Information on the Classes Available
Yoga (Hatha Yoga) / Feldenkrais Method / Align and Flow Yoga / Asthanga (modified primary series) / Flow Yoga / Kundalini Yoga / Restorative/Recuperative Yoga / Yin Yoga / Yoga for Teenagers / Yoga for autism / Classical Pilates Mat / Meditation Sessions / Qigong/ Tai Chi / Egyptian Bellydance / Gong Bath Meditation
What is Yoga?
Yoga can mean many things to many people. To some it may be a lifestyle, a spiritual path, a philosophy, or a science. To others it may simply be a system of exercise, or way to relax after a stressful day.
The word ‘Yoga’ means ‘union’, ‘yoke’, or ‘joining together’. The union of the individual soul with the ‘Universal Spirit’. Or, on a more Western level, it is the union of the body with the mind and of the mind with the spirit. Yoga is about the balancing of the mind and the body using the breath. Yoga is in fact a ‘state’ of being – the state of ‘samadi’ a state of ‘meditation’, or ‘being totally at one with the Self’.
The science of yoga is divided into several branches – the best known are ‘Karma Yoga’ – the yoga of action, Jnana Yoga – the yoga of knowledge/wisdom, Raja Yoga – the yoga of enlightenment/meditation and Hatha yoga – the yoga that is the path to Raja Yoga.
Yoga arose at the beginning of human civilisation, when man first realised his spiritual potential. In ancient time yoga techniques were kept secret, not written down, but passed on from teacher to student by word of mouth. References to yoga were first found in texts which date back to hundreds of years B.C. We need to remember that the origins of yoga are centuries old when ways of life were vastly removed from ours today and the lives we now lead. Today we tend to practise asanas, (postures) and pranayama (breathing) for the practical benefits to the health and the nervous system, glands, vital organs, muscles and joints etc, rather that in search for higher self enlightenment and we really only skim the surface of true yoga.
At Yoga for Harmony we offer classes in a wide range of systems and styles of ‘modern’ yoga, although we specialise in Hatha Yoga. We also offer some other related disciplines. There are details of our classes listed below.
‘Hatha’ Yoga is the system of yoga most commonly practised in the West and it arguably forms the basis of most of the modern yogas that are practised today. Hatha Yoga is the branch of yoga that deals with the physical body, its care, its well being, its health, its strength and all that keeps it in normal state of health. Hatha yoga is sometimes decribed as ‘posture’ yoga because of its emphasis in the use of ‘asana’ or posture work as the core practise. However, most classes include some attention to breathing (pranayama), relaxation and meditation techniques. Some classes also include ‘kriyas’ which are cleansing practises, ‘mudras’ and ‘bandhas’ which are gestures, seals and locks which increase the effects of the asana practises.
The Sanskritt workd ‘Hatha’ means ‘the will’, ‘the force’, ‘power’, or ‘energy. It also means ‘sun/moon’ the implication being that hatha yoga is also the union of complementary, but opposite tendencies with the mind and body.
‘Hatha’ yoga particularly focuses on spinal health, which houses the central nervous system, the essential link between body and mind. The spine is fundamental to good posture. Too often we spend our daily life sitting hunched over a desk, or driving in an uncomfortable position. Stress can create tension throughout the whole body and result in poor spinal health. Most of us are, therefore, susceptible to varying degrees of back discomfort, or pain. A collapsed or hunched spine also compresses the lungs, reducing our intake of oxygen, which in turn can manifest in other health problems later in life. The benefits of a regular yoga practise enhances our spinal health, respiratory health, the cardiovascular system, the endocrine system, the digestive system the nervous system and the immune system. In addition we find that students gain both in flexibily and mobility as well as strength and often general toning of the body.
At the studio we offer a range of Hatha Yoga classes to suit all ages, abilities and experience, and at a selection of times during the week. Typically at a class you can expect to experience some breathing practise, some posture work and some relaxation.
Align and Flow Yoga
A fun and challenging mix of vinyasa and alignment yoga, this class is designed to cultivate focus, stamina, strength, and flexibility. Form & flow offers alignment direction within the flow of posture and breath. Come prepared for an energising class that will also leave you feeling relaxed.
Ashtanga is an incredibly powerful and therapeutic practice that has the potential to create a vibrantly healthy body and ultimately calm the mind.
