I thought it might be helpful for those who are attending the forthcoming 8 week beginners yoga course or are thinking of doing the course to write a blog piece about what happens in class. The prospect of a 90 minute class can be quite daunting one but more so a very enjoyable one. It offers the time and the opportunity to explore yoga, delve a little deeper within ourselves and most importantly relax.
Have you ever taken the time to observe the body following a long working day at the office, perhaps you have been sat at your desk all day, or you have been on your feet for hours, some of you may have been driving for a long period of time in the car or perhaps just moving from one meeting to another with very little movement in between? If we take a moment to notice we can feel a series of aches and pains running through our bodies, tightness in our joints, stiffness in the neck and heavy tired eyes from hours of concentration. We can alleviate these symptoms by engaging in yoga practice but for it to be effective we need to combine both movement and breath.
Yoga classes consist of an 8 part sequence, connecting the mind, body and breath that creates a sense of balance. For most classes (apart from class 1 and possibly class 2) on arrival we will sign in, move to the mat area and settle into Savasana also known as Corpse posture. As we settle and relax you may still be aware of the aches and pains that have been accumulating throughout the day but in yoga practice the smallest of movements can make a difference to how we feel. As we close our eyes and begin to move inwards (part 1) we immediately remove ourselves from our working day and we begin to prepare for the here and now, our yoga practice. As we begin to focus on our inward and outward breathing our bodies begin to respond and start to relax, we will start to feel the tension in our bodies that we have been holding in our bodies disappear and we begin to forget that the tension ever existed.
As we venture from relaxation into conscious yogic breathing (part 2) we become energized preparing for our intention setting through solar salutation (part 3). When we begin to move our bodies no muscles or pair of muscles or joint works in isolation, they work together. It is usually tension that causes restricted movement but by focusing inwards on our bodies and continuation of our conscious yogic breathing the tension releases and we can move more easily.As asana practice (part 4) deepens through exploration of postures (part 5) it provides further opportunity to observe the body, what tension is left can be released by focusing the breath on these areas. Asana practice impacts on the health and wellbeing of the spinal cord, allowing are energy to flow more easily.
As we return to stillness (part 6) our bodies are free from tension a result of the combined movement and yogic breathing. We are present, removed from the past that was just a few hours ago. We will recognise/know that a change has occurred, and have created an absolute balance of wellbeing on the physical, mental, emotional on spiritual levels (part 7). Following our yoga blessings we will leave our yoga session behind with a sense of peace, harmony and wellbeing just as we were meant to be (part 8).
Om Nema Sivaya