It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about yoga, but yoga is for everyone. Yoga is not exclusively about the asanas, or the physical poses associated with the practice. The practice of yoga encompasses a variety of pillars, including:
- Pranayama (breathing)
- Dhyana (meditation)
- Yamas (codes of social conduct)
- Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses)
- Dharana (concentration)
- Samadhi (bliss)
Together with the asanas, these pillars make up a holistic practice which assists with strengthening both the mind and body.
In celebration of this ancient practice, we talk to some of our beloved yogis to find out what yoga is really about, and what it means to them.
I love using the physical practice to bring me into my body so that my thoughts can start to soften, and I can hear the messages of my inner world. The body listens to the mind, and the mind listens to the body. When we are present with everything, we gain an awareness of our true self.
I love power yoga; the challenging aspect of the practice helps students to feel what they’re capable of and helps them to shine. Shine in your practice and you can shine through your whole life!
The whole is the goal in yoga. Yoga practice gives me whole-body functional strength and mobility. Yoga gives me breath awareness and the ability to regulate my response to the events of my life and to be equanimous rather than reactive. Yoga gives me clarity and peace in my mind and the experience of connection with others.
Yoga offers a sense of being grounded, light, and present, finding steadiness and ease moment to moment, breath by breath. This is what I hope that my students gain from attending my classes.
Yoga, to me, is finding contentment in the good, the bad and the ugly. My practice enabled me to find my inner joy again, a joy we all have; life just gets piled on top of it and makes it hard to find sometimes.
Yoga brings connection to my entire being; it allows me to stay in a healthy state both in body and mind, helps me to be more balanced and increases my appreciation and enjoyment of life.
My yoga practice began when all of the ordinary things in my life started to wear me down. I started as every beginner does – a bit sceptical and hanging out at the end for deep relaxation. What helped me regain energy and momentum was taking the time and care to slow down and breath on the mat.
The most profound benefits of yoga are those that you take away with you off the mat – the ability to overcome physical, mental and emotional challenges during class, that gives you the confidence to communicate and live more authentically in your day to day life.