“Yoga scittia vritti nirodhah” 

Yoga is the control and cessation of thought waves in the mind

YOGA

Yoga comes from a wide range of ancient Indian tradition, which has evolved over thousands of years, and is a practical method of bringing connectedness back into our lives. The concept of Yoga, according to the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, states that the goal of Yoga is to still the mind. Through learning how to control and cease the activities of the mind the practitioner is freed from mental attachments and can truly experience the fullness of the present moment. There are different types of Yoga that offer slightly different theory, methods and goals. Yoga is for everyone and always has been!

 

I currently provide Yoga Therapy; and teach Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Hatha and Restorative Yoga; and Yoga Nidra Relaxation and Pranayama (Breathing Techniques). I specialise in Yoga Therapy and Vinyasa Yoga classes.

 

Yoga can be used remedially to relieve tight muscles and associated aches and tensions; increase mobility, flexibility and circulation; realign the body; calm the mind and relieve stress, anxiety and depression; balance the energy channels across the body warding off any disease. The breathing exercises or Pranayama are also a very important part of any Yogic practice and calm and relax the practitioner.

"Good alignment = Good therapy"

Yoga Therapy sessions are offered, which is a practice of Yoga to clear discomfort or pain in the body. This includes a full body assessment, focusing on correct body alignment and the biomechanic condition, and includes the teaching of and performance of asanas (postures) in modified and intelligent ways when one has injuries, pain or physical limitations and/or using the Yoga practice to prepare for or rehabilitate from surgery. 

People often assume Yoga Therapy involves restorative practices, but in fact it can be very active, strengthening, and dynamic. Practicing Yoga therapeutically is to become familiar with anatomy and alignment. Each sequence of Yoga postures given to the practitioner is tailored to them and given after an interview, assessment and body alignment. Sequences can and will change over time depending on the clients' specific needs. Sessions take from one hour upwards.

YOGA THERAPY

HATHA YOGA

Hatha simply refers to the practice of physical yoga postures (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama) which help to align and bring peace to the body, mind and spirit and prepare your body for deeper spiritual practices such as meditation. 

The first substantial writing on Hatha yoga was written in the 14th century, in a well-known text called Hatha Yoga Pradipika. It looks in detail at the various elements of this yoga: asana (pose), shatkarma (6 yogic purification techniques for the body), pranayama (breathing techniques), mudra (gesture of the body), bandha (internal body locks), and Samadhi (a deep state of meditative consciousness where the mind becomes still).  

According to the original texts, there are three purposes of Hatha yoga:

  1. The total purification of the body

  2. The complete balancing of the physical, mental and energetic fields

  3. The awakening of purer consciousness through which one ultimately connects with the divine by engaging in practices rooted in the physical body.

Hatha yoga, in its origins, is very much tied to tantric practices, seeking spiritual development in the ordinary experiences of life and using the sensuous experience of the body to cultivate the balanced integration of body, mind and spirit and connecting with the Divine. Hatha yoga offers a way to experience this integration along a path involving the specific practices that purify the body, calm the mind, and open the heart.

 

You will probably not build up a sweat in Hatha yoga but you will end up leaving the class feeling longer, looser and more relaxed. Unlike other forms of yoga like Ashtanga yoga, Hatha yoga does not focus on the flow of the movement from one pose to the other. Rather, it focuses on each pose independently, so you an really build up a strong knowledge of correct posture alignments.

BENEFITS OF HATHA YOGA:

  • Maintaining a healthy body

  • Stress reliever

  • Flow of energy or prana

  • Improves flexibility

  • Builds muscle strength and improves balance

  • Helps you focus

  • Increases blood flow

  • Makes you happier

ASHTANGA YOGA 

Ashtanga Yoga is a dynamic and vigorous form of Hatha yoga that was passed down through ancient gurus to Sri Krishnamacharya. He later passed it onto Sri K. Pattabhi Jois who taught it to thousands of students in Mysore, India and popularised it in the West disseminating it globally from 1964. Ashtanga Yoga can be characterised by its use of 'vinyasa', the synchronisation of breath with movement, and its energetic, dynamic form. It is more strenuous than other systems of yoga. An Ashtanga class is effective in flushing away non-constructive self-practice habits, such as a wandering mind, losing the connection with the breath, or fidgeting between postures.

 

PRIMARY SERIES

Ashtanga Yoga is a system of yoga that consists of the Primary, Intermediate and Advanced Series of pre-defined sequences. The Primary series must be mastered before taking on the other Series where the postures often become more advanced. But the Primary series is a yoga system practitioners can stick with and use for many years or a lifetime.

 

The Primary Series of Ashtanga yoga is known in Old Indian Sanskrit as “Yoga Chikitsa” which means yoga therapy. It is a healing process of cleansing and toning for your body, mind and the senses. The understanding in yoga is that there exists within the body a complex network of energy pathways known as “nadis”. The energy that flows through these nadis is an unseen life force called “prana”. When the nadis get blocked prana cannot flow freely through them and the body, mind and senses become blocked, unbalanced and unhealthy. This yoga practice cleans and clears the nadis allowing prana to flow and energise all of the body. With fewer obstacles to confront, the body, mind and senses are allowed a more fertile environment in which to function thereby operating at the utmost level of efficiency. The postures are arranged in a time-tested sequence designed to specifically align the body and strengthen the nervous system. Many practitioners of Ashtanga yoga have found the Primary Series to be an invaluable tool to assist them in their healing process, whether it is mental or physical. With any healing process you must be patient; allow your practice time to mature and you will see the results!

