The classical system of yoga dates back more than 5,000 years with origins in ancient India and is generally described as a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline. The meaning of the Sanskrit word “yoga” is “to unite, to join, or yoke together”. The yoga philosophy was developed to integrate the physical and the emotional aspects of our being, to connect our emotional and mental states, and to bring mind and body into one harmonious state. It is a system of contemplation aiming to join the human spirit with the universal life source. Committing to a yoga practice means a constant search for harmony and balance at all levels of the self.
In the west, the desire for greater personal freedom, health, and long life, along with the rising levels of self-awareness have been drawing an increasing number of people to this ancient discipline. Many of us are now inspired and guided by yogic techniques in our search for balance and wellbeing.
Yoga philosophy has three main components - exercise, breathing, and meditation. The physical exercise aspect of the ancient practice is designed to build up the body’s stamina, strength, and flexibility in order to increase its efficiency and total health. In the yogic tradition the body is considered as the primary instrument which enables us to function and evolve in the world and we therefore treat it with great care and respect. The yogic breathing techniques are based on the concept that breath is the source of life in the body and that this vital energy connects us to all there is. Yoga practitioners work on breath control to improve the health and function of their physical and mental bodies. Exercise and breathing prepare the body and mind for meditation through which we learn to quiet mind and allow silence to bring about healing and restoration from everyday stress. Regular practice of all three parts of the yogic discipline creates a strong and capable body, clear and bright mind, and a soaring spirit.
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