What is yoga?
‘Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha,’
The stilling of the modifications of the mind is yoga.
Maharishi Patanjali, Yoga Sutras.
Yoga is a practice of physical, mental and spiritual activities that are designed to align the mind, body and spirit. This may start as an hour a week class but can develop into a general approach to life as lessons learnt on the matt are taken and used in daily activities. The series of physical activities are designed to connect the mind, body and spirit together in the present moment through breathing techniques allowing the practitioner to experience the present in its fullest form.
When mind, body and spirit are all aligned, present and functioning well we create a harmony within ourselves and feel in harmony with the world around us and it feels good. This is yoga. It can be experienced in scenarios other than during yoga practice for instance when a sportsperson talks about being the ball, when a musician is lost in the flow of their music; they are in harmony with what they are doing and their whole being is present, focussed and experiencing. Modern life bombards us with distractions and we often find our minds in different places to our body. A regular yoga practice gives us the opportunity to claim some time back to experience life in its purest form.
The physical side of the practice can build strength, flexibility, balance and improve posture. The more subtle practices, including breathing techniques and meditation, compliment the physical practice to calm the mind, improve focus and balance the energy within the body.
Classes will be a guide to yoga giving you the tools to tailor your own practice specifically to you and your body in order to counteract the effects of your lifestyle physically, mentally and emotionally; creating balance and deepening your conscious experience and self-awareness. It is this consciousness that makes yoga, yoga and not just exercise.
The practice of yoga is from India so many of the words used in yoga are Sanskrit words. It is not a religious practice. It is an experimental journey into the self and therefore no specific belief system is needed in order to take part in that journey.
Some key concepts
Prana is the ‘life force’ that permeates all reality. We connect to this life force through our breath. Pranayama is the practice of controlling the breath. These breathing techniques can be used to energise, relax, clear the mind, balance the body etc.
Classes include postures called asanas. Asanas align the body in a variety of ways building strength, increasing range of movement and balancing energy within the body. Each asana has a Sanskrit name and an English name, for example Adho Mukha Svanasana or downward facing dog.
Vinyasa means to ‘place in a special way’. Vinyasa is the movement which links one asana to another. By focussing on breath and movement we can turn the whole practice into a moving meditation.
At the end of each class the final asana is savasana (corpse pose). In this pose we relax and release tension from the body and bring ourselves into stillness for a deep relaxation.
Everyone can practice yoga
Each posture has a range of options to allow for different body types, strength and ranges of movement. Some people worry that they are not flexible enough to do yoga but yoga is for everyone. It isn’t a competition on who can tie themselves in the fanciest knot. How far you get into a pose does not matter. It is about feeling the intention of the posture and cultivating your conscious experience. Over time, with regular practice, you will find that your body changes and you are able to get further into the expression of the postures and this may be your personal goal. Similarly you may have days or times in your life where it is beneficial to come into a modification for a more restorative practice. Neither is good or bad as long as you are listening to your body, working with your breath and are cultivating your conscious awareness.
Benefits of Yoga
Here are a list of some of the benefits that people experience from a regular yoga practice:
o Improvements in strength, balance and flexibility
o A calmer mind
o Improved breathing
o Improved posture
o Improved emotional balance
o Reduced aches and pains
o Reduced injury risk
o A good support for sporting performance
o Improved sleep
Please see the student stories page for more personal accounts of the benefits that our students have found from practicing yoga.
Types of yoga
There are many different types of yoga. Vibha Yoga offers the following types of yoga:
A form of yoga in which one posture flows into another posture. There is no set sequence of moves and the postures practiced will vary from class to class. This form of yoga can easily be tailored to be more relaxing or more dynamic depending on your needs.
A passive practice which involves remaining in a posture for an extended length of time allowing a deep release of the body. This form of yoga works on deep connective tissue and is good for extending your range of movement.
Prenatal, postnatal and mum and baby
Yoga postures that are suitable and supportive to these special times.
Be on time
Please arrive at your class 5 to 10 minutes before the start time. This gives you time to set up your matt, discuss any issues with the teacher and settle into a calm state before the start of the class.
Yoga practice is a time out from other responsibilities. Please ensure all mobile phones are turned off or on silent so that they do not disturb you or the rest of the class.
Inform your teacher of any medical issues and injuries prior to starting the class to ensure that it is suitably modified to your needs.
The movements of yoga can sometimes cause the release of gas. Let’s face it, it happens. Although these interruptions can be amusing or embarrassing they are normal bodily functions that we all do. As we are all feeling very meditative and focussed on our own practice we will be undisturbed by these interruptions. It is advisable not to eat a heavy meal for 2 hours prior to your class to reduce the risk. A light stomach will also help you to be more receptive and present to your practice.
Frequently Asked Questions
What measures have you taken in response to the coronavirus?
Please see our coronavirus page for information on measures that have been taken and measures that we would like you to take.
Do I need to bring anything?
It’s a good idea to bring a bottle of water to keep yourself hydrated. All equipment is provided but if you have your own yoga matt and props that you would rather use please feel free to bring them. Blankets and cushions are useful for extra comfor as these will not be provided during the coronavirus outbreak.
What do I wear?
Wear comfortable clothes that you can move in freely. It is worth having a warm layer with you as you may need it as your body temperature drops during relaxation. Yoga is done barefoot but you may want to put some socks on during relaxation.
I would like to try yoga but worry that I am not flexible enough?
Yoga is for everyone. You do not have to be flexible to practice yoga. If you are tight in some areas a regular yoga practice will increase your flexibility. Each posture has a range of options to allow for different body types, strength and ranges of movement so you can find an option that suits you as you progress in your practice.
I have a medical condition can I do yoga?
Yoga is for everyone. There will always be options to allow you to find a yoga practice that will suit you. Please contact me directly to discuss your specific needs. It is essential that you fill out the registration form and provide it back to me prior to attending a class for the first time so that I can ensure that any issues you have are fully considered and the class you have booked on is suitable. Once you have joined a class it is important to keep me informed of any changes in medical conditions or injuries so that the class can be suitably modified to account for these.