With many varying and confusing variants of Yoga out there, it can be hard to understand what it is, what we're doing or why we're doing it.
Despite the various names (Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa and so forth) what we see mainly being practiced now our culture falls under Hatha Yoga.
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In Hatha Yoga we use the body as a means to connect to ourselves on the grossest level in order to tune into our more subtle aspects layers.
In simple words, we work from the 'outside' - 'in'.
This is undertaken so that we can know who we are - away from the constant and incessant flow of thoughts. It is not an easy task, but the practices gift us the opportunity to spend more time in our natural state than in our fluctuating, ephemeral state.
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What can I expect in a class?
Stress is the biggest cause of disease in our modern age and yet, stress is not inherently 'bad'. In these classes we consciously change the physiology of our body through Asana (postures) and Pranayama (breath control).
With comfortable and varying breathing techniques that we explore, we allow our body to become comfortable and easeful in a 'stressful' posture. When we do this time and time again we build up our resilience toward stress. Our response to stress changes. We no longer feel it as something so overwhelming nor as something we ignore (which creates disease) but rather we are able to face it equanimity, calm and clarity.
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Mantra (chanting) and Meditation (focused concentration) both allow for Pratyahara which is the withdrawing of the five senses. In other words, how much of our attention is drawn outwards? Mobiles phones, social media, tablets etc. the stimulus is never ending. By cultivating concentration through these techniques we are essentially exercising our mind, something that is forgotten about in our body-centric culture.
Practically, mobility exercises and movement are often incorporated into our classes to assist with cultivating greater body awareness, but ultimately these classes will allow you to feel the body-mind connection.
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