THE PHILOSOPHY OF YOGA
Yoga is a system originating in India dating back thousands of years.
It was codified by a sage named Patanjali around 250 BCE.
In the middle ages The Hatha Yoga Pradipika appeared. This text develops asana, pranayama and meditation still further.
Yoga comes out of Hinduism as it is one of its philosophies. However, in itself it has no secular/religious connections, indeed it enriches any spiritual path.
Hatha yoga is the most popular type of yoga in the West (although lots of variants are arising now). Other established types are Iyengar, Asthanga and more recently Bikram).
Hatha yoga is practised physically in the West to promote stability, energy, flexibility and relaxation. Mentally it promotes concentration, balance & tranquillity. These are the qualities that we tend to look for after we reach a certain age, or stage in our lives when we look to our own wellbeing.
The word Hatha is a compound of the Sanskrit words: Ha & Tha meaning sun and moon. It therefore signifies balance within our minds, bodies, and our lives. The asanas were offered as a means to prepare one’s body for long periods of sitting in meditation in order to achieve enlightenment (Samadhi for Hindus & for Buddhists: Nirvana.) This was the aim of all practising yogis at that time.
Asanas, which are the name of the postures we practice + breathwork, are central to life. Asanas came to be named after: the animals the postured tend to imitate such as pigeon, cat, sphinx, down/dog, up/dog, locust, cobra etc.
Or, famous sages (wise men), or the shapes evoked such as Warrior/ Virabadras Triangle/ Trikonasana etc. these are the original Sanskrit words.
Asanas translated from the ancient Sanskrit language means “to explore movement” & the awareness of movement - any movement.
Asanas train awareness. The side benefits from this are huge: benefits to health by way of strength & suppleness. Furthermore, medical conditions can diminish accordingly.
The TYA style of yoga is very traditional and offers further benefits by training and focussing one’s awareness. This will become apparent during the sessions.
We focus our awareness on, amongst other things, our breath. The type of breathing we adopt can directly affect our vitality, as there is a close relationship with the mind. We cannot directly alter our heart beat, but we can change the duration and depth of our breath. The slower regulation of the breath will, in its turn, encourage the heart, which is a muscle in itself, to relax and slow down. Breathwork can dramatically benefit asthmatics, and people with hypertension/ high blood pressure.