About Hatha yoga
Yoga has been around for many hundreds of years but no the yoga that we know of or think of today. What is now commonly referred to as 'yoga' is a part of the practice of Yoga called 'Asana'. The word asana refers to the postures or poses that are used in this part of the yoga practice.
Yoga Asanas combined with Pranayama (breathing techniques) were created to assist practitioners to use as a means to purify the body in order to achieve a state that allows for higher meditation.
Which then brings us closer to our beliefs, faiths and our true selves.
Hatha Yoga is a practice that focuses on balancing the energies of the body. Hatha Yoga recognises that people must have balance within themselves in order to create a clear mind that allows for higher thinking and the focus required to achieve our true potential.
There is much history and philosophy behind Hatha Yoga as well as other forms of Yoga. All of the forms have one aim. It is to bring the practitioner to a state in which they are 'Self realised'. This state of 'self realisation' is difficult to attain, and apparently very few have had the pleasure of doing so. The difficulty of the path though is no different from the difficulties in which we face every day. The difference between a dedicated yoga practitioner and some one who is not, may be how they handle and react to these difficulties that cross our paths in this thing called life.
"if it helps you think more clearly about who you are and how you can be your best version of yourself this is an added benefit you can't deny. "
Is Yoga a religion?
No, Yoga is not a religion. Yoga is now classified by many as a science. It studies the body (including the mind as it is recognises that mind and body are parts of a whole that are always connected while living). It does have close ties to the Hindu faith however is not part of the Hindu faith. A person may by Hindu and not a Yogi and vice versa.
Many people all over the world of different faiths practice yoga. Many people who practice yoga find it a powerful way to bring them closer to their own faith as they are better able to self reflect and study themselves as a person. This then enables them to see how they can be the best version of themselves and serving their faith. In fact part of the entire philosophy behind Yoga is to have faith and to be true to yourself and your God.
Does this mean that you should only practise Yoga if you want to follow the path of a 'Yogi', or if you are not religious?
No, there are many health benefits to the practice of yoga asana as the postures help build both strength and flexibility. The breathing techniques (Pranayama) help with breath regulation, slowing the breath and slowing the heart rate. Which can be helpful for stress regulation and coping techniques. If it helps you think more clearly about who you are and how you can be your best version of yourself this is an added benefit you can't deny.
About Nicole and the yoga path
I have been a student of yoga for what I call a relatively short time. In a sense my yoga journey is just beginning. I was first taken to a yoga asana class by my sister some 5 years ago. I really enjoyed this class and the way the asana flow gets you to move.
The next couple of years saw me going to various other classes but without too much commitment from me. It wasn't really until I went into Essence of Living for my Pilates teacher training that I really felt the true benefit of yoga and what it can provide you through a regular committed practice.
I decided to do the course in yoga 1 teacher training if anything for me to get a better understanding of yoga for myself than anything else.
During this course I really fell for yoga itself and the teachings behind yoga. Everything from the philosophy the Yamas and Niyamas (Guidelines about how you live in relation to your interactions with yourself and with the world) fit in with my own beliefs and faith.
My hope is to pass onto others what I have learnt through my study of yoga and come together with like minded people who wish to spread the message of peace and acceptance.