A Yoga class is an exercise workout unlike any other. The popular image of Yoga is that it helps flexibility — and it will — plus also strength, posture and balance. What's more Yoga is done with a particular way of breathing, which helps calm the mind and promote easier stronger breath. But none of these is really the goal.
So what is? Some people might say awareness. Awareness of the shape of our body and whether it's right; of which muscles are working, which are relaxing, and what changes would benefit us; of our breath; of how much we are challenging our body and whether it's safe; of how our mind is responding to this challenge — is it still calm?
However I would argue that there isn't actually a goal to Yoga at all. Yoga is about just coming along and doing Yoga - yes of course with awareness, but not striving for it. Any goal can create expectations, desires, disappointment and ego. There is so much striving, competition, goals and deadlines in our modern life — but our minds have not evolved to be healthy like this all the time. If you dedicate even just a little of your time to just being with Yoga and accepting whatever happens, you might be amazed how it can calm your mind.
I teach for Edinburgh University Yoga Society. The classes are members only, but you can become a member for just £10 even if you are not a student. Classes have now finished for the current academic year.
If you are interested in a Yoga retreat in the sun, I highly recommend the beautiful, tranquil Eco-Yoga centre Yoga Holidays Portugal. I led a week there in September 2017 and hope to go back again next year.
I write regular articles with sequences you can practise at home, and information about Yoga. The articles relate to the themes in my classes, but please enjoy the benefits of them even if you don't come to my class.