Yoga for everyBODY
As part of your treatment plan, Osteopaths will often prescribe yoga postures to help enhance your rehabilitation. But what exactly is yoga? This international yoga day, we asked Charlotte England (Anusara inspired, pre and postnatal, toddler and preschool yoga teacher) for her take on yoga philosophy and practice.
What does yoga mean?
The word ‘yoga’ means to connect, unite or ‘yoke’. The aim is to connect to the true Self, the ‘divine essence’, ‘ultimate self’, or atman. You may also think of this as the soul.
‘Yoga’ can also mean separation or disentanglement. Disentangling from whatever stops us from feeling free, since the ultimate goal of any yoga practice is ‘moksha’ or liberation/freedom.
How do we get to this state of liberation or freedom you might ask? According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, there is an eight-fold path leading to liberation, known as ‘Ashtanga’ or the ‘Eight Limbs of Yoga’. These eight steps provide a set of guidelines on how to live a meaningful, purposeful life. Describing moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline, directing attention toward our health and spiritual aspects of our nature.
Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga:
Yamas – Restraints, moral disciplines or moral vows
Niyamas – Positive duties or observances
Asana – Physical postures
Pranayama – Breathing techniques
Pratyahara – Sense withdrawal
Dharana – Concentration
Dyana – Meditation
Samadhi – Enlightenment
So what is a yoga practice?
Your yoga practice could be anything from simply lying down in a quiet space (we call it savasana, my absolute favourite part of class!). Giving yourself uninterrupted time to just be, to breathe and be still. Some days you may want to challenge yourself, others you may want to take it easy. Learning to go with the flow, from one conscious moment to the next is what we practice in yoga, acknowledging where we are without judgement, to honour our own needs, everyday.
There are some great books and online resources for those without their own practice to follow. Attending a yoga class in person or online is an excellent way to enjoy a practice with a teacher who can safely guide you through an appropriate sequence of poses.
Yoga is for everybody, and the great thing is that you can practice anywhere, anyway you choose. It’s an accessible, beneficial way to enhance your health and wellbeing. Whatever your age, body type, gender, ethnicity… yoga is for you.
“With a solid sense of self, an anchoring in your own breath, love and energy will overflow from your heart, filling up the world around you too.”
However you choose to practice yoga, by making time for yourself and showing up regularly, you’re cultivating a sense of empowered self belief and trust in your own intuition. With a solid sense of self, an anchoring in your own breath, love and energy will overflow from your heart, filling up the world around you too.
Yoga, after all, is all about deepening your relationship with yourself, about loving yourself more, understanding what you need in any moment, respecting your boundaries and celebrating your own unique self exactly as it is without trying to change or compromise any part of you. Yin and yang, masculine and feminine, dark and light. Accepting everything that you are, with love and grace.
This international yoga day, we invite you to get moving in whatever way feels good for you!
Listen, breathe and move, it’s all yoga.
We have a full library of stretches on our website, which you may already be familiar with – click here for full details.
Happy international yoga day everyone!