Yoga is breath
Yoga is balance
Yoga is harmony
Yoga is movement
Yoga is stillness
Yoga is an evenness of mind
A peace that is ever the same
From the Upanishads – an ancient Sanskrit text
Yoga was first developed in India several thousand years ago by highly evolved sages, or rishis, as a means of gaining knowledge of oneself and one’s relationship with the world around. The word yoga in sanskrit (an ancient Indian language) means union.It implies perfect harmony of body, mind and spirit. At a physical level it implies glowing health. At a mental level it implies the harmonious integration of the personality and the corresponding elimination of psychological ‘complexes’. At the level of the soul yoga implies union of the ‘little self’ with the greater Self, of the ego with the vastness of cosmic awareness and of the individual’s soul with its infinite Divine source.
There are many different forms of yoga. The most accessible method for the Western student is Hatha yoga, which takes the physical body as its starting point. It consists of purposefully directed bodily movements and postures – asana. These direct life force into all parts of the body – each muscle, joint, gland and nerve fibre, making the body a conscious and obedient instrument.
At the physical level, yoga can give relief from countless ailments. The practice of the postures strengthens the body and creates a feeling of well-being. Yoga sharpens the intellect, aids concentration, steadies the emotions and encourages a caring concern for others. The practice of breathing techniques calms the mind. Yoga philosophy sets life in perspective. In the realms of the spiritual, yoga brings awareness and the ability to be still and through meditation inner peace may be found.
Yoga is a practical philosophy involving every aspect of a persons being. It promotes the evolution of the individual through self-discipline and self-awareness.
Anyone, irrespective of age, health, circumstances of life and religion can practise yoga.