WHY HATHA YOGA?
Hatha Yoga is a safe and effective style of Yoga, without any gimmicks, that can be practiced by all age groups and abilities
Most people will have read or heard about the positive effects of practicing Yoga and recently, there are regular press articles highlighting the various benefits.
Yoga is perceived as a means to develop healthy bodies, mental stability and correct breathing issues, indeed Doctors now regularly recommend taking up this practice.
However, there is Yoga, and then there is Yoga...
Numerous styles and offshoots have developed in the West since the initial surge of interest some years back. Many athletes, dancers and gymnasts have taken to teaching yoga after they have retired from their former careers, but such a physically demanding background means they are operating from a different perspective to the majority of us.
But where to start? & What type of yoga to look for?
Undoubtedly there are different types of yoga which might be attractive to some such as; a former gymnast would probably be attracted to one of the more extreme varieties, alternatively a person who works out regularly at the gym would probably go for a more dynamic form. However, all age groups can benefit from the benefits of Hatha Yoga due to the mental focus and the breath work (pranayama). Indeed, I have had athletes using my classes between seasons to work on their flexibility, and explore relaxation techniques.
To add to the quandary, the pictures regularly published to accompany these positive articles depict young beautiful people in improbable postures and that can have a discouraging effect on most of us and even lead many people to believe that yoga is not for them.
When I tell people I'm a qualified Yoga teacher they will invariably ask me if I can I put my foot behind my ear or sit in the Lotus position (to sit cross-legged with the feet placed on the opposing thighs) or commonly I'm asked if can I stand on my head....The reply to 2 out of 3 of these examples is “No” and I have no expectations that my response will ever be any different!
However, I can still practice and enjoy the enormous benefits of Yoga and it should be understood that you don't need to be able to accomplish incredible physical feats in order to reap the benefits and develop a healthy strong flexible body with improved balance and enjoy the considerable mental benefits. (see also the mindfulness meditation page).
Hatha yoga can be practiced and enjoyed by all age groups and abilities. I regularly have mothers and daughters attending my classes together. Each individual within the group is encouraged to work to their own safe limitations (or comfort zones). Also, our bodies impose their own safe limitations to protect the integrity of our joints, by not over stretching ligaments and tendons whose purpose is to protect those very joints.
It is not widely known that long slow stretching encourages the brain to release endorphins, the substance that creates that happy feel good factor and is also our body’s own built-in powerful pain killer, lessening the need to 'pop a pill', which is increasingly becoming the answer to most ailments in the West today.
Hatha yoga has deep roots going way back in time. The word translates from the Sanskrit as 'Sun & Moon'. It denotes balance or harmony within our daily lives uniting body and mind.
Within the Traditional Yoga Association® framework (as opposed to some other schools) the focus is continually drawn to the relationship between the mind, body movement and the breath. This is what creates the mental space experienced after practice.
In the Traditional Yoga Association® each teacher is given an extensive comprehensive training in all aspects of teaching traditional yoga. But unlike some schools, we are then actively encouraged to go away and develop our own individual style whilst following the school’s guidelines & principles.
I am delighted to be able to share with my students the experiences this ancient system has to offer us in the West in the 21st century. With our busy lifestyles, Hatha Yoga offers a silent place to listen to the messages our bodies are endeavouring to tell us. Which quite often we are either too busy to hear or just not accustomed to tuning into.
Why not give it a try & invest 90 minutes of your time to discover the amazing benefits!
Yoga can offer us the power to heal emotions, and surrender older entrenched restrictive patterns of tension