What is Yoga?:
The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word yoga is “yoke”, “to join”, “to unite”, or “to attach”.
Yoga classes offer students postures and movements to stretch, strengthen and flex the body, to develop breath awareness, to relax and sometimes to meditate. Some classes may be low impact while others can be very demanding.
The practice of yoga helps:
– to co-ordinate the breath, mind and body,
– to encourage balance, both internally and externally,
– to increase feelings of relaxation and ease,
– To improve fitness and stamina.
Hatha Yoga or Yoga of Postures
Hatha Yoga is the most popular branch of Yoga in the West. There are many styles within this path – Iyengar, Integral, Astanga, Kripalu, and Jiva Mukti to name a few. In Sanskrit, the word hatha literally means “willful” or “forceful”. Indeed each pose in a hatha yoga practice challenges the yogi and involves the will of disciplining mind, breath, and body to relax into it. The symbolic meaning of the word, however, is “sun and moon”, reconciliating the extremes.
A classical but vigorous approach style of yoga with the focus upon optimizing each asana using universal principles of alignment.
For your first session, the practitioner will ask you to fill a health screening form in order to identifiy any contraindication or adjustements to the session.
Feel free to discuss with her more specifically any condition you arel unsecure about.
You need to wear lose clothing in order to perform easily the poses.
Mats are provided but feel free to bring yours if you wish.
The session might start with some grounding and centring relaxation and will follow with a series of yoga postures.
During the session you are always free to skip poses, if necessary.
Is it safe?
It is normal to feel some muscle soreness the day after your session.
Some people may become more aware of their body stiffness as they get used to different postures.
Be sure to check with your doctor before trying yoga if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, or a recent back injury, as you would with any other physical activity. Moreover some postures are not recommended during pregnancy
As with any physical activity, yoga may lead to an injury if not done properly.
Make sure that you report to the instructor before the session any condition/pregnancy on the health screen template provided to you.
Be sure to see your doctor if any exercises cause headaches, muscle cramps, dizziness, or severe pain in your back, legs, or joints.
A bit of history :
Yoga is the oldest physical discipline in existence known to humankind, and scholars traced yoga beginnings in Stone Age.
Later in the Vedas 1500-500 BCE contains the oldest known Yogic teachings, called Vedic Yoga.
Later again, around 500 B.C., the Bhagavad-Gita or Lord’s Song was created and this is currently the oldest known Yoga scripture, devoted entirely to Yoga.
Ancient Yogis had a belief that in order for man to be in harmony with himself and his environment, he has to integrate the body, the mind, and the spirit. For these three to be integrated, emotion, action, and intelligence must be in balance. The Yogis formulated a way to achieve and maintain this balance and it is done through ASANA (body postures), PRANAYAMA (Breathing techniques), and Meditation – the three main Yoga structures.
Yoga is mostly aimed at fitness and general body maintenance, nonetheless it can be used as a therapeutic tool as studies show that yoga may be of some help the following conditions:
Anxiety and stress
Arthritis — osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
Cancer, as an adjunct therapy to reduce stress and strengthen the immune system. One study of 68 breast cancer patients found that those who practiced yoga has less anxiety and depression compared to those who didn’t. Even the DNA damage from radiotherapy was slightly less in the yoga group compared to the control group
Chronic back pain
Heart disease, by lowering cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure, lessening stress, and reducing the frequency and severity of chest pain (when combined with a healthy diet)
High blood pressure
Irritable bowel syndrome
However, yoga does not pretend to replace mainstream medicine.
Patients with a condition should always been seen by their GP or consultant and yoga remains so far an adjunct tool.