Are you already a yoga convert? Have you ‘soaked up’ enough to feel some benefit… but still wonder what it’s all about?
I hope this blog will help to clarify a few things for all of us.
As a teacher, I’m able to observe how people respond in class, and how their experience of yoga influences their lives. I’ve been doing this for many years.
People seem to get the most from yoga when it’s clear and simple – when complicated, it doesn’t seem to help that much.
Being bendy and clever is irrelevant – it’s just not necessary to understand all the ins and outs, or to be able to touch your toes.
We come to know what yoga is and does when we start to personally feel its healing help.
We all appreciate that yoga is a very very old thing, and for many, from a distant culture. But basically it all boils down to simple personal experiences.
For most, the journey starts on a yoga mat. Irrespective of the style of yoga, it’s often on the mat that we start to appreciate its practical help in everyday life.
Yoga is commonly seen as one of the six major philosophies from the Hindu tradition… Hindu in its broad sense, meaning originating from a culture around the ancient Indus valley (hence the name India).
It has evolved from a rich and colourful tradition where lines are blurred between science, medicine and spirituality.
The words ‘whole’, ‘hale’, ‘heal’ and ‘holy’ all share a root with the Sanskrit word ‘yoga’, which implies to yoke, or to harness together.
The Sanskrit word ‘hatha’ can be interpreted as the breath of the sun (ha) and of the moon (tha) or any similar opposite polarities, such as male/female, light/dark, hot/cold, hard/soft.
Hatha yoga then, is the integration into a well and balanced whole.
Hatha yoga is a physical and sensory practice, because we live in the material world. And we can soak up its benefits from experience, without having to know all the history and background.
Am I wrong to think that whatever our roots, we’re all essentially pilgrims…? all searching for a way to live our transient human lives in a volatile world?
Yoga is a wonderful multi-tool and medicine box to help guide our experiences, to better manage ourselves.
Yoga helps keep me more joyously connected to the world – and less frightened of it! Teaching is just sharing this healing help. Yoga is an aid towards complete well-ness, because what happens within a person affects their function as a whole, and their behaviour affects those around them… and that influence then continues to ripple out into the wider world.
An National Health Service media unit came to film a yoga class in a club where I teach. Their aim was to promote health through self-reliance. Of course we were all pleased to be of help. Here it is… have a look yourself. X