The word Yoga originates from the Sanskrit word, "yuj", meaning to "to yoke" or to harness. Yoga is considered to be a union of the body, mind and soul. There are different types of yoga philosophies, here we'll be applying the Ashtanga (Raja) Yoga approach. This is also referred to as, The Eight Limbs of Yoga, outlined by Patanjali in, "The Yoga Sutras".
Of the The Eight Limbs of Yoga, we'll be focusing on Asana (physical posture, which is known to most as simply, yoga), Pranayama (breath control) and Dhyana (meditation).
Yoga is a method for being here now. If we can bring the body and mind to stillness, we have the possibility of seeing our true self.
Yoga does not require physical flexibility, just a flexible mind to begin the practice. See Yoga as a breathing exercise.
As your breath lengthens, so will your body.
The type of Yoga practice will be Ashtanga Vinyasa. This means the postures are taken from the Ashtanga Primary series. Vinyasa means that each movement flows into the next; with the breath acting as the guide throughout. By linking movement with breath, the whole practice becomes a moving meditation. The performance of vinyasa also creates heat in the body, allowing deeper movement into each posture.
Yoga is a set of physical and mental
exercises, intended to give you control
over the body and mind
How can Yoga benefit me?
On a physical and mental level, yoga is about balance; balancing the left and right side of the body, the work on the internal systems, the emotions, the thoughts. It is through yoga that we can develop harmony in the body
Physical yoga poses (asanas) keep an overall mobility in the body that would otherwise naturally decrease with age. A daily yoga practice will keep joints supple, muscles long and will ward off degenerative conditions
Yoga also works on the internal body. As the body is bent and stretched, it exerts an influence on all of the organs as well as the cardiovascular, endocrine and nervous systems. The organs are massaged, the cardiovascular system oxygenated and nervous system stimulated
On a mental level, the practice of breath control and focusing the attention, help to calm and soothe the mind. Practicing yoga can be an excellent way of obtaining clarity
Yoga can relieve physical and mental stress, tension and pain from the body