dynamic flow.