Over the past decade the yoga industry has boomed in the west, but did you know that yoga has roots that date back as far as 5000BC and is a lot more than just the physical postures you practice? In fact, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Karma Yoga are more ancient forms of yoga with little or no physical posturing. Even in the classical approach of Hatha Yoga, which most modern styles are based upon, the physical practice is just one of the eight limbs. The physical aspect of yoga was developed as a vehicle for meditation and self enquiry. The repertoire of hatha yoga prepared the body, and particularly the nervous system, for stillness, creating the necessary physical strength and stamina that allowed the mind to remain calm. The word “yoga” in Sanskrit translates as “to join” or “union” and can therefore be considered a practice that aims to connect the mind, body and soul, perhaps even a sense of oneness with all creation. Developed in ancient India, the path of yoga guides you into a state where you can still the mind into the presence, and ultimately move you towards reaching enlightenment.
Today, our modern lifestyle’s benefit more than ever from a practice of yoga.
- It teaches us how to effectively manage stress naturally and holistically
- As an all inclusive practice, it removes barriers such as background, race, ethnicity, age and language, promoting peace and harmony
- The physical practice keeps the internal organs functioning properly by increasing oxygen and blood flow as well as promoting healthy bones and joints
- Encourages a practice of meditation that leads to self awareness, acceptance and contentment with life as it is
On Friday 21st June we recognise International Yoga Day, a day in which Yogi’s and Yogini’s share and celebrate the many mental, physical and spiritual benefits of a yoga practice. The day encourages communities around the world to ‘unite’ in their practice, with a world record of 35,985 people from 84 different nations practicing together on the very first International Yoga Day in Rajpath.
“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. This tradition is 5000 years old. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.” -Narendra Modi (UN General Assembly)
As a way of recognising this powerful practice that has played an incredibly influential role in my life, I offer you my favourite YouTube yoga vids as well as a special meditation.
For when you want a challenging flow, the Heart Alchemy Power Yoga series are a great set of classes to explore. These classes got me through many tough days when I was first setting up my business and I am so grateful. Michelle pushes you on the mat so that you can find strength off the mat. Find courage and take your practice to the next level in this challenging and invigorating power yoga workout.
I know how difficult it can be to find the time to fit in a full 60 minute class which is why I am a huge fan of Annie Clarke's channel which offers short classes designed for every mood and theme. They're also a great way to find inspiration if you like to create your own flow but don't know where to start.
Ah my two favourite things, yin yoga and affirmations! Give yourself the time and space to settle into this deliciously nourishing practice. In each pose you are offered one affirmation which you are encouraged to internally repeat. Notice how the statement makes you feel and if it creates any resistance.
And as promised, a special treat for you - my very first YouTube video. This is something that I have wanted to do for a very long time but have resisted telling myself I don't have the space or the time. Worrying about what other people might think or say. But I heard an amazing quote the other day by Brene Brown and it has really inspired me to put myself out there a little more: "Putting yourself out there to be vulnerable is scary, but not as frightening as getting the end of your life and thinking what if". So I hope you enjoy and any feedback, good or bad, is most welcome 🙂
I hope you find a way to bring a little Yoga into your life today.
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