Thursday, September 9, 2010

What is yoga?

My name is Pamela Nelson. I am a Yoga Instructor teaching classes in Prince Albert and Christopher Lake, Saskatchewan. The am a certified Iyengar yoga instructor, based on the teachings of yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar. Born during the 1929 flu epidemic he grew up weak and sick most of his life until he was introduced to yoga. Now at almost 92 he still practices three hours a day and keeps office hours for another three. He bases his teachings on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and through his years of practice and dedication he has developed the use of many props to make yoga accessible to all.
He says himself though that he has no right to brand his method of practice and teaching as “Iyengar Yoga”. It was his pupils who coined the term to distinguish it from the teachings of others and although the label caught on he is only teaching purely authentic traditional yoga.

So, many of you may wonder what exactly yoga is.

The Sanskrit word for yoga is yuj, which means to “yoke” or “join”. It is the union of the body, mind and breath for optimum health and fulfillment. On a physical level what this means is that through the actions of yoga the body’s structure can improve, the joints become lubricated, the internal organs are toned, the nervous system is strengthened, circulation is increased bringing more oxygen into the body, hormones become balanced, cardiovascular health is improved and the immune system is strengthened. Many of us may start doing yoga for a certain outward appearance but as you can see it is the changes that take place internally that will change your life.
How does this then relate to the mind and breath?

When all the systems of the body are balanced the mind becomes quiet, the breath becomes quiet. It is hard to have relaxed, even breathing when the mind is all over the place.
Over the next few months let’s delve into the Eight limbs of the yoga sutras together and see how we can relate it to our yoga practice. From there it will become easier to bring yoga into your daily life…not just on the mat.

I would like to end with a quote from Geeta Iyengar;
“How useful Yoga is can only be understood by practicing it.”


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