What is Yoga?

There are many different interpretations of the word Yoga. One of these is to yoke, or unite in a physical and spiritual way.  


It is joyous that we can unite and share our yoga in class.

A further meaning is 'to attain what was previously unattainable'.  Remember yoga is a practice - just that. In time you may find yourself touching your toes or gaining more understanding of yourself.

Yoga also attempts to create a state in which we are always present - in every action, in every moment.

When we begin to familiarise ourselves with yoga, whether through physical postures, pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation or learning about Yoga philosophy, the more we will become aware of the holistic nature of ourselves: body, mind, breath and spirit, as well as our behaviour and connection with others. 

The oldest record of yoga and Indian culture are the Vedas and the most significant work is by the ancient sage Patanjali who set out the Yoga Sutras (short verses or threads defining yoga). These and the Bhaghavad Gita scripture are just as relevant today in offering pearls of wisdom about how to live a happy, healthy and purposeful life.

Patanjali talks of yoga as an 8 limbed path.


Note that physical exercise (asana) is just one limb! 



Yamas = restraints

Nyamas = observances

Asana = physical yoga poses

Pranayama = breathing

Pratyhara = sense withdrawal

Dharana = concentration

Dhyana = meditation, contemplation

Samadhi = bliss, enlightenment

We will mention all of these in our classes and




A couple of my favourite quotes for you: 

"yogas citta vrtti nirodhah" - yoga is the calming of the chattering of the mind (Patanjali)

"yoga is the journey of the Self, through the Self, to the Self"

(Bhagavad Gita)

Yamas & Niyamas

Yoga extends far beyond doing yoga postures - it is a way of living.  The Yamas and Niyamas may be thought of as guidelines - gems of wisdom to give direction for a well-lived and joyous life.  I will often include these themes into our yoga practice.

The 5 Yamas (restraints): 

Ahimsa = Non-violence

Satya = Truthfulness

Asteya = Non stealing

Brahmacharya = Non excess

Aparigraha = Non possessiveness

The 5 Niyamas (observances):

Saucha = Purity

Samtosha = Contentment

Tapas = Self-discipline

Svadhyaya = Self-study

Ishvara Pranidhana = Surrender