“Yoga” is a Sanskrit word meaning “union” – union of the individual self with the transcendent self. The word yoga signifies both the way to discovery of the essential nature of who we are, and union with it. Yoga philosophy was systematized some 2,000 years ago by the sage Patanjali in a single work, the Yoga Sutras, recognized as the authoritative text on yoga, and an extensive road-map of consciousness. The system of yoga is comprised of eight limbs: universal ethical principles (yamas), personal conduct (niyamas), the physical practices (asana), the practice of breathing techniques (pranayama), withdrawl of the senses (pratyahara), concentration of the mind (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and absorption in the Infinite (samadi).
Hatha yoga is an ancient system for expanding awareness through opening and extending the body while cultivating inner stillness. Your body is gently stretched, strengthened, and balanced while learning to direct your breath and quiet your mind. The physical postures (asanas) of yoga affect and penetrate every joint, muscle group, system, organ, and gland, inviting change at the cellular level. The movements and extensions in the postures, including the positioning of the inner organs in the inverted poses, have a profound effect on how the body functions. The body is oxygenated, filled with healthy blood, cleansed, nourished and renewed. Stamina, lung capacity, heart performance, muscle tone, circulation, and respiration all improve.
The mastery of the postures occurs when the poses are experienced with stability, relaxed attention, and effortless action. When there is no break in the flow of energy and attention, and awareness moves from an outer awareness of the form, to a deep inner awareness of the pose and the self. The openness and ease of your body, the pace and quality of your breathing, and the calm of your mind can create the optimal conditions for health and well being.