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What is Yoga?

Yoga means ‘union’. It is a form of exercise based on the belief that the body and the breath are closely linked to the mind. By working with these two elements, Yoga creates harmony. It is a practical system for the body, mind and spirit and can become a way of life. It is not, however, a religion and so can be practised by anyone, whatever their beliefs. Yoga is a combination of physical exercise (asanas), breathing, relaxation, diet, positive thinking and meditation.

In today’s world, man exposes himself to increasing levels of stress, as the pace of life easily spirals out of control.  Constant stress, both physical and mental, increases our vulnerability to disease.  This is where Yoga can help: its flowing movements and deep breathing exercises help to release tension, increase the flow of oxygenated blood to all our cells and tones muscles. In time, our ability to relax and deal with everyday challenges increases more effectively, as does our sense of peace and well-being.

Is it safe?Yoga can be practised by anyone regardless of age, sex or ability. It reduces stress, aids relaxation and helps to improve concentration. Check with your GP before you start Yoga if you suffer from a medical condition or have any doubts.

Do I need to attend classes? You can learn singly or in a group, but it is advisable to be supervised by a qualified teacher. Proper supervision corrects and improves your technique and also helps you to build up confidence in your ability. A teacher will demonstrate the Yoga postures and how to breathe correctly and will inspire you whilst ensuring that you do not strain and damage yourself.

What do I need? You will need to bring a foam Yoga or exercise mat preferably, although a thick towel is fine. A blanket or sleeping bag are good for the final relaxation of the Yoga session. Clothing should be loose and comfortable and ideally made from natural fibres to allow the body to breathe. Socks will keep your feet warm if you suffer from cold feet.

Where and when to practise? Whenever you practise Yoga, avoid eating for at least two hours beforehand. Morning practice helps to loosen up stiff joints and muscles. Evening practice relieves the tension of the day. Set aside time to practise when you will not be disturbed and even if the sessions are short - take your time.

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