What is Yoga?
Yoga is like a tool box equipped with a variety of different tools that can condition, heal and support the body and mind, allowing its practitioners to live a healthy, balanced and peaceful life
Studies show hatha yoga to be a safe and effective practice. They also reveal the many benefits that are to be gained with regular practice. These include improvements in blood circulation; a reduction in the rate of hardening of the arteries; reduced stress; lowering the risk of heart disease; help with recovery from symptoms of depression; the reduction of back pain; enhancing the functioning of the immune system; an increased feeling of well-being and mental clarity; improvements in muscle tone and strength; increases in bone density (which helps to combat osteoporosis) and improved digestion
Yoga is non competitive so you don’t have to keep up with everyone else : you can just relax and enjoy the practice at your own pace. It is ideal for keeping the ageing process at bay and is suitable for people of any age, some people start yoga in their 60’s or 70’s, and any condition: if you can breathe, then you can do yoga
To do yoga postures you do not have to be already flexible. Posture work helps to develop flexibility. The series of yoga poses(asanas) work to stretch your muscles in a safe and effective way. This releases the lactic acid that builds up with muscle use, that causes stiffness, tension, pain, and tiredness. Posture work increases flexibility and increases lubrication in the joints. It also works on lengthening ligaments, stimulating tendons, and balancing the fascia sheath that surrounds your muscles. This results in a physical sense of ease and fluidity throughout your whole body. It also means we are not distracted by physical aches and pains or imbalances. These benefits can be felt fairly quickly after a few weeks of practice
Yoga practice increases flexibility while improving strength and muscle tone and these two procedures balance one another. Building muscle tone helps develop postural stability and physical balance and also protects the joints from wear and tear. Posture work builds core strength which helps to improve the functioning of your deep supporting muscles which, in turn, will improve your posture when standing or sitting. In the Western world we tend to be sedentary for most of the day and this is not good for us as the body is built for movement. Most of us need to increase our activity levels to keep our muscular system functioning optimally. By maintaining muscle tension we can reduce uneven wear and tear on the joints and so reduce the potential for inflammation and pain.
Yoga breathing techniques act as a bridge that links body and mind. They work on the respiratory system and improve lung capacity and efficiency by helping to deepen and lengthen the breath. Physically, this acts to improve sports performance, endurance and focus, but it is also effective mentally in that it stimulates the relaxation response by switching off the fight-or-flight adrenaline boost of the stress response. People new to yoga often feel less stressed and more relaxed after their first class: a side effect of yoga practice is that mood is improved and students often find themselves smiling for no apparent reason, feeling happier and more content with life. With the use of specific breathing and meditation techniques the mind will become quiet and the often persistent mental chattering that is a symptom of anxiety and stress can be reduced or eliminated. This empowers the individual and builds confidence to be able to manage life’s ups and downs.
The ability to concentrate is enhanced with the regular practice. Yoga can also be used as a useful therapy to help with conditions such as mild depression, increasing feelings of self esteem and happiness. Yoga is even being studied as an adjunct therapy to relieve symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Other benefits of Yoga breathing techniques include the management of asthma; the lowering of blood pressure and heart rate; and, along with lifestyle changes such as diet, can help to reduce our reliance on medical intervention.
I am a fully qualified and experienced Hatha Yoga Teacher trained with the British Wheel of Yoga and am currently studying yoga therapy with the Anubhava organisation under Yogacharya Dr. M.V. Bhole of Puna in India.
I teach general public classes and private classes (one2one and small groups) in North Durham and hold regular workshops. I also conduct yoga therapy sessions for individuals (for those who are recovering from an illness or surgery or who are struggling with an illness) on request.
General Public Classes : For a 10 week course it costs £50.00 and for one session it costs £7.00
Private Classes : £30.00
If you are experiencing financial problems [in these times of austerity] do ask about a reduction…Your first session is free – and if you introduce a friend who pays for ten weeks you will both get a free session
A Yoga class is held each Monday from 11 am to 12.30 pm in Ebchester Community Centre