Yoga - It's all in the breath





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E R R O R.

Metta Yoga. Good Morning, Yoga comes from an Indian word meaning to unite. Yoga is a means of restoring a healthier balance to body and mind so that you are better able to cope with the stresses and strains of modern life.

Yoga (exercises) re-align, purify and strengthen the body, mind and spirit. Practices begin with the outermost aspect of the personality - the physical body. Asanas help to keep the body healthy by removing tensions and massaging the internal organs, thereby improving their function and giving greater flexibility to the spine, muscles and joints. Yoga's roots are an ancient systems first documented well over 2,000 years ago. Yoga aims to improve balance both physically and mentally.

All true forms of yoga comprise 3 elements

1. Pranayama (breathing)
2. Asanas (postures)
3. Dhyana (meditation)


Yoga practice begins with the outermost aspect of our form, the body. Asanas (set movements) help to keep the body healthy by removing tensions and massaging the internal organs, thereby improving their function and giving greater flexibility to the spine, muscles and joints. 

The Sun Salutation

There are 24 movements comprising of 12 on the right side and 12 on the left side. The Sun Salutation is not considered as asanas because it is a dynamic movement exercise. Asanas are static. The Sun Salutation is an excellent warm up exercise which should not be left out and can ideally follow a brief medative sitting 'arrival stage'. The sun salutation warms each part of the body prior to starting to practice each of the asanas (Within Astanga these movements are often referred to as part of the Primary Series). When working in a general open class, a shorter session of about 7 right and 7 left side salutations are practiced. In advanced classes you can normally expect to perform around 10 - 12. The important thing is each movement should be synchronising with the breath, and the breathing should be deep and slow. Virtually all Yoga is practiced with strong emphasis on breathing in relationship with the movement into the posture or pose - Asana.


Pranayama is the exercise of the breath. Breathing techniques are important within Yoga not only for improving the supply of oxygen to the body but also for strengthening the lungs, but the way we breath also has a direct effect on the brain and emotions, balancing the nervous system and putting us in touch with deeper energies and many other aspects of our being. 

There are many types or forms of Yoga, here is a brief description of some.

Astanga Vinyasa

Astanga (Ashtanga) Vinyasa Yoga or Power Yoga as it is often known as in the USA has become very popular in the UK over the past few years. It is a fairly physically demanding form of yoga which leads to the following and "performance" of set movements which are known as the Primary Series. Specifically seeking to unify the actions of body, breath and mind by linking movement and breath.

Astanga Yoga is often criticised as being far to energetic rather than contemplative and is perhaps described as more of a fitness regime rather than a pure form of Yoga, this criticism may have some justification if the movements and postures are not taught correctly. If taking up Astanga without any previous experience of Yoga it is advisable to work with a well qualified teacher who has many years of experience. It is important to really listen to the safety advise, otherwise serious damage may result, especially to knee and hip joints.

The purpose is said to dissolve or burn away the six poisons:
Kama- desire
Krodha - anger
Moha - delusion
Lobha - greed
Matsarya - envy
Mada sloth.  See also The eight fold noble path (Buddhist philosophy)

Bhakti Yoga


This form of exercise is based on 26 yoga postures and is practiced in a specially heated room. Bikram consists of around 26 movements which run in a set order over about 90 minutes. Bikram  is relatively new to the UK and is the subject of some controversy, in part connected with claimed legal ownership of the movements. It needs to be practiced within a specially heated space. Many refer to Bikram as a purely physical exercise practice. This is a hot topic in the Yoga Forum

Hatha Yoga

Usually considered as a name for general yoga and often considered as an all encompassing form which includes movement, breath and alignment, focusing equally on each.

We have made available via download an interesting book titled "Hatha Yoga" - "The Yogi Philosophy of Physical Well-Being" which was written in 1904 by "Yogi Ramacharaka" which can be downloaded free and read on screen or printed. Although some of the language is dated and hence might add some humour the book also offers some considerable guidance and insight into the true nature of Yoga Practice and the care we can take of our selves. - MORE.

Iyangar Yoga

The Iyengar method of yoga uses a variety of props to enable students to achieve the best possible position in the asanas, so making it accessible to the stiffest and un practiced person of any age. Exercises are graded to ensure safe progression from complete beginner to competent yogi.

Jnana Yoga

Karma Yoga

Loosely translated means "working with awareness". The integration of yoga into daily work, breath and movement used to benefit the whole body during daily life without the need for any reward, gratitude or reward, whilst being totally in the moment, this is the ideal of Karma Yoga.

Kriya yogas

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini yoga is used to open the Chakras (energy centres).

Laya Yoga

Mantra Yoga

Raja Yoga

Is focused on the art of concentration techniques for the mind

Sivananda Yoga

Tantra Yoga






Yoga Books

Hatha Yoga
(The Yogi Philosophy of Physical Well-Being)
Yogi Ramacharaka

Hatha Yoga. (pdf Book).

Free to download. This is a wonderful opportunity. This is gem of an old Yoga book on healthy living, diet and personal hygiene! It covers in some detail; correct breathing, relaxation, and even postures within daily life. Although Hatha Yoga was written just over a hundred years ago, its teachings are as accurate today as they were then and may offer some insight into just how diminished some yoga practices have become in recent years. Much of this book may well be very revealing to modern students.

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