What is Classical Hatha Yoga?
Classical Hatha Yoga (CHY) is the path of yoga giving first attention to the physical body. There are many names behind yoga practice and it is easy to get lost in this. Yoga literally means 'union' and has four paths.
Raja yoga focuses primarily on the mind. The mind is perceived as the 'Ruler/King/Royal' of the psycho-physical structure, which is constantly working whether we realise it or not.
A good command of self-discipline is required of the self to maintain the union with the mind & body. This helps to keep a good balance of physical and mental wellbeing.
Although Yoga helps to grow and maintain flexibility, the ability to do difficult postures is not necessary, our main concern is to focus and be aware of the body and the breath. A good comprehension is needed of the anatomical and physiological principles of each asana. This will enable us to grow and improve our practise with time. Expectation should be realistic and not overinflated.
Try to make a mental note of how your first session goes and even keep a diary, as it is important not to ask too much of yourself. The CHY sequence is a great way of tracking your progress, as each week goes by you will soon notice your body becoming much more pliable and stronger, you will notice muscle tone and posture improve, which will encourage you to continue.
The 5 principles of Yoga
1. Equitable Exercise - Asana
Keeping the union between the mind and body healthy requires regular excercise, focus and attention. Yoga Asanas work the whole body inside and out.
3. Regular Relaxation - Shavasana
Physical exercise is important for us to remain healthy, however it is also important to rest. Often at the beginning of a Yoga session a short relaxation period is taken to help still the mind and body in preparation, a longer period of rest, relaxation and stilling of the mind is required at the end of your practise in order for the body to gain the best benefit from the excercise. During this time the body begins to rebuild cell by cell from the very core of your being.
4. Appropriate Diet - Vegetarian/Good Balanced Diet
Much has been written of the attention we must pay to our diet. You have heard the saying 'You are what you eat'!. Whilst maintaining a vegetarian diet can be healthy, this is of course part of the Jain belief (Non Violence) and as long as you eat a well-balanced diet it is not necessary to follow a strict vegetarian diet, it is merely suggestive.
5. Positive Thinking & Meditation - Quietening of the mind
We all know that our thought process can affect our feeling and in turn our actions. I would like to share a quote with you which has stuck with me for many years. "If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment" Marcus Aurelius (121-180) Roman Emperor