The Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is a safe and ancient form of exercise that combines a focus on strength, flexibility and balance with breathing techniques, concentration and meditation.
It originated in India approximately 5,000 years ago and it is one of the six systems of Indian philosophy. Yoga has eight aspects (astanga):
- Yama and Niyama: moral and social conduct
- Asanas: adjustment of the body with various postures (stretches)
- Pranayama: regulation of breath
- Pratyahara: internalisation of the senses of perception
- Dharana: concentration
- Dhyana: meditation
- Samadhi: the ultimate state of self realisation.
Here at Yoga Stable, we practice Iyengar Yoga, which is accessible to all and has particular emphasis on exploring the full potential of the asanas, to lead to and include the eight aspects (astanga). The first five (Yama & Niyama, Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara) are referred to as the Outer Quest, while the remaining three aspects are referred to as the Inner Quest. The yoga teacher can only open the door to the Inner Quest, where each person can explore their own journey of the soul, reaping the spiritual benefits of their yoga practice. Yoga is a holistic exercise, taking into consideration the person as an individual and the mind and body as a whole, while working towards better physical, emotional and (potentially) spiritual wellbeing. It is the very nature of yoga practice to enable each person to explore the different astanga – limbs they feel would be beneficial, at a suitable practice level for each individual, with an experienced, intuitive guide, as teacher.
Yoga has many health benefits, such as:
- It is a safe way to increase physical activity.
- The breathing element of yoga can teach you how to relax – an essential tool to deal with the stresses of busy, modern life.
- Being adaptable to each individual; yoga is suitable for everyone, at any age.
- It is particularly beneficial in improving strength, flexibility and balance.
- With improvements in balance, it can help to prevent falls.
- Yoga can help with arthritis as it is a gentle way to promote flexibility and strength.
- It is widely considered that yoga can improve symptoms of: IBS, PMT, insomnia, chronic pain and back & neck problems.
- Scientific evidence suggests that regular yoga practice can help if you have:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- aches and pains, including low back pain
If you have any health conditions, please inform your teacher beforehand, at the start of the class. You may also benefit from a One-to-One session.
Numerous studies and scientific trials have been published on Yoga which suggest a variety of health benefits. Find out more info on Yoga from the NHS.
Yoga is intended to complement your relationship with your medical practitioner/s and consultant/s. If you suspect you may have a health problem, please see your GP and never disregard or delay seeking medical advice. Please inform your teacher beforehand, at the start of the class, if you have any health conditions.