Learn more about Yoga

There is a magic, an alchemy that occurs – a sense of oneness, peace and indescribable bliss that you can find when practising yoga, especially during the relaxation (savasana) at the end of a session…If only those people who ask me ‘so what’s so great about yoga – it’s just stretching isn’t it?’ could experience this – then they would understand!

For me personally, it has added such a richness and depth to my life. Before my current incarnation as a yoga teacher, when I was living in London and doing a 9-6pm desk job (this was in the late ‘90’s!), my regular weekly yoga class (my eternal gratitude to you Nirlipta) became like an oasis in a desert to me. Not to say that my life then was dry and arid but you get my drift…It just made such a difference to how I felt – and how you feel changes everythingYoga helps me to experience life more fully and deeply.

With practice you begin to get glimpses of this vast limitless state of inner peace which is our true underlying essential nature and tends to be covered up with all this ‘stuff’ (name, personality, job, family etc) we tend to identify with.  Rather than being something to strive towards, it is a means of dissolving the layers that have built up around ourselves. So then we can come to the realisation of our essential wholeness and oneness with the Universe.

Yoga means Union (the Sanskrit root Yuj means to yoke or to join).   When we can go beyond this limiting identification with the physical body, the mind or emotions – this sense of a separate ‘I’ to experience ourselves as the indivisible pure consciousness and energy of the Universe and we realise the fullest potential of our divine nature – this is the bliss of the mind returning to its Source.

 I always recommend one of my first yoga books, by Erich Schiffmann who describes it thus – ‘Instead of identifying with and being a wave, separate on the surface of the ocean we simply become the vast majestic ocean itself…’ It is this taste or glimpse of something bigger than just the limited sense of self – an inner peace, stillness, oneness which is the experience that touches and draws people in.

And it doesn’t matter how flexible you are or whether you can touch your toes – this is not a barrier to practicing yoga. It is not so much what you can do but how you do it – it’s the quality of your attention and working at your personal ‘edge’ that counts. 

I encourage my students to understand that it is a waste of time being competitive and comparing themselves to others. You can forget about what everyone else is doing, put aside all the stresses and ‘stuff’ of life we usually identify with and just focus on yourself, deeply experiencing your true subtle eternal self and just be free. How liberating!

Everyone seeks happiness – so why is it so elusive? It is the re-union of our outer persona (ego) with our inner self or spirit that is the essence of happiness. It is this deep need or instinct for wholeness which is addressed by the science of yoga.

The yogic texts tell us that happiness is a state that already exists within, but we have forgotten or lost it. The activities, careers and relationships that we pursue are an attempt to regain a state that we already know. In looking externally, searching desperately outside of ourselves (using drugs, food, sex etc) for this happiness, we miss the treasure that is actually found inside.

Our everyday rational mind,  essential for our day to day survival, gets in the way and prevents us from realizing our true essence as Spirit - our deep connection with the Universe.

So why have we lost or forgotten our natural state? The ancient Yogi’s have always known, and modern psychology is now discovering that memories and experiences are not only held in our mind. Memories and past experiences (impressions) both emotional, psychological and physical are lodged in different areas all over the body. These impressions and held tensions, resistance and fear are locked into our muscles and tissues and unless released affect our state of being in every moment.

Hatha Yoga postures help release these impressions and blockages in the physical body and the mind by stretching and creating a focus that allows us to let go of the past - to be truly free and realise our fullest potential as vibrant beings of light and love.




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