Cambridge Thai Massage & Yoga
Sivananda Hatha Yoga
Our main yoga teachings are from Sivananda Hatha Yoga, named after the teachings of Swami Sivananda and brought to the West in the 1950s by Swami Vishnu-Devananda. This a form of hatha yoga in which the training focuses on preserving the health and wellness of the practitioner. Practice revolves around frequent relaxation, and emphasizes full, yogic breathing.
The Sivananda system aims to retain the vitality of the person, slow the ageing process and decrease the chance of disease, by simply and naturally cultivating the body. The system is often summarised into 5 key areas: 1. Proper breathing (Pranayama), 2. Proper exercise (Asanas), 3. Proper relaxation (Savasana), 4.Proper diet (A yogic vegetarian diet) and 5. Positive thinking and meditation (Vedanta and Dhyana). Although each area in itself is worthwhile, all 5 in combination should be aimed for to truly benefit from yoga. A Sivananda class will focus on Pranayama, Asanas and Savasana, with advice given on other areas as appropriate. Kriyas are also studied - these are techniques used for cleansing the body.
A typical class will begin with a period of relaxation, then at least one breathing exercise. This will be followed by a warm-up (sun-salutations) and then 12 key postures that are designed to work on all areas of the body, through stretching and lengthening, applying pressure in twists, turning the body upside down or holding still in balances. The practice ends with a long relaxation to enable individuals to let go deeply at a subconscious level.
These physical exercises develop not only the body but also broaden us mentally and spiritually, however, the initial focus is simply to increase flexibility. The body is as young as it is flexible and yoga exercises focus on the health of the spine. By maintaining the spine's flexibility and strength through exercise, our circulation is increased and the nerves are ensured their supply of nutrients and oxygen. Added to this are the yogic breathing techniques which encourage us to breathe deeply, fully oxygenating the body to help combat disease, release tension and improve energy and mind. Finally, the regular practice of yogic relaxation allows both the body and mind to let-go of stress and re-charge. We gain a greater sense of ourselves and a feeling of peace. And simply, the more peaceful people there are, the more peaceful the world.
Health is wealth. Peace of mind is happiness. Yoga shows the way.
Yoga and Religion
Yoga is not a religion. It is a practice that helps the individual towards total health, freeing them up to be able to realise and pursue their life's true purpose.
Followers of religion who also practice yoga, report that their practice has helped them deepen their spiritual connection and does not conflict with their faith.
One of the main texts from the Sivananda Vedanta Centre is The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga, which states:
"Moreover, Yoga philosophy does not quarrel with any religion or faith and can be practiced by anyone who is sincere and willing to search for the truth. There is no vague
doctrine involved. Even comparatively little effort will bring immense returns of knowledge, strength, and peace."
Yoga is about breaking down barriers and creating peace. Simply, the more peaceful individuals we have in the world, the better our world will be.
Yoga and Sport
Many students come to yoga to help improve their bodies to enhance their sporting performance, protect against injury or rehabilitate after being injured. Individuals can improve flexibility, employ better breathing techniques, develop balance and strengthen endurance and mental determination.
Yoga is a fantastic place to start for those wishing to get into physical exercise and it is a powerful tool for those who want to develop their abilities further.
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