I see yoga as a practical ‘technology’ for leading a healthy and peaceful life in our hectic 21st century world. It combines physical exercise, controlled breathing and mindfulness with instruction for lifestyle and wellbeing which can be easily applied to our busy lives.
Many of us are first introduced to yoga by attending group classes, which help to unwind and keep in shape at the same time. But yoga also encourages our mind to focus inwards. In time, we become more aware of our mental and emotional states as well as the inner flow of energy. By practising yoga regularly we find that it helps us in getting to know ourselves better on multiple levels – physically, mentally and emotionally.
Most types of exercise are mainly concerned with muscles and joints. Instead, yoga operates on other physical levels too such as the deep tissue, the internal organs and the nervous system. In addition, yoga has a theory of an energetic anatomy, one that we cannot see but the effects of which we may feel. Learning to breathe with awareness as we do when we practise is a powerful tool – it positively affects a restless mind and nervous system by diminishing stress levels and bringing emotions back into balance.
Yoga was first a system of philosophy which originated in India about 1500-2000 years ago. In the Western world we have been practising mainly the asana (posture) form since the early 20th century. Today, Modern Postural Yoga (MPY) has possibly become as important for us as it was for the old Indian civilizations. It can be practised by anyone and provides practical tools to cope with the challenges of contemporary modern life.
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