What is yoga?
Yoga is an ancient, practical branch of Indian philosophy, systematised approximately 250BCE by the sage Patanjali. It offers us a variety of means for positive transformation including – eventually – higher states of consciousness. The word ‘yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj meaning to yoke, join, concentrate on, use and apply.
Patanjali describes eight ‘limbs’ of yoga which together make up a holistic system of practice:
- Yama – ethical behaviour
- Niyama – self-discipline
- Asana – posture
- Pranayama – breath regulation
- Pratyahara – withdrawal from the influence of the senses
- Dharana – concentration
- Dhyana – meditation
- Samadhi – union with the universal spirit.
Yoga classes at the Studio
Classes at the Studio focus mainly on asana, or posture. There are numerous asanas designed to exercise every part of the body and their practice keeps the systems of the body healthy and helps steady the mind.
The yogi… seeks a body strong as a thunderbolt, healthy and free from suffering so as to dedicate it to the service of the Lord for which it is intended. B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga.
Teachers give detailed instruction on how to do poses, offering support that is tailored to individual needs. ‘Props’ such as blocks and belts are sometimes used to teach certain actions or help students achieve poses or stay in them for longer.
What to wear to class
Asanas are practiced in bare feet and simple clothing that allows for ease of movement. A round-necked, short sleeved t-shirt worn with leggings or shorts is ideal. There is a small changing room at the Studio with pegs for hanging coats and outer clothing.
Students can take handbags and other valuables in to the teaching area, but the Studio can’t take responsibility for any loss or theft. If possible, please avoid bringing precious items with you to class.
- Asanas are best done on an empty stomach, preferably at least one hour after a light meal and four hours after a heavy meal.
- Women should not practice inverted poses (head stand or shoulder stand) during their menstrual period.
- Pregnant women and students with health conditions should consult their GP before starting classes.
Practicing at home
We encourage students to develop a home practice as well as attend regular classes, especially once established in the basics. Teachers can offer guidance on home practice and there is also a growing body of Iyengar yoga resources to tap into, with discrimination. For example Yoga Vastu, created by Australian teacher Pixie Lilas. https://yogavastu.com