“Grace, beauty, strength, energy and firmness adorn the body through yoga.” Yoga sutra 111, 47    


Yoga is getting really popular, wouldn’t you agree but what exactly is yoga? 

Yoga is an ancient practice originating at least some five thousand years ago in India. The practice of yoga has evolved over thousands of years to suit different people of different life styles. Yoga works on all characteristics of the practitioner being the physical, emotional, psychic, spiritual and mental. There are many branches of yoga: raja, karma, bhakti, hatha, jnana to name but a few but the branch of yoga mostly practiced in the west is Hatha yoga. Hatha yoga unifies mind, body and soul and enables the practitioner to achieve physical and mental well-being. The term Hatha originated from the words "ha" which means "sun" and "tha" which means "moon". It is often translated as the branch of Yoga that brings union of the pairs of opposites referring to the positive (sun) and negative (moon) currents in the system and energises the subtle channels (nadis). Hatha Yoga mainly focuses on the third and fourth limbs of the Eight Limbs of Yoga; these being asana (yoga posture) and pranayama (breath control).


Yoga for you


Anyone can practice yoga- it does not matter if you are young or old, flexible or not whether you are a couch potato or an athlete because there are modifications to every yoga pose to suit the needs of each individual. When one starts practicing yoga the sense of feeling good surrounds the practitioner. This feeling is so natural and so real and genuine that it becomes entirely part of the practitioner’s life. Yoga changes an individual’s perspective of life and helps him to take a broader look at life and what it has to offer. Yoga is a system of learning. The practitioner through doing so will develop his own spirituality which he already houses within himself enabling him to find his own path in life. I do acknowledge that many Indian Gods are used in the stories of yoga texts, however yoga is for any one of any race. It is wonderful to think that this system of learning, the ‘Yoga System’ is so freely available to us all. All we need to practice yoga is ourselves, nothing else. We then need to look within to encourage the art of self discipline to continue progressing in the practice.


The benefits of yoga are numerous but below are just a few:


  • Helps to relieve stress and stress related problems

  • Teaches the practitioner ways of relaxation

  • Enhances physical strength, stamina and flexibility

  • Tones muscles which have become flaccid and weak

  • Improves concentration and self control

  • Helps in rehabilitation of old and new injuries

  • Boosts functioning of the immune system

  • Enhances posture and muscle tone

  • Improves blood circulation

  • Gives a healthy, glowing skin

  • Cleanses and improves overall organ functioning. (Yoga asanas are probably the only form of activity that massages all of the internal glands and organs of the body)

  • Gives peace of mind and a more positive outlook to life

  • Instils a sense of balance and internal harmony


Yoga has succeeded as an alternative form of therapy in various ailments such as diabetes, blood pressure, palpitations,depression, anxiety, asthma, slipped disc, sciatica, arthritis and others. Yoga is so effective because it works on the body as a whole and targets the principles of harmony and balance of the whole body. 


The yogic way of life is a skill which cannot be understood but only experienced through practice. Yoga is indeed something which the practitioner should hold very dear; it teaches us so much about the whole picture; both universal and individual. It is a wonderful journey of discovery; one which we chose to uncover with our practice. We learn how to grow spiritually, mentally and physically. Yoga is indeed a joining, of all that is external to all that is internal, of all that is individual to all that is universal.