Yoga

Yoga has enjoyed a huge surge in popularity - it is now part of the mainstream. For most people in the West, yoga is a system of exercise - something to tone the body, help with stress levels and provide some gentle stretches for relaxation. There are many types of yoga class available; nearly all will be based primarily on exercise (in Sanskrit, these postures are called asana). Some classes will be very gentle; others will be a full aerobic workout.

But the term itself originated in ancient India and has a much broader meaning in its original usage. Posture work is only one of yoga's many aspects, albeit the one that most people are now drawn towards. Yoga has two main connotations:

1. A technique for uniting, bringing together, linking. This necessitates at least 2 different entities to unite. At a practical level, we could unite our breathing, our movements and our attention to create a state of yoga.

2. Yoga can also be seen as a tool for refining our minds, a way of developing attention and helping the internal chatter to quieten to stillness. This then enables a clearer view of life; one that is less coloured by our mind states. The tools used in yoga to quieten the mind include careful use of our energy, including breath, refining our attention and releasing tensions through posture and movement. Other tools can include sound, chants, study, reflection and the cultivation of meditative states.

We aim to respect both the original meanings of the term yoga refining the attention and promoting a healthy union of mind, body and breath.

Viniyoga

"Viniyoga" is an ancient Sanskrit word that means "appropriate application" - and as such is not specific to yoga. In fact, you could have a viniyoga of cooking, or plumbing, or any body of knowledge.

A Viniyoga approach aims to appropriately apply the many tools of yoga to an individual's specific circumstances - respecting their unique condition, needs and interest.

The hallmarks of this particular approach are:

  • careful attention to and precise application of the breath
  • adaptation of posture
  • dynamic as well as static posture work
  • careful sequencing of postures

The term refers to the teachings that have evolved out of those transmitted by T.K.V. Desikachar and his father T. Krishnamacharya of Chennai, India.