About Yoga

Yoga       Origin - Sanskrit "yuj" or "yug"       Meaning - to yoke, or unite

Originating around the 5th or 6th century BCE in India, yoga includes a range of physical, mental and spiritual practices with the common aim of uniting the body, mind and spirit.

Much modern interpretation of yoga is taken from the Yoga Sutra by Patanjali, written 2000 years ago.  The yoga sutras, a collection of short philosophical statements, broke yoga down in to eight "limbs" or ashtanga (ashta=eight, anga=limb), each of which provides guidance over an aspect of human life.  Of these, "asana", the physical practice to which the term yoga usually refers today, is just one of those limbs. Asana, or hatha yoga, is the third limb of yoga, concerned with the care of the physical body, through which we might develop discipline, concentration and stillness, necessary for meditation and spiritual growth.

The other seven limbs include pranayama (breath control) and dhyana (meditation).  More on the eight limbs can be found here.

 

Sarvanga       Origin - Sanskrit "sarva" and "anga"      Meaning - whole body, or all limbs

The name Sarvanga comes from the sanskrit “whole body” and reflects the all encompassing nature of yoga- a practice which engages every muscle, your mind and your spirit.   It also reflects my belief that yoga is a whole body-mind way of exercising, growing stronger, calmer and learning to be at ease with your body and your own self.

 

A strong mind and a strong body work well together, but neglect one and you may find the other doesn’t work quite so well either.  Yoga is a powerful way of realising that your body and mind are one, part of a single system that must learn to work in balance.  Engaging with this as we practice brings depth to our understanding of ourselves and our wellbeing and teaches us to respect the openness of our minds and the wisdom of our bodies. We learn to listen to ourselves, to move with greater ease and  give our minds the space to think clearly, we provide ourselves new and healthy ways of expressing our emotions.  We give ourselves space to relax.

 

Yoga asanas have many variations and modifications enabling yoga to be practice by almost any individual with their unique range of movement, and even with very limited movement, pranayama (breath work) and meditation can be wonderfully beneficial and accessible. 

 

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