Yoga is not about touching your toes...
It’s actually about calming the fluctuations of the mind or Chitta Vritti Nirodha. In Sanskrit chitta means 'consciousness' or 'mind-stuff'. Vritti means 'fluctuations' and nirodha, means 'suppression' or 'restraint'. So really in yoga we are working towards calming our over active minds and becoming more present.
However there are lots of other benefits we can gain from the physical practice of yoga - conditioning and strengthening the body, soothing the nervous system as well as calming the mind.
A regular yoga practice brings so many benefits. Vitality of the physical body, through exercises that increase strength and flexibility, as well as clarity of the mind, through the flow of moving meditation. In this combination, a deeper connection between mind and body is ultimately achieved.
Vinyasa flow is a style of yoga where the breath is linked to postures in dynamic yet flowing sequences. Taken from the Sanskrit, Vinyasa means ‘to place in a special way’ and sun salutations are the perfect example of this. In my Vinyasa classes, I like to take time to settle the body and mind at the beginning and work up to flowing sequences, holding certain postures to focus on alignment, breath or benefits of the pose.
Yin yoga is a slower sequence of seated postures that release connective tissue and fascia deep within joints. Postures are held with relaxed muscles for several minutes to encourage the release of tension and increase relaxation. The three main principles of Yin yoga are to ‘find your edge’ in the posture, come to stillness, then hold for time. It’s a really calming practice, and the perfect antidote to today's busy (yang) lifestyle.
This is my take on the perfect way to spend a Sunday evening. A slower version of a Vinyasa class, where we work through gentle standing postures into seated stretches, finishing with a long relaxing Savasana, all by candlelight.