The Basics of Yoga
Yoga is an ancient system of health and wellbeing that has become extremely popular in the west. Traditionally, yoga was used as a means of spiritual enlightment, nowadays, yoga is generally considered as a form of healthy exercise.
The word "yoga" originates from the Sanskrit language root yuj meaning to yoka, join together as one, union.
Hatha yoga, is the generic term used to describe the different types of yoga and is the most popular type practiced in the west. The word "Hatha" is made up of "Ha" - sun and "that" - moon. So, Hatha yoga literally means sun and moon joining together as one. The sun and moon represents the masculine (sun) and feminine (moon/lunar) principles as the opposing polarities of life. For example, black and white, heaven and earth, active and passive, expansion and contraction, in and out. This emphasis on polarising opposites represents the duality of nature and the human desire to seek union, wholeness and balance between the mind, body and soul. When these are in balance, you have perfect health, energy and vitality
In the west, Hatha yoga is generally concerned with the more physical aspects of yoga, the postures (known as asana) Classes include relaxation, postures, pranayama (breathing practices) and deep relaxation. Some teachers also include meditation and chanting in the class