Yoga is an ancestral healing science, a way of life, and an invitation to align ones body, mind and spirit in a wholistic and meaningful way. It is based upon a dynamic equilibrium between effort and repose, and at it's most essential, Yoga brings us back into alignment with our essence, or our soul.
Yoga has peaked in notoriety in recent years, most likely as an antedote to the rapid freneticism of modern life. Encompassing physical postures, breathing techniques, contemplation and meditation, Yoga offers a vast palette of practises that are designed to bring you back in contact with the reality of who you really are, beneath the agendas and to-do lists of our fast-paced and busy world.
In Yoga the body is considered to be the vehicle of the soul and thus, it is of vital importance to take care of it with appropriate reverence and respect. By learning to find a dynamic and evolutive balance between suppleness and strength, we allow our vital energy to flow and circulate in an unimpeded manner. By learning to how to consciously deepen, lengthen, refine and optimise our breath we create greater equilibrium within.
Overtime we practise and refine our postures and breathing so as to cultivate a bio-dynamic harmony and resilience, a capacity to listen to and adapt accordingly to the signals that our body is giving us. This may sound very simple and even obvious, yet we are moving, ever more increasingly, to an alarming rate of stress induced conditions that are based on our tendency to override the messages of our body and to push, coerce or simply ignore what it is saying. The practise of Yoga can shed light on our tendencies, allowing us to reconsider them and cultivate new, healthier ones.
Yoga can also illuminate and clarify the difference between pushing or forcing, with effort and persistance. Our general tendency is either to force and push, or adversely, to avoid intensity and to circumnavigate that which would actually bring us to a place of greater awareness and dynamic equilibrium.
One translation of the word Yoga is to yoke, or unite. Another is effort. Yoga cultivates a healthy attitude towards effort, the kind that fosters resilience and adaptability and thus the capacity to flow and evolve with greater ease through the changing cycles of life.
The practises need not be complicated to be effective, in fact, the most powerful things are often the simplest. What matters is the quality of presence, the intention and attention, that we place upon the activity. Are we perpetuating a mindset of speed, productivity and consummation in our Yoga practise? Or are we able to, even fleetingly, slow down, listen and observe without judgement the natural phenomena of our body, breath and mind?
A mindful and well rhythmed practise will temper our tendency to push and force, or adversely, to hold back and abstain. In this way we cultivate the ability to create a dynamic harmony that is attentive to our unique constitution and needs.
"If the mind remains fluid and open without wavering or losing the direction of action, a well-planned yoga session will reflect the saying that all motion ends in stillness while stillness ends in motion." Shandor Remete, Shadow Yoga