What is Yoga and Why Do We Do It?
For most people when they think about the word ‘Yoga’, it brings to mind pictures of people in crazy impossible poses or of a yogi cross-legged meditating in front of a cave. Yoga originated in India and has been practiced for thousands of years. The main purpose of yoga traditionally is to still the fluctuations of the mind or in other words, remove all distractions such as thoughts, feelings or noises to be able to concentrate, meditate and then reach liberation, so we can connect with our true spirit, experiencing pure bliss, peace and contentment.
So for many who practice yoga, this is their goal and the experiences they have during the journey. For lots of us though, we practice yoga for different reasons, or at least to start with. This is perfectly ok…. There is no right or wrong, no good or bad in yoga, just wanting to start a practice and being aware can be a pretty powerful thing. It’s important to remember that yoga is not a competition…. We are all unique and some of us can do things that others can’t. Never compare yourself to the person sitting next to you, you don’t necessarily know their story or what brought them to yoga so just because they can get into a pose you might be struggling with doesn’t mean they’re better than you! Whilst its important to challenge limits, try not to push too hard. Even in yoga we can injure ourselves, physically and emotionally!
Luckily for us we don’t have to sit in a loincloth meditating in a cave to appreciate the benefits of of a regular yoga practice. Yoga helps improve physical fitness and can be used as part of stress management to calm down the mind. Yoga can be very useful in treating various ailments including diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, joint problems and heart conditions just to name a few. It can be a great thing to combine it with a sport or physical activity such as surfing as it helps keep muscles strong, supple and flexible and help you recover faster from injury. Yoga energises you! It helps energy flow around the body and can restore you when you’re feeling depleted and tired. There are so many styles to choose from too, so give yoga a try today and help yourself feel fantastic! Taking one of our Seasonal Flow classes has the added benefit of supporting your body further by focusing on the body’s differing needs throughout the year as well as becoming more in tune with nature.
So What is Vinyasa Flow?
“Vinyasa” is the Sanskrit word for “connection”. It is a style of yoga that flows from one pose to the next, and all movements are synchronized with one’s breath. The most common, widely-known vinyasa flow sequence is Sun Salutations. However, there are endless combinations of poses that can be used to create a vinyasa flow, as well as many different styles of vinyasa. Vinyasa flow sequences are great for warm-ups, cool-downs, and tying together individual poses to create a full yoga workout routine.
What is Sanskrit and Why is it Used in Yoga Classes?
Sanskrit is a historical Indo-Aryan language that is used in yoga classes to reference postures. Sanskrit is considered to be one of the oldest languages on Earth; pre-dating Greek and Latin and arising from the Proto Indo European language spoken 7,000 – 8,000 years ago. The word Sanskrit translates to perfected, polished or refined. Both yoga and Sanskrit were thought to originate in India, and historically, these two principles have gone hand in hand.
Did you know that “asana” means “posture” or “pose”? That’s why every Sanskrit word you hear in yoga ends in “asana.”
Since the language of yoga is deeply intertwined with the ancient language of Sanskrit, it’s commonly used in yoga classes. For beginners, it can be intimidating to hear an instructor cue a posture in a different language. However, everyone learns in different ways: some people learn by hearing, others learn by seeing, while others learn by doing. Therefore, by providing the Sanskrit term for postures, instructors are giving their students an additional way to learn what a posture is. Sanskrit terms are also believed to provide a therapeutic benefit when pronounced and heard. Its also used in yoga classes all over the world so even if you can’t speak the language in a country that you’re visiting, you can always go to a yoga class!