Yoga is the movement from one point to another. Each point is a higher one than before, one that previously was beyond our reach. This shift can be from Asana ( Yoga posture), study or meditation. It is all yoga.
In our Yoga practice we concentrate on the body breath and the mind which includes the senses.
The purpose of Yoga is to integrate all of these functions.
It is the physical aspect of Yoga that people see as yoga, they cannot see how we breath or how we co-ordinate this with our movement.
This is something I emphasise on all of our Yoga Weekends and Holidays
We can measure flexibility, suppleness and how long a person can hold a posture as progress and skill in yoga. More important is how we feel the postures and the breath. So it is not what a posture looks like but how it feels that is our true progress.
A yoga posture should be steady and comfortable throughout the duration of the posture otherwise there is no posture. Integration of mind, body and breath can be as we go about our daily lives. This is still Yoga although no one will know your are doing it!
When we go into a Yoga posture or movement that feels tense it is hard to be aware of anything else, when this happens we are not really in the posture we are striving for. If we are not really ready for a particular posture we should try something easier. This is the foundation for your Yoga practice.
We should always practice with compassion. We have to acknowledge our own starting point, accept our pain or shortness of breath or a distracted mind otherwise we are not practising Yoga. If you back hurts that is your starting point, if you are angry, that is your starting point.
Yoga is about involving the breath, tension will change our breath, stress or distraction will change the breath. When we change the way we breath, we change the way we feel. The breath is the link between the inner and outer world.
When we contract the body we exhale and when we expand the body we inhale. To keep our awareness on movement and breath we can add a small pause at the end of each movement. Yoga is the practice and observation of yourself without judgement.
However cool we feel our posture is or how flexible we think we are, without integration of the mind, body and breath we are not practising Yoga. Yoga is something we experience inside. It is not an external experience
Remember we are not creating something for others to look at, we do Yoga for ourselves. However we are both the observer and the observed. It is the attention and compassion in our practice that make Yoga personal to us
Phil Aston BWY Dip
References : The Heart of Yoga T.K.V Desikachar
Ensure you ask to see the qualifications of your yoga teacher.
The British Wheel of Yoga is recognised by the Sport council of Great Britain as the governing body for Yoga in the UK. View all of our latest yoga breaks, yoga weekends in Cornwall