Why do we chant?

Chanting is more than just a lovely way to start and finish a yoga class.  The sound ‘OM’ is considered the universal sound, encompassing three elements: creation (A), preservation (U) and destruction (M); hence the sound A+U (O) and M.  OM is the most commonly used mantra or chant, derived from the ancient Sanskrit language.  […]

A Brief History of the Role of Postures in Yoga

In the western world, we usually equate ‘Asana’ (postures) with ‘Yoga’ and the primary aim of people that come a yoga class is either to become more flexible, stronger or lose weight.  However, for some there is also the aspect of ‘stress relief’, so there must be something more to yoga than just the physical […]

The Yamas and Niyamas in a Nutshell

The Yamas and Niyamas are the first two parts of Patanjali’s yoga of 8-limbs.   The ‘Yamas’ are principles to develop disciplines that helps us interact mindfully with the outside world: 1)     Ahimsa: non-harming, including ourselves; developing a sensitivity to all living beings 2)     Satya: truthfulness; being honest but not hurtful with your words 3)     […]

Can I Practice Yoga after an Injury or Operation?

As with all physical and mental conditions, you have to rely on the medical advice of your doctor.  If he/she suggests that yoga would be beneficial in to the recovery of your condition, there shouldn’t be a reason not to practice.  However, it is critically important that you let the teacher know about your condition […]

Can I Do Yoga If I’m Not Flexible?

There are no prerequisites or restrictions with regard to who can or cannot do yoga.  It is a common misconception that you have to ‘twist like a pretzel’ to do yoga.  In fact, yoga is suitable for everybody, regardless of age, gender or physical ability.  If truth be told, one of the big lessons in […]

What Makes Yoga Different from Stretching?

Yoga postures (asana) are more than stretching exercises – at the most basic level, they do not only stretch your muscles, but open locked up joints and improve core strength.  On a deeper level, Yoga requires your undivided focus as the aim is to coordinate movement with breath.  Through the combination of postures that allow […]

Is Yoga a Religion?

Yoga is a philosophy not a religion, its historical origins are deeply rooted in the ancient Indian cultural traditions associated with Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.  As such, while yoga does have rituals and spiritual texts associated with its heritage, it does not have exclusive doctrines that preclude any religion.  The aim of yoga is to […]

Back Pain Truths and Dispelling Myths

Have you ever wondered about the connection between your emotional state (e.g. stress) and how your body responds (e.g. back pain)?  Have you had chronic pain but with no luck getting a concrete diagnosis?   This article by James Bone sheds some light on what “pain” is, some common misconceptions, how the media plays a role […]