Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice that originated in India over 5,000 years ago. Yoga literally means “union” and is a powerful tool for self-reflection that can be used to unite the body, mind and spirit. When we practice Yoga we are also consciously seeking to unite the individual self with a more universal self, which is the aspect of ourselves that is one with the divine intelligence of the whole universe. In this state of union with the divine we are less likely to be swayed from our peace of mind by external events or circumstances.
By practicing Yoga on a regular basis we learn to calm the fluctuations of the mind that cause us distress and disease. When we invite the practice of Yoga to permeate all aspects of our life, Yoga becomes a way of life. It is a powerful means of self-reflection that allows us to step out of the normal habits and modes of operation that normally control us so we may instead make new and more enlightened choices for ourselves that bring about higher good in our lives.
Yoga can be very challenging as we must observe all of our thoughts and actions and accept our limitations. Through this process of accepting and surrendering to “what is” we face our fears and develop patience, compassion, and love for ourselves as well as others.
Hatha Yoga is the branch of Yoga most commonly practiced in the western world. It consists of performing physical postures called asanas that were originally created to purify and prepare the body for higher meditation. Hatha Yoga is in itself meditation in action. It does not matter how flexible you are or what limitations you may have. Yoga is for everyone regardless of ability or experience level, and it is never too late to start. Yoga is about working with your own body at your own level. It is an inner journey and a personal tool for wellness, stress relief and personal empowerment.