Yoga is concerned with the health, strength and flexibility of body and mind. Through Yoga practice we learn ever more about ourselves and how best to work and live a good positive life in a world which is constantly challenging us to increase our powers of assimilation.
The word ‘Yoga’ means ‘to yoke’ or ‘to bind back to’. It is a yoking of the individual to the very Source of our being. It is a way of letting go of all that is irrelevant to our primary purpose of development, and aims to take away the barriers which keep us from gaining consciousness of the innermost Self.
Hatha Yoga is often referred to as the more physical aspect of Yoga. ‘Ha’ means ‘Sun’ and ‘Tha’ means ‘Moon’. By practicing Hatha Yoga we are bringing into harmonious relation the various forces within our being. Through our posture work we do not tire the body with exercise, but stimulate vitality through integration and a growing sense of purpose and direction.
Most classical Yoga postures are quite simple in form, and many of them can be practiced by anyone no matter what shape, size, age or ability. The various postures, when practised slowly, consciously, and with good intent, not only work to correct any misalignments (hence its reputation for being good for the spine) but also give a feeling of positive well-being which has its beneficial effect in every aspect of life.
In our Yoga practice we are training ourselves to gain the one-pointed attention that prevents energy from being scattered. This focussed attention is gained through posture work and includes relaxation. If we are to realise our full potential we must be able to balance tension with relaxation. The word ‘lax’ means the same as ‘lux’ or ‘luc’ meaning ‘light’. To re-lax means consciously letting go of those tensions, those inertias that lock us into unconscious reactivity. Through Yoga practice, we become quicker in our responses without the need to rush about.
Yoga helps to remove excess tension not only through posture work, but also through correct breathing practice. Good breath control increases vitality and is of benefit at any time of day to overcome tiredness and give a feeling of positivity and good health. It is also a good preparation for meditation. Meditation helps us to release from attachment to worries and concerns of everyday life. A mind which is cluttered with too many thoughts about past or future events cannot be open to greater understanding. As the ‘clutter’ subsides through concentrated meditative practice, the whole being is transformed and we develop in our practice from meditation to contemplation. In contemplation, energies which were previously unassimilable by the gross organism become operative within one’s being. It is a process of refinement, and a willingness for the development of potential of all beings.
A study group meet regularly to explore yoga and its application in everyday life.
Our Yoga studies and practice include: