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It's not just a craze (A brief history)

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing. The practice originated in India about 5,000 years ago and traditionally was passed on verbally from gurus to their devotees.

The benefits of Yoga

In the demanding age of the 21st centuary, how often can you say you completely free your mind of worries anxieties and endless "to do" lists and surrender to the quietness of an empty thought. As a society we are finding it increasingly difficult to free ourselves from stimuli such as television, computer games, Facebook and Twitter and spend time listening to the inner peace that is meditation.

Although meditation can be taught at the beginning of a yoga class I personally think it is the perfect way to bring your practice to an end, it allows your body the time to absorb the benefits from the asana and pranayama performed beforehand.

For some Yoga is a physical practice aimed at increasing flexibility, strength and balance but for the majority Yoga is the union of the mind, body and soul that aids in the acceptance of ones self (mentally physically and spiritually). Yoga enables you to become more aware of your body's posture, alignment, balance and patterns of movement. It makes the body more flexible and helps you relax even during times of anxiety, stress and unhappiness.

Hatha yoga is a "physical" or "effort" based practice during which sun salutations and asanas are performed in order to free the body of any blockages and tension in preparation to sit or lye comfortably in meditation for extended periods of time (for those who wish to do so). The word Hatha is a construct of the words "ha" (meaning sun/masculine energy) and "tha" (moon/feminine principal), both of which inhabit ones body.

Yoga not only allows you to look and feel younger on the outside with a toned and supple physique, but it also aids in keeping your body, organs and cells healthy on the inside. Scientific test have proven that regular yoga practice can benefit the digestive system, arthritis, cure asthma, vertigo, sleeping disorders and depression.

"In Hatha yoga the body, or "vessel", is used to discipline the mind and to reach the soul. Asanas, when performed from the heart and not the head, will help to transform your being by taking you away from an awareness of just the body toward the consciousness of the soul.

You must fill every inch of your body with the asana from your fingertips to the tips of your toes so that the practice radiates from the core of your body and fills the limbs - then you are not just doing it, but you must instead feel your way into it through love and devotion"

Light on Life by B.K.S. Iyengar

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