At the heart of this practice is breath synchronised with movement to create a dynamic flow, so be prepared to work hard and expect to get a little sweaty as the focus on one of the tools ‘ujjayi breath’ will generate an intense internal heat as you move around the mat.
The Primary Series is a set sequence of postures designed to bring strength, flexibility, and endurance to the body. It is designed to purify the body through the breath and the movement to invoke a stillness of the mind.
This class follows the traditional format of the Ashtanga Primary Series – sun salutations, standing poses, seated poses, and closing sequence poses. Class ends with shavasana (relaxation).
In Vinyasa, meaning “breath-synchronized movement,” the guides you from one pose to the next, following your breath bringing an inner aliveness into your body, mind and spirit.
Kundalini yoga is known as the yoga of awareness. Of the recognised forms of yoga it is said to be the original complete form, and the most comprehensive. It encompasses asana (physical postures), chanting mantra (repetition of primal sounds), meditation, and breath. For this reason it is known to be one of the fastest and most potent systems of personal transformation and spiritual growth. It balances the glandular system, strengthens the nervous system, expands the lung capacity, and purifies the bloodstream. It trains the mind to think positively and be in control of thoughts and attitudes. It builds inner strength and self- awareness to its maximum, assisting us in reaching our highest potential.
The word Kundalini is derived from the word “kundal “, which means “the curl of the lock of hair of the beloved”. It is a metaphor, a poetic way of describing the flow of energy and consciousness that already exists within each one of us. Kundalini yoga explores our dimensions, depth, nature, and potential as human beings, and enables us to experience our infinite selves, our true nature, our spiritual essence.
Kundalini yoga was brought to the West in the 1960s by Yogi Bajan, who blended the ancient science with contemporary elements into a format for the Aquarian age. It is ideal for today’s society, as it is designed for the active, everyday person with normal responsibilities of work, family and school.
Kundalini yoga is practiced in the form of kriya. Each kriya is a set of postures, breath and meditations designed to allow the manifestation of a particular state. Many of the postures involve movement, and the emphasis is on the overall energy and dynamics of the posture rather than on precision.
A typical Kundalini yoga class will include chanting a mantra to “tune in”, breathing and warm-up exercises, the main kriya, a meditation (with or without mantra) and deep relaxation. A class always closes with a beautiful song of blessing, known as “The Sunshine Song”, sung or recited in English
Full details to follow
Restorative Yoga is a therapeutic and self-nurturing style of yoga which utilizes props to make it easier for the body to get into certain poses, and thus, surrender to the pose. Practicing poses using props provides a completely supportive environment for total relaxation. The more your body is supported in the poses the deeper the sense of relaxation. Relaxation is a state in which there is no movement, no effort, and the brain is quiet. Typically, Restorative poses are sustained for between six to ten minutes or for as long as you are comfortable.
Restorative yoga focuses on relaxation, renewal, effortlessness and ease. Blankets, bolsters, straps, and other props safely support the body in various postures which allows you to move towards a state of balance. This practice soothes the nervous system, helps quieten the mind and invites a release of deeply held tension.
Restorative poses also cultivate the habit of attention. The mind focusing on the breath and when you notice your mind wandering, bringing it back to the breath. You can also focus on where and how you hold tension, then use the breath as a tool to release the tension. During these periods of deep relaxation and conscious ‘letting go’ you will experience the wonderful sensation of being nurtured from deep within.
Yin Yoga has become known as the ‘quiet profound practice’. We hold poses passively for a longer period of time. This style of practice stimulates the energy-rich connective tissue of the body while developing mindful awareness. Yin practice is a valuable and necessary complement to stronger forms of yoga, fitness and sports as well as a being a powerful antidote to stressful, busy lifestyles.
Suitable for: Unsporty, very sporty or semi-sporty students
You will learn to: Relax, regulate your emotions, increase self -steem, focus, decrease anxiety, be confident, increase fitness, and raise mood, increase flexibility whilst supporting growth and strength.
The class is dynamic, friendly, designed around breathing techniques, specific stretches, flowing sequences, relaxation with visualisation in ‘Cool Music’. You will have the opportunity to work with the teacher to design your personal routine and make your music to practise in class if you wish.
Yoga for autism addresses characteristics of autism such as heightened anxiety, poor motor coordination and helps regulate the sensory system. Yoga strategies can easily be incorporated into daily routines and existing educational goals. By becoming aware of their bodies and aware of their breathing, yoga provides autistic children with the ability to cope when they start to feel anxious or upset. The breathing techniques and guided visualization assist by reducing stress, teaching coping techniques, and providing a sense of calm and acceptance. Once a child has learned some of these elements they can use them anytime, anywhere. The class is friendly, fun and customised to the child.
