What is Yoga ?

What is Yogacopyright Andrew Woodburn, www.woodburnphoto.co.za , wild yoga poses, scorpion pose ?

Yoga is the best all round exercise you can give yourselves; YOGA WARRIOR in Johannesburg, South Africa, is a juicy blend of athletically challenging poses and does not include heat (you will create your own core body heat to enhance your practice). It is practiced through asanas or poses which are capable of creating a vigorous body, well-functioning inner organs and an alert mind.

Classical yoga is a philosophical system that has its roots in India. Yoga is a Sanskrit word, the scriptural language of ancient India. Its root is yuj which means "to yoke" or to unite". Yoga binds together the body, mind and spirit; it draws all aspects of self into harmony.

The body and mind are strengthened by combining yoga poses, with yogic breathing techniques, pranayama. Holding the poses we learn to link the mind's intentions with the body's movements and the breath. Even introducing yoga into life on just a weekly basis offers a respite to free the mind and body from stress, releasing blockages in the muscular, nervous and glandular systems.

From an athlete's perspective, hard training can give you a well muscled body but it can lead to tightness and inflexibility unless regular stretching like yoga is included. Shortened muscles can cause a gradual loss of muscle elasticity as well as a decline in the flexibility of your joints - both will limit the body's physical power and range of motion. Yoga stretching can increase the flexibility of a joint by 10-20% and muscular flexibility and strength will prevent many injuries and pulls.

copyright Andrew Woodburn, www.woodburnphoto.co.za , wild yoga poses, upward dog

Health Benefits

Develops flexibility, strength and stamina

Tones and stretches muscles

Alleviates back and neck pain

Detoxify internal organs, the body is oxygenated and filled with healthy blood, decongested and restored.

Improves breathing and lung capacity which beneficial for asthmatics

Improves metabolism and elimination, helpful for constipation

Reduces stress by normalising cortisol (stress hormone) levels

Assists weight reduction and control

Aids lowering blood pressure

Can alleviate menstrual problems

Eases insomnia and anxiety

"It is almost like music, there's no end to it. It is very inspiring. If anything, it's reversing my aging process. I can now do things with my body that I wouldn't even have thought possible when I was an athletic teenager...The band do at least an hour and a half of Yoga before every concert. It certainly keeps us all fit." Sting