 

THE FIVE ELEMENTS

Ashtanga yoga combines just five elements: vinyasa (movement and breath), asanas (postures), drishtis (gaze points), bandhas (locks) and ujjayi breath (a breathing technique). Ashtanga yoga begins to lead the practitioner towards enlightenment through starting the eight-fold path through its initial stages of purifying the practitioner.

​BENEFITS OF ASHTANGA YOGA:

        BODY

  • Facilitates faster physical results than other system of yoga: transforms the physical body to become strong, flexible, toned and elongated

  • Creates physical lightness, increasing lean muscle mass and reducing body weight

  • Helps to regulate weight because it maintains a balanced metabolism

  • Stretches muscles lengthways causing fat to be eliminated around the cells, reducing cellulite

  • Increases muscle strength

  • Helps maintain good posture

  • Improves joint movements

  • Increases the health of the spine and the whole nervous system

  • Improves blood circulation and cardio health and improves the productivity of all the bodily organs

  • Improves respiration, energy and vitality releasing energy blockages throughout the body making you look more youthful  

  • Causes the student to physically heat up and sweat out toxins, purifying and re-energising their body

MIND

  • The practitioner learns to control the mind and cease the chatter 

  • The synchronised breathing with movement calms the mind dissolving anxiety 

  • Depression, anxiety and stress are relieved

  • Mental balance, contentment and happiness develop

  • It induces a high level of concentration and mental clarity

SPIRIT

  • Yoga becomes a spiritual practice when there is focus on the breath and mental attachments are forgotten

  • Self-realisation transpires

VINYASA YOGA

While some people believe vinyasa means “movement with breath”, vinyasa is actually Sanskrit for “to place in a special way”.

The word predates yoga as a physical practice. You could “vinyasa” anything, from how you completed a project to how you hiked a certain path. Vinyasa was about mindfulness in the movements and decisions you made.

Vinyasa yoga, is characterised by continuous movement linked with the breath. It is in a Vinyasa class where there will most likely be Sun Salutations and “flowing”. A “flow” is usually defined as “breath with movement.” For example, you might be in a seated position and instructed to inhale your arms up, then exhale your arms down, repeating this for a few breaths. This movement is a type of “flow”.

 

Vinyasa yoga started in the early 20th century, first as Ashtanga yoga, created by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in India. Since then, it has evolved and expanded across the globe and into many different styles and varieties.

While Ashtanga (also known as Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga) is known for very strict rules and guidelines, general Vinyasa classes can be a little more free-form. Ashtanga yoga has set pose sequences (known as “series”) that do not change. However, Vinyasa yoga can be varied and change what poses are practiced when, and if at all. Vinyasa yoga can be very creative for the teacher and student; an changing exploration of body, mind and spirit. In Vinyasa yoga, emphasis is placed not just on the poses themselves, but the transitions into and out of each posture. Also, you typically do not stay in the poses for long in a Vinyasa yoga class. Vinyasa yoga is considerably more movement based than practices like Hatha yoga.

BENEFITS OF VINYASA YOGA:

  • Excellent for stress relief and reducing anxiety

  • Particularly, practices that incorporate a "moving meditation" have a profound and positive impact on your emotional and mental stress

  • Cardio workout so raises heart rate

  • Improved circulation

  • Improves flexibility and mobility

  • Gives you greater emotional stability and enhances your mood

  • Builds muscle strength and improves balance

  • Helps you become mindful and present

  • Increases blood flow

  • Enhances your core stability

  • Weight loss

  • Encourages better sleep

  • Improves your posture 

  • Increases your energy levels

  • Relaxes and calms your mind

RESTORATIVE YOGA

Restorative yoga is a contemporary yoga practice that is all about slowing down and opening your body through passive stretching. If you take a restorative class, you may hardly move at all, doing just a few postures in the course of an hour. It is a completely different experience than most contemporary yoga. During the long holds of restorative yoga, your muscles are allowed to relax deeply. It is a unique feeling because props, rather than your muscles, can be used to support your body. Restorative classes are very mellow, making them a good complement to more active practices, and an excellent antidote to stress. Stillness is a powerful practice.

BENEFITS OF RESTORATIVE YOGA:

  • Improves flexibility

  • Promotes a healthy lifestyle, increasing energy levels and wellbeing

  • Encourages the transition to regular meditation as it is a supported meditation

  • Promotes mindfulness

  • Calms and gives your nervous system downtime, reducing stress

  • Stretches muscles and opens the body

  • Improves flexibility and mobility

  • Gives you greater emotional stability and enhances your mood

  • Helps to prevent type 2 diabetes

  • Boosts the immune system

  • Supports women with breast cancer

  • Improves sleep

  • Encourages better sleep

  • Improves your posture

  • Helps you breathe better

  • Relaxes and calms your mind

  • Helps reduce symptoms of depression

  • Improves capacity for healing

  • Develops qualities of compassion and understanding towards others and self

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