Theses classes are by appointment only with Katia and are subject to availability of the studio and the tutor. To book a class contact Katia on 07880 555 949 – visit our web site www.yoga4kids123.co.uk – send your enquiry to: email@example.com
Classical Pilates (meaning original to Joseph Pilates teachings), works the body from the inside out. Strengthening the core muscles deep within the body first creates stability. Once the core is stable you can safely work the full body bringing it into correct alignment. Pilates reshapes the body, which will become leaner and longer, improving your posture, achieving the perfect balance of strength and flexibility. This Pilates Mat Class will focus on executing movements with good techniques and correct breathing to maximize your workout.
Meditation means to Attend to the Here and Now!!
Its purpose is to:
- Calm and focus the mind resulting in awareness, clarity and a sense of joyfulness – a natural release from nerves and mental symtoms of stress.
- Teach us how not to be disturbed by the flood of thoughts, images and emotions arising from the unconscious mind.
- Go beyond the conscious and unconscious mind to the highest state of consciousness – to connect with our inner teacher, essential nature and realize our true potential.
The aim of the sessions are to introduce, guide and practice the methods, as taught and inspired by the teachings of Swami Rama and The Himalayan Tradition, which facilitate the skills necessary to be able to Meditate.
Steps of a meditation session will include:
- Preparation, philosophical framework and application to everyday life.
- Yoga Asanas to release tension in the body and prepare for sitting in Meditation.
- Breathe Awareness/Pranayama.
The specific content of each step and session will depend on the needs and inclinations of those attending.
‘Meditation means gathering the forces of our scattered minds so that they become channels of concentrated energy to help accomplish whatever it is that we seek to accomplish with our lives’. Swami Veda Bharati
The nurturing sound vibrations created by the Gong and singing bowls will transport you to a place of deep relaxation. It is in this state that the vibrations can work their magic through your mind, body and soul, releasing physical and emotional blockages.
This experience is a beautiful way to begin to let go of that which is no longer serving you. The tones created are often a useful distraction from the activities of the mind….so if you are new to meditation, or find that you are easily distracted…then this workshop could be the perfect fit for you.
The session will begin with Pranayama to steady the mind and balance the energy of your body….then you will be asked to relax in whatever position is most comfortable to your body…and you will be transported to wherever it is you need to go.
Feldenkrais is a way to re-educate the body’s movement patterns using subtle but powerful combinations of movements to access and change the years of habits that comprise our normal posture and way of using ourselves. Group classes are called Awareness through Movement classes and are generally mat based lying on the floor, although some classes take place in sitting, standing and walking. The movements in the classes help students to discover easier and more efficient ways of moving, which can indirectly provide increased strength or range of movement without having worked to build muscles or to stretch them.
Attention to internal experience is a large part of the method and as such there are similarities to some martial arts but without a set external form that is practiced. The Feldenkrais method can change deep-seated movement habits and as such can improve balance, performance in sports or quality of movement in dance. Feldenkrais can provide relief from muscular pain or tension and is particularly helpful in preventing reocurring injuries caused by our habitual ways of moving.
The method can be applied at many levels, from rehabilition for stroke victims to fine tuning movement for professional musicians and is particularly useful for sportspeople, dancers, musicians and actors. Classes normally focus on a specific theme such as connection with the ground or spinal rotation and there is a huge variety in topics. The movements are exploratory, varied and often playful with the overall class creating a sense of relaxation and ease as well as leading to improved posture and movement. In the words of the founder of the method, Dr Moshe Feldenkrais, the method is about “making the impossible possible, the possible easy and the easy elegant”.
Qigong/ Tai Chi
Qigong is a holistic system of self-healing exercises and meditation, an ancient evolving practice, based on the Taoist principles of Yin and Yang. Tai Chi is a form of Qigong and is a moving meditation, a series of movements grouped together to make the ‘form’. Qigong and Tai Chi exercises focus on the mind, posture, breathing and movement stimulating the flow of Qi along the meridians.
- Increase internal strength
- Improve co-ordination, balance, flexibility, and mobility
- Reduce hypertension, improve immune system
- Strengthen bones and tone up muscles
- Relax the mind and calm the nervous system