? Yoga, mindfulness & body therapy: clinically proven pathways to health and wellbeing
yoga class at Spanish Yoga Retreat

YOGA

Yoga is a broad set of physical and mental practices for enhancing your personal development

Yoga developed in India over several millenia. Meaning "yoke" or "union", yoga brings together all aspects of our being into a joyous experiencing of the present moment

teaching bespoke yoga at Spanish Yoga Retreat

Structural Health

The importance of your physical structure to overall health is a central pillar of yoga

The relationship between structure and function is advocated by many systems of body-work, including osteopathy and chiropractic and backed up by an ever growing body of scientific evidence

Yoga emphasizes physical exercises, largely in the form of postures (asanas), which may be approached in a variety of ways

Practising yoga postures will

  • make your body strong and firm
  • allow you to move freely
  • help you relax
  • increase your energy levels
  • reduce pain
  • minimize wear and tear
ha-tha yoga: pranayama

breath: vital link

The relationship between your breathing on your mental state is an essential corner stone of yoga

The link between breath and emotion is especially compelling and has been extensively studied and corroborated by neuro-scientists

yoga breath work will help you reduce general arousal to

  • calm your emotions
  • reduce heart rate
  • lower blood pressure
  • reduce anxiety
  • increase energy levels
  • create a positive feeling of well-being
ha-tha: pose of the child (balasana)

Awareness (chit - चिट्)

Shifting our emphasis from doing to being is yoga's final skill-set and arguably its greatest gift

All yoga practices involve deliberately paying attention to what you are doing, thinking and feeling in a gentle, open minded and joyful way

This practice of mindfulness in thinking will bring you

  • clarity and focus
  • enhanced mental performance
  • increased memory power
  • sense of purpose and motivation
  • enjoyment of this wonderful moment
sitting in mindfulness meditation

Joy (ananda - आनन्द)

The practice of yoga will help make you more aware of your feelings and habitual reactions

Learning to respond rather than react will improve your relationships and make you more connected to those around you

And ultimately a happier person

Mindfulness of feeling will help you

  • respond to situations with greater freedom and choice
  • improve your personal and professional relationships
  • live life more creatively
  • be happier
practising ha-tha

Being (sat - सत्)

Mindfulness in action is about paying attention to what you are doing at all times

You can be mindful of your actions at any and all times, beyond your formal yoga practice

Being mindful of what you are doing will help you

  • act wisely
  • act responsibly
  • act creatively
  • live joyfully in the here and now



Historically yoga in India has coalesced into four broad categories or paths, each seeking through its own methods to experience the state of supreme stillness (SAMADHI):

  • JÑANA - philosophical reflection
  • BHAKTI - devotional practices
  • KARMA - action not for self-interest
  • RAJA - pragmatic step-wise path

This Royal Yoga was written in the 4th century CE as a series of aphorisms by Patanjali who enumerated eight steps to freedom from sorrow; thus it's other name: Ashtanga (Ashta: eight, Anga: limb):

  1. YAMA - ethical observances
  2. NIYAMA - ethical abstentions
  3. ASANA - posture
  4. PRANAYAMA - control of vital air
  5. PRATYAHARA - looking inwards
  6. DHARANA - focus with effort
  7. DHYANA - flowing focus
  8. SAMADHI - absorption

Related to Raja Yoga (see panel above), Ha-Tha is a later development with a strong focus on the body

Ha-Tha emphasizes working on the structural health of the body to achieve optimum physical and psychological well-being

Ha-Tha Yoga practices include

  • ASANA: postures
  • PRANAYAMA: breathwork
  • MUDRA: symbolic gestures
  • KRIYA: cleansing
  • MEDITATIONAL PRACTICES
  • and more

There is a multitude of schools or styles of Hatha Yoga, each emphasizing different aspects of the practice

SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE