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Yoga is a complete system which involves all aspects of life. It is founded on awareness, living fully in the present and connecting with our true nature and that of the universe. It leads us through the process of uncovering the deepest truths about human beings, life and the Universe. And allows us to merge with the superior aspects of the Universe and realise that they are not separate from ourselves.

Yoga

Through Yoga techniques, we work to expand our consciousness, awaken our capabilities and enhance our perceptions of reality. By understanding all that exists outside and inside of us, we will have the freedom to choose what we relate to and how to live our lives. 

Yoga is designed to act on all levels: from the physical one, to the energetic, emotional, mental and spiritual. It has the potential to change our thoughts, feelings and actions so that we can live a better, healthier and happier life. So it’s not just about the knowledge that is passed on, but more importantly about the wisdom that comes from experiencing it ourselves.

 

Benefits of Yoga

 

Physical benefits of Yoga

Some physical benefits of Yoga are as follows: Balances the autonomic nervous system, stabilises the heart, decreases respiratory rate, stabilises blood pressure, increases Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), increases EEG - alpha waves (theta, delta, and beta waves also increase during various stages of meditation), decreases EMG activity, increases cardiovascular efficiency, increases respiratory efficiency, normalises gastrointestinal function, normalises endocrine function, improves excretory functions, increases musculoskeletal flexibility and joint motion range, increases breath-holding time, increases grip strength, normalises weight, decreases pain, and improves eye-hand coordination, dexterity skills, reaction time, posture, strength, resilience, endurance, energy levels, immunity, sleep, steadiness, depth perception, balance, and integrated functioning of body parts.

 

Psychological benefits of Yoga

In terms of psychological benefits, Yoga can improve somatic and kinesthetic awareness, moods, subjective well-being, increases, self-acceptance, self-actualisation, and social skills, and reduce anxiety, depression and hostility. It can also balance all negative emotions and enable the positive ones.

 

Mental benefits of Yoga

Amongst other things, Yoga increases awareness, capacity for focusing, attention, awareness, concentration and learning, multi tasking, quick thinking, memory, reduces stress, expands the higher aspects of the mind, and allows the mind to be silent, so that our essence can shine forth.

 

Personal development and transformation

 

Nowadays it’s common to go through life surviving, rather than living. Being constantly conditioned by both our own internal patterns and external environment, we are often led to live in an “auto-pilot” mode, unconsciously reacting to the circumstances that arise and not so much taking ownership of our lives. We may be immerged so deep into this cycle that our days may start to feel all the same, beginning to lose purpose, and feeling like we are not empowered to change our own lives, or we’re stuck with what we have, or that it’s useless to even try. Fortunately that perception is not true, we have absolutely everything it takes to change our lives, we have just never been shown how to do so.

The major key here is that we don’t need to change the reality around us to reach happiness and fulfilment. If we depend on the things that surround us to be happy, we will never be able to be free. If we change our inner reality however, and understand that all our issues actually come from within, we will be in a position to take control of our lives regardless of what is outside of us. And when we change our inner selves, the exterior will change too. Yoga brings balance to the different levels of our inner world, and therefore starts to bring about that inner transformation that will lead us to our true nature of bliss and happiness.

 

The 8 limbs of Yoga

 

The original texts of Yoga were collated in the 2nd century BC by Patanjali, and are called the Yoga Sutras. Paranjali describes 8 limbs of Yoga: 

  • Yama (Our relationship with the world): Ahimsa (compassion instead of violence), Satya (honesty), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (continence), and Aparigraha (non-accumulation).
  • Niyama (Our relationship with ourselves): Shaucha (purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (spiritual effort), Svadhyaya (knowledge of the spiritual truths), and IshvaraPranidhana (conscience of a superior reality).
  • Asana: Posture.
  • Pranayama ("Breath"): Also interpreted as control of the life force.
  • Pratyahara ("Abstraction"): Withdrawal of the sense organs from external objects.
  • Dharana ("Concentration"): Fixing the attention on a single object.
  • Dhyana ("Meditation"): Intense contemplation of the nature of the object of meditation.
  • Samadhi ("Liberation"): merging consciousness with the object of meditation.

  

Types of Yoga

 Below is a brief description of some of the key types of Yoga:

  • Hatha Yoga: Balancing the fundamental polarities (yin and yang) and restoring the body to a state of health and wellbeing
  • Kriya Yoga: Purification and direct experience of the divine qualities of sound, vibration, and light
  • Jnana Yoga: Developing the intellect through the study of scriptures and spiritual texts
  • Tantra Yoga: Experiencing the divine energies of Shiva (consciousness) and Shakti (manifestation)
  • Karma Yoga: Path of divine service through selfless actions
  • Raja Yoga: Calming and focusing the mind. Founder of the eight limbs of Yoga
  • Bhakti Yoga: Yoga of universal love and devotion
  • Kundalini Yoga: Awakening the Kundalini (mysterious and powerful energy which awakens the consciousness)
  • Mantra Yoga: Resonating with the universal frequencies through sound
  • Yantra Yoga: Focusing on specific sacred geometric drawings, to enter the resonance of certain universal energies

 

Integral Yoga (the tradition we teach) is a type of Yoga that combines the key teachings and techniques of the aforementioned types of Yoga. In this type of Yoga, we focus a lot on the philosophy/psychology of Yoga, with a small component of asana (postures), because each posture has a physical, energetic, emotional, mental and spiritual purpose, which we use as a tool to achieve specific goals in the context of our personal development work.