I had a fantastic time in Devon last weekend teaching an ‘Introduction to Yoga’ master-class at Teign Fitness’ beautiful new studio. When the subject of this session was first discussed, I though it wouldn’t be too difficult; after all, it’s just an introduction right? Wrong. When I sat down to put the handout together, I realised that I didn’t know where to start and then when I did get going, I didn’t know where to end!
Yoga is so multi-dimensional, the breathing practises or ‘pranyama’ on it’s own could take a whole day (or a lifetime) to explore. Then there’s the hand mudras (which I am personally fascinated by), what about bandhas (locks) and chakras? What about the different ‘styles’ of yoga, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Hatha? And all of that is before you’ve even started looking at the postures!
So what is Yoga?
Yoga is an art and science dedicated to creating union between body, mind and spirit. Its objective is to assist the practitioner in using the breath and body to create an awareness of ourselves as individualised beings, intimately connected to the unified whole of creation. In short it is about making balance and creating equanimity so as to live in peace, good health and harmony with the greater whole.
This art of right living was perfected and practised in India thousands of years ago and the foundations of the yoga philosophy were written in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali in approximately 200 AD. This sacred text describes the inner workings of the mind and provides an 8 step blueprint for controlling its restlessness so as to enjoy lasting peace.
Fitting that into 2 hours was a challenge. In the end, I decided that what I wanted the group to leave with, was an understanding that Yoga was so much more than a form of exercise; for which the western world adopted it in the 1980’s. So we discussed the origins and practised basic chanting, pranyama, asanas (postures), mudras, bandhas and chakras. We finished with heart chakra affirmations and a guided relaxation.
I hope, that the group left with open minds, and hearts; with their bodies feeling stretched, challenged and then settled. I hope, that maybe some of them, will look up the 8 limbs of Yoga and seek to explore the concepts further and embrace some of them as a life choice. I hope, that they will invite me back to explore this diverse and spiritually enlightening practise further. In the meantime, I will continue to improve my own understanding of Patanjali’s work and how it can help me be a better human.
If you would like more information on this or would like to book a master-class at your venue or a private session email: firstname.lastname@example.org