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Whilst the common perception in the west of yoga is centered on physical practice, there is much more going on. Occasionally, when teaching classes, I will dip into the more philosophical aspects, as these are more relevant today than we may think.

Whatever your philosophical leanings, ‘contentment’ crops up at some point. Within yoga, this is described as ‘santosha’ one of the 5 ‘niyamas’. The ‘niyamas’ are constructive tools we can use to cultivate happiness, let’s face it, we are all searching for happiness but mostly we look in the wrong places. Marcus Aurelius wrote in his meditations, “the happiness in your life is dependent upon the quality of your thoughts”.

So santosha is delight, joy and the experience of acceptance of life, of ourselves and whatever hand we have been dealt. The practice of santosha is to look at ourselves and find peace and acceptance, which is far harder when we have been brought up to compete, compare and strive for more, to bring happiness?

In a yoga class, or practice, santosha is about accepting our perceived limitations and actually celebrating them! We are all unique and uniquely brilliant at what we do, there is no comparison with others when we practice yoga.

Moving thorough the yoga postures and holding the postures with a sense of contentment and acceptance of any constraints allows us to recalibrate our minds and say to ourselves, ‘this is enough, accept this and see the good and benefit in this.’

When we apply this process consistently and continually throughout our yoga practice, this has a profound affect on our mind. It is the same as when we are managing the physical stress with the breath, we develop inherent coping mechanisms for life in general, especially away from the mat.

So when my students are practicing the movement and holds, I prompt them to feel what the body is telling them, perhaps back off a little or do a little less but still be ok with the effort and execution. They should be fulfilling their own unique requirements of the posture, not trying to achieve the unachievable, be content with the body they have – take a breath and accept.

This is quite a powerful technique to develop and this skill of self-acceptance is something that can unquestionably help improve people’s lives.

A great quote from BKS Iyengar, one of the latter-day pioneers of yoga:

“the brain is the hardest part of the body to adjust in postures”

I really feel that the wider aspects of yoga, not commonly known, are worth further thought and will continue to dip into the niyamas and yamas through my classes, as they are as relevant today, as they have ever been.

If this resonates, perhaps try a yoga class, on-line or when restrictions are lifted, to explore this marvellous practice to see how it might help in your life.

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Aging is an inevitable process, and everyone must go through it regardless of the state of health they possess. For some it is a pleasurable experience as they lead healthy lives and age with grace without bearing too many health issues, but for others it is the most difficult phase of life when they are faced with health challenges, medications and treatments that hinder their lifestyles. Regular yoga practice can aid in leading a healthy life and if started early in life can also slow down the process of aging. Regardless of age, yoga is a practice that can immensely improve the overall wellbeing of an individual at any age, and as you grow older, you have more free time to start taking better care of yourself, so it is never too late to try some yoga.

I call yoga ‘technical wellbeing’ anyone taking up this practice can benefit from yoga in terms of reducing or eliminating certain health conditions such as arthritis, incontinence, high blood pressure and osteoporosis and also encountering an overall sense of wellbeing. Regular yoga practice increases flexibility, stamina, energy levels and at the same time helps to conquer a number of ailments.

For people who begin yoga at a later stage in life, it is important to bear in mind that they need to apply the movements according to their own limitations and body strength. Certain yoga postures are beneficial for improving the nervous system and can help reduce a number brain and heart conditions. At the same time, certain breathing techniques assist in clearing blocked air passageways and can help to avoid respiratory illnesses. In addition, the breathing exercises are especially useful to relieve stress levels and utilise the lungs to its full capacity in turn improving the air and blood flow throughout the body.

Yoga is a holistic approach to life and provides a good workout, great health and promotes longevity. Yoga sessions leave the yogi feeling rejuvenated and energized in body, mind and spirit. It also improves balance, eliminates toxins, increases oxygen levels, improves flexibility, reduces stress and cures insomnia by relaxing the mind and body. Yoga can lead you through a wholesome life regardless of the age you begin to practice it.

When beginning yoga at a later stage in life, it is crucial to consult your doctor about any restrictions that are required based on your health conditions. It is also important to know that certain postures are not recommended for people beginning yoga practice at an older age.

If this is you, please give me a call to learn more - I am in my 60th year and loving how yoga makes me feel, better each year!

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It really is.... I am currently teaching online morning yoga to a local college and it is going extremely well so I have decided to extend the classes to the public, subject to interest. These will be every Tuesday and Thursday from 07:45 to 08:30. The classes will be quite standard yoga, and I will keep the format consistent so people become familiar, this will encourage mindful movement, or moving meditation. This is how I started my interest in yoga, with a regular morning stretch through sun salutations and dancing warriors to get the tissues moving and then some triangles and maybe a balance. The second part of the session will be on the mat and really working with the postures and breath.

You will start your day in a different mindset and your body will feel energised.

You don't have to know yoga to start these classes, I will take you through progressively and help you develop, as I did.

Over time I will introduce more postures and sequences so you can develop your own home practice and become more experimental in your yoga.

If you are interested in adding a different dimension into your day, then please get in touch, I will offer the first session for free and subsequent sessions @ £5 ea or discounted for blocks of sessions.

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