Yoga is more than a physical exercise. Yoga means “union” and leads to an integration of mind and body.
It facilitates change based on the principles of reflection, integrity and awakening. Central to the practice is vision and transformation. Hatha yoga is traditionally made up of asana (posture) practice, pranayama and bandha/mudra work. Often the asana practice (the physical practice) is referred to as hatha yoga and there are now a multitude of different styles of hatha yoga being taught. These include:
This style of yoga was developed by B.K.S. Iyengar in India. It is a system of yoga where some time is spent in each asana (pose) and a precise alignment of the body is focussed on. Often supports eg, bolsters, blocks, chairs etc. are used, to help people work towards achieveing the final shape of the pose.
Iyengar teachers have to complete a rigorous two year programme to become introductory teachers. In order to be accepted on to the teacher training programme they need to have been attending Iyengar yoga classes for a minimum of 3 years and to be competant in the basic asanas and have a good understanding of the yoga system.
This is a vigorous yoga practiced using the pillars of the vinyasa flow style. Each class focuses on a theme, which is explored through Sanskrit chanting, readings, referenes to yoga scriptures, music, asana sequencing, pranyama and meditation.
It is a vigorously physical and intellectually stimulating practice combined iwth an equally strong foundation in the ancient spiritual texts of yoga. Classes can be physically intense. An open class welcomes all levels of practitioners as the teacher gives the variations according to the student’s expereince. The asana practice itself demands that the practitioners come face to face with their physical, mental and emotional limitations.
The name Jivamukti means “liberation while living”. It is taken from the Sanskrit term “Jivanmuktah” which used to describe the state of Ultimate freedom or Higher realisation. “Jiva” means “individual soul” and “mukti” means “liberation”. This method of yoga was created by David Life and Sharon Gannon in 1986. They named this yoga “Jivamukti” because they wanted the student to be reminded of the ultimate aim of the practice: ultimate spiritual awareness.
Yoga flow / Vinyasa flow
In this style of yoga, movement is synchronised with the breath, so the class can feel like a moving meditation. A general level of fitness is required as the movements can be relatively fast between postures and this is maintained throughout the class.
Yin yoga is a slow form of yoga where the asanas (poses) are held for several minutes. It originated in China and focuses on improving the flow of qi through the body. It is quite a meditative form of yoga and aims to cultivate awareness of the inner silence.
Yoga for older bodies
Anyone is welcome to attend this class but it is a class where older people can feel confident to come and along and learn / practice yoga in a supportive environment.