Yoga seems to be everywhere. Every second person ‘does’ yoga now and social media is flooded with images of beautiful people standing on their heads or bending themselves into a pretzel. But do you know what yoga is really about?
Yoga is an ancient philosophy and practice that unites body, breath and mind. There are a variety of traditions, principles and practices derived from India and the Himalayas more than 2500 years ago. These translate into the many different styles of yoga we have today.
Yoga is more than just the poses (asanas). In fact, it’s discovering your connection to your social environment and relationships; practising moderation and restraint to allow for a pure body and mind; finding a comfortable seat so you can meditate; engaging in controlled breathing to allow your breath, your life force to move unrestricted throughout your body; being able to detach yourself from desires; and connecting with God (whatever that may mean for you).
How does yoga fit in to modern life?
Applying the ancient traditions of yoga to our modern lives is more than just heading to a yoga class and working out. The physical aspect of yoga is really just the gateway to understanding your mind, finding balance (emotionally) and finding strength, flexibility and endurance in your body so you can sit and comfortably meditate.
Practising yoga means you aim to incorporate the philosophies of yoga into your daily life. For example; practising moderation in all things, being truthful in your mind, word and actions and not causing harm to yourself or others are some ways you are ‘doing’ yoga every day.
Is yoga for you?
Yoga takes practise, and if done regularly can have profound effects on your health. By strengthening and stretching your body you can improve your circulation, your digestion, your joint health and your breathing. By practising meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises) you are calming your nervous system which calms the mind, improves your immune system and your cardiovascular system. By practising spirituality you are connecting yourself with the world around you, creating a union between you and God. In this case, God isn’t necessarily what we are taught in the various religions, it can be whatever resonates for you. This might be just acknowledging there is a higher power.
The good news is yoga isn’t only for the fit, the flexible or those in good health. Yoga is for everyone, and in my view is a particularly useful, safe and effective type of medicine, both as a preventative health measure and during times of illness. This is why LaVida Health expanded our clinic to incorporate yoga.
How is yoga at LaVida Health different?
LaVida Health doesn’t see yoga as a workout. Whilst you will have a physical yoga class and gain physical benefits, we don’t have hot yoga classes, high intensity yoga classes or pack in our students so you don’t have a chance to connect with your teacher. That’s not to say you won’t improve your fitness levels, strength and flexibility, this will happen, we just consider it a beneficial ‘side effect’ of our classes. Our main goal is to optimise your emotional, mental and physical health to prevent illness and disease. We also want to help you manage and reduce symptoms of any health complaint you may have.
LaVida Health runs slow flow, vinyasa flow and yin classes only, and all at a normal room temperature, not too hot, not too cold. Our teachers have been carefully selected for their interest and knowledge in the philosophy of yoga, pranayama techniques, and meditation and relaxation practises. Our yoga teachers have a love for yoga beyond the postures and therefore you will come to learn the emotional, mental and physical benefits of each pose as you move through them.
Each teacher brings to the studio their own unique style and areas of interest. For example; I like to connect your yoga practice to the numerous health benefits such as improved digestion; improved strength (mental and physical) and the effects on the nervous system (as this is nicely aligned with my naturopathy training); and other teachers will connect with the more spiritual aspects of yoga and the more traditional benefits of the poses that are beyond our physical understanding. We certainly don’t expect our yoga teachers to all do the same thing, and rather embrace their individuality so you get a very broad yoga experience.
The Studio also has one of the best views in Melbourne. With floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Yarra River, you will be able to view the hustle and bustle of city life, from a distance, in our quiet, calm and intimate space.
If you still want to know more, read What to expect when you join a class at LaVida Health .