13 Sep 2018

Yoga Demystified. Part 1

Nicolette Wilson Clarke
Image by Scentered - natural aromatherapy products

Nicolette Wilson-Clarke, Award Winning Master Coach to Creative Entrepreneurs / Senior Yoga Teacher gives us the low down on Yoga. What it is, a brief overview and history and why we need it!

As we spiral deeper into a digital age of smaller, faster and “I want it yesterday!” we become further removed from our thoughts. We download, pre-programme and plug ourselves into all sorts of distractions from real life and deliberately fill our mental gaps to avoid hearing ourselves think. We spend more time interfacing than interacting and wonder why we often feel lost and confused about life.

Yoga has been a buzz word for some time now and it means different things to different people. This causes confusion as to what yoga really is with some using it physically to lose weight or become stronger whilst others using it mentally or spiritually to quieten their mind and get to know themselves.

In fact, it serves all of these needs and more.

What is Yoga?
Yoga’s a way of life; a philosophy; a code of conduct; freedom of the mind; a guide to how to live a fulfilled life. 

It teaches you how to come back to yourself, to know your limits, to have courage to expand your boundaries and to truly relax into who you are.

Think about an ill-fitting suit and hat where the trousers are too tight causing physical discomfort and the jacket restricts your upper body causing physical contortion and adaptive responses. The pinching hat would cause reduced blood flow to the brain resulting in headaches, unclear thinking and maybe even rash decision making.
The long term negative impact on you?  Let’s start with degrees of unhappiness and discontent. 

On the other hand, if we had a well fitted suit and hat we could think better, make more conscious positive decisions and move so much more freely.  This liberated state is the essence of yoga – freedom - from the chains of our mind. These days, we spend most days hunched over our computers or laptops bombarded with a plethora of sights and sounds. Often we hardly breathe.

Yes, we need yoga!

Finding a moment to come back to ourselves away from the surrounding daily chaos can encourage internal re-balancing, harmony and integration.

The Rt Hon Dalai Lama suggests that the true purpose of life is happiness. Yoga can gift this to us so that we can comfortably wear our suits and hats with grace and ease.

A Brief Overview of the History of Yoga

Around 2,500 years ago, a book called Yoga Sutras was written by Patanjali.  It was the first documentation of yoga and explained how to live a fulfilled life.  Yoga means to unite, to yoke, join or connect and Patanjali defined yoga as chitta-vritti-nirohdah meaning the stilling of the mind when mind, body and spirit are one.

Today, many people find yoga through the portal of the physical postures however there are other ways to access it.  Patanjali described yoga as consisting of eight limbs;

- Codes of Conduct for oneself
- Codes of Conduct towards others
- Physical Practice
- Breathing Exercises
- Sense Withdrawal
- Concentration
- Meditation
- Enlightenment

The Yoga Sutras teach that by observing these practices we can gain control over our thoughts and therefore quieten (still) the mind – yoga’s objective.

In "Yoga, Demystified. Part 2", Nicolette will explain the different types of yoga and how to find which yoga works for you.

About the Writer
Nicolette Wilson-Clarke is an Award Winning Master Coach to Creative Entrepreneurs / Senior Yoga Teacher

www.embodiedentrepreneur.co.uk / +44 7957 319117

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