What is Yoga?

photo 2Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind ‘yogascittavrittinirodhaha ’ according to the great Indian sage Patanjali, author of the first written texts on yoga. (Sutra 1, 200 BC).

Yoga is about developing self-awareness, a greater sense of connection to the body and an understanding of the link between the body and the mind.

It is also the art of self-transcendence, of moving beyond limiting beliefs of who we are to an experiential understanding of our true or essential nature: beyond body, mind and emotions.

It is a practice of mindfulness and connecting to a true sense of who we are by accessing a sense of presence- through conscious breathing, movement and meditation.

Yoga means ‘union’, with the Absolute, with our true nature, with the divine. This is facilitated through many different practices including asana (physical postures), pranayama (breathwork), bhakti (devotional chanting) and dhyana/meditation (single pointed focus of the mind).

The most common form of yoga that we see in the West is the practice of physical asanas or postures. The aim of doing these is to create greater flexibility and openness in the body in order to prepare it for sitting with ease in order to access states of meditation. There are many benefits to performing the asanas including improved posture, concentration, relaxation, enhanced function of all the bodily systems, increased clarity, joy and spiritual connection. Additionally the practise of yoga helps to free the flow of energy or ‘prana’ through the ‘nadis’ or subtle energy channels in the body.

Through meditation we connect with inner peace, spaciousness, bliss- we connect with the ultimate reality or truth of our Being- which is wholeness, perfection, contentment, and cannot truly be described with words. In India this is sometimes referred to as ‘Sat Chit Ananda’ or ‘Brahman’. It is an invaluable tool for centering and nourishing ourselves in the midst of the complex and chaotic lives we often lead. It is also a wonderful way of connecting to our inner sense of knowing or intuition so that we can act spontaneously in ways that are in alignment with what is really true to us.

Lioba offers a yoga class that seeks, through alignment, breath and mindful movement to bring about greater flexibility, openness, and joy.

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Words fail to convey the total value of yoga. It has to be experienced” – BKS Iyengar