Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word Yuj, meaning merge, join, unite and unity.
It is the unity of Mind, Body and Universal Spirit.
The art of knowing oneself, the functions of the body, the rhythm of the mind and the ability to look at all aspects of life evenly
It is not a religion, but a way of life!
Yoga opens the door to the inner spirit creating equilibrium, good health , peace and tranquillity

untitledWithin the body, strength and flexibility need to be balance so that the body can perform a wide range of movements without developing imbalances, adaptive shortenings and bias within the musculoskeletal system.

Muscle strength is developed by holding and resisting the body against gravity.

Flexibility comes from stretching/lengthening of the muscle

Many asana do this simultaneously. In order for a pose to be maintained, the antagonist muscle is contracted so the muscle being stretched will can relax and elongate.

Stiffness/Tightness can lead to restricted movement in the joints and potential muscle injuries

An improved ability to concentrate
Preparation of the body for meditation
To develop a supple and co-operative body
Awaken proprioception (Body awareness)
Develop concentration and focus
Develop confidence and self-awareness
Direct prana and awaken the energy centres
Balancing the Kosha’s

Improvements to physical health:
Increased flexibility
Increased strength/endurance
Increased level of energy
Improved balance
Improved breathing mechanics
Improved circulation of blood
Improved management of Diabetes
Improved quality of life
Reduced stress/anxiety levels
Reduced symptoms/risk of lower back pain
Reduced sleep disturbance
Reduced risk of hypertension
Shorter labour and improved birth outcomes

There are Eight Limbs within Yoga:

1. Yama – conduct towards others.

Social discipline, Ethical and moral commandments for interactions with others whereby we create good relationships and social harmony, regardless of time, status, etc.

Within Yama are 5 sub sets:

a. Ahimsa – Non-violence/not harming

Violence arises from a lack of love. It is usually the outcome of fear, selfishness, anger and a lack of confidence.

Demonstrate respect for others and love for all creation. It is a state of mind.

Includes not using aggression

In teaching – not pushing oneself too far in physical postures.

b. Satya – Truthfulness, Sincerity and Genuineness

Speaking the truth in a pleasing way. Not speaking truth if it is unpleasing to you or others. Not speaking or believing what you do not know to be true. Not engaging in obscenity, ridicule, gossip or lies

Applying truth to thoughts, speech and action

c. Asteya – Not Stealing

Acceptance of needing only that which is essential. Not craving wealth, power, or fame of others. Remove the need for riches, but if they come, use them for the benefit of others.

d. Brahmacharya – Avoiding indulgence or exploitation, especially Sexually

Do not exploit sexual power or allow it to control your life.

Be loyal and faithful

Control your sexual desires

e. Aparigraha – Not indulging in Greed

Freedom from hoarding, collecting and wanting.

A withdrawal from material possessions or a hankering after unnecessary objects. Greed is a psychological disease associated with Ego.

2. Niyama – Rules for Personal conduct. Physical and Mental discipline. Self-discipline which leads to self-purification and wisdom.

Again, within Niyama are sub sets:

a. Sauca – Cleanliness

Cleaning of the inner and outer layers.

The internal body, through diet and nutrition

Outer body through good personal hygiene.

If the inner and outer bodies are clean, the mind is cleansed.

b. Santosa – Contentment

An essential state of mind for harmony and well-being.

Discontent leads to greed, envy and jealousy which disrupts harmony

Investigate and review all the things you think you need then listen to what is really needed for peace, tranquillity and contentment

c. Tapas – Austerity

The conquest of all desires

Purity of thought, speech and action

The conscious removal of desires to take control of the mind and act without selfish motive or hope of reward.

Achieved through speech and action that is tranquil, truthful, pleasant and beneficial

d. Svadhyaya – Self Study

To study oneself, create inquiry, live consciously. Not just the study of the mind and emotions, but anything that helps you to discover your true self.

Study with the heart and mind.

e. Isvra-pranidhana – Dedication to the One-Who-Inspires

To act without desire, learn to be at one with the universe.

Dedicate all action to Humanity, or God, or your God, the Universe, etc, without the sense or desire or want of return. It is loving and giving. Our life for the sake of humanity

3. Asana – The process of exercising the body and mind as one system.Seeking to develop a psycho-physiological function.

4. Pranayama – Breath control for Mental Discipline. Using breath control to calm the mind which leads to a tranquil nervous system.

5. Pratyahara – Discipline of the senses. To balance inner and outer consciousness. To draw the senses inward and put them under restraint so we can let go of our limiting beliefs and/or attachments.

6. Dharana – Concentration: Study of concentration and channelling the senses inward. The mind wanders due to the 5 senses so it is to restrain the mind to focus on Self.

7. Dhyana – Meditation: Deep meditative state realised when once you are able to maintain attention, not bound by space and time. A deeper state means more calmness, serenity and tranquillity. To develop self-knowledge and realisation, releasing the mind from delusion. Also represents health, physical lightness, steadiness and freedom from attachments/cravings

8. Samadhi – Self-Realisation/Contemplation. The ultimate goal of yoga.
Only achieved once the previous Seven Limbs of Yoga are mastered. Channelling the minds intelligence to a field of pure self-awareness, where complete attention is given to the inner self. The core element of spiritual yoga – bliss in the heart which allows detachment from the physical world. You pass into a state where the body’s senses are asleep but the mind is alert.

For Yoga & Pilates classes and instruction in Preston, Leyland & Chorley
contact Mikala Tolley on 07843 494680 or click here.