If yoga is new to you, it can be quite confusing maybe even daunting. So we put together a crash course in this fine life art so that the words used in this website and other yoga pages feel more accessible and a little less intimidating.
Yoga is a way to live, a way to become aware of and understand our tendencies, mental physical and emotional. It is also a way to learn how to move ourselves in the direction we feel it is more useful to live by, towards a more peaceful, loving way of experiencing the ups and downs we meet on our life journey. It is a way towards self-discovery.
Yoga roots itself in the understanding that nothing IS by itself. It is a subject to how we view it. The Buddhist doctrine give it a useful descriptive name; emptiness. Meaning, everything is empty until you give it value. How we view it, which value we give it, depends mainly on how we were brought up. What, according to those influences dictates right and wrong, good and bad. This forms our conditioning, what we call our personality.
Now in our experiencing of reality, we develop strong likes and dislikes. Preferences that do not allow us to be happy unless we are surrounded by the conditions or circumstances we prefer. We become dependent on particular emotions and physical sensations. Although this is how most of us have accepted to go through life, it is only allowing us to enjoy life when circumstances are favourable according to our particular preferences, whenever things don’t happen according to our wishes, we suffer.
A large part of our yoga practice is training to not react so strongly to that discomfort, but to slowly and patiently learn how to stay awake in the midst of chaos without feeling a need to bail out. Then, as we move along with our yoga practice, we discover that deep inside we have a strong creative force. As we become more skilful, we find that there is a potential for union with that creative force, that we do not have to be slaves to our own habits, likes and dislikes, but we can actually steer ourselves and our lives towards balance, joy and happiness.
In awareness training, Meditation, we dig a little deeper, to see ourselves with more unbiased clarity and to better understand our own afflictions. We train to stay although our habitual pattern would be to escape from our difficulties.
Asana is posture or position. When we twist, cajole and bend our body into Asana we do so for a number of reasons. The feelings you experience are not new, it presents an array of physical sensations to old pattern of like and dislike. A very important aspect of our asana training is learning how to stay open, soft and tender when we feel cornered and emotions of old habits revisit us. Another benefit of asana is of course to promote a healthy body. We address, through the posture, areas in the body where there is stagnation of energy with the view to patiently open, release and heal old wounds and areas of constriction.
The combination of the posture with a slow flowing skilful breath practice loosens up the tissue, favours circulation and vitalizes our physical health. The breath has a central and vital role in the yoga practice, it is the tool which we can use to regulate and tune our energy. There are breath exercises that wake you up, others that calm you down. The awareness and cultivation of skilful breathing is what makes yoga so wonderful in its simplicity and accessible to everyone regardless of where you come from