What do yoga and ice cream have in common?
Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar, Yin, Kundalini, Slow Flow, Svaroopa® Yoga, Hot Yoga, Laughter Yoga, Wine Yoga and even Doga (dog yoga…yes, it’s a real thing!). These days there are so many different types of yoga that deciding on the most suitable one for you can seem more difficult than the impossible choice of selecting the right flavor of ice cream on a hot summer’s day. So, how do you go about working out which one is for you?
The history of yoga is difficult to trace, however, some evidence suggests that it dates all the way back to 2700BC (http://www.mea.gov.in/in-focus-article.htm?25096/Yoga+Its+Origin+History+and+Development). Since its introduction to the West, yoga’s popularity has been on the increase, with a recent Roy Morgan survey indicating that the proportion of Australians that participate in yoga has more than doubled – from 5% up to 11% – in the past decade (http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/7004-yoga-is-the-fastest-growing-sport-or-fitness-activity-in-australia-june-2016-201610131055). At nearly 2 million people, that’s a lot of yogis!
Modern yoga has evolved into the many and varied forms that we see today. Rather than discuss which types constitute ‘real’ or “legitimate” yoga, which is a common debate, why not look at the many and varied choices for the modern yogi as a positive? Perhaps we should consider that we are lucky to be spoilt for choice; with a vast range of yoga options to choose from, there is something for everyone! For example, if you’re after an energising practice that will get your heart rate up, then the flowing Vinyasa may be for you. Maybe you’ve had a hectic week and you want the opportunity to slow down and connect deeply with a more meditative practice, in which case Yin may do the trick. If you feel like moving a little but also embracing more static poses, then Hatha might be your thing. And if you are looking to release deep tensions from your body and mind, then heading to a Svaroopa® Yoga class may serve you best.
Allow your curiosity to guide you and experiment with different styles of yoga. Before choosing a class, check in with what will serve you best, on that given day, at this stage in your life, with your current physical state, your mental load, and levels of stress and energy. There are elements in each type of yoga that will suit different people, which is a beautiful thing.
So, whether you come to your mat to manage an injury, de-stress, work up a sweat, turn yourself into a pretzel or advance on your spiritual path, it is almost certain that the magic of yoga will draw you in. Whether it’s the deep, sound sleep that you have after a class; the gains in your physical fitness, strength, and balance; the improved interactions with others or that delicious feeling of peace and contentment at the end of Shavasana. Before you know it, you will be seeking a deeper connection and the lure to come to your mat will draw you back again and again.
While Doga hasn’t made it to Blue Water just yet, you will find Hatha Levels 1 and 2, Vinyasa, Slow Flow, Svaroopa® Yoga and Yin Yoga on offer for you to try. And as for the ice cream, for me, it’s got to be coconut, every single (hot Summer) day of the week!
Written by Kerryn Godfrey and Blair Phillips
You may have heard about Yin Yoga in recent times as this new, yet ancient, form of yoga has become increasingly popular. It is a slower, more meditative practice where the poses are held for longer periods, targeting the deep connective tissues of the body.
Yin Yoga aligns with the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, working with the meridians (energy pathways) to help create balance in the body (www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/yin-yoga-2). Each season is said to be linked to a dominant meridian pair. This means that by targeting the meridian pair of the season, your yoga can be tailored to support you through the different times of the year.
Statistics in the latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report (Australia’s Welfare 2017) show that the majority of Australians are struggling to maintain their work-life balance and consequently, are feeling stressed and overworked (https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2017/10/australians-struggling-achieve-work-life-balance-says-aihw-report/). The busyness of modern life means we often push ourselves by overworking, over-committing and over thinking, which can easily deplete our kidney chi (energy) and lower our vitality. This can be expressed in several ways: stiffness or tightness of the joints, lower back pain, becoming more fearful, feeling “stuck” and losing your zest for life.
Winter is said to be the most yin time of year and as such, the colder months offer the perfect opportunity to slow down and recharge. This season is associated with the Water element and the dominant meridian pair is the Kidney and Urinary Bladder. The Kidneys are like the battery packs of the body: they relate to our overall chi levels and vitality and are associated with the qualities of virtue and wisdom when in balance (https://www.tcmworld.org/what-is-tcm/the-five-major-organ-systems/kidney-health/). Now who wouldn’t love a bit more virtue and wisdom in their lives?!
We can activate the flow of chi with a Yin Yoga practice that focuses on stimulating and nourishing the Kidney and Urinary Bladder energy lines through the use of poses such as Caterpillar, Sphinx and Butterfly. Practicing these poses regularly throughout the Winter months will help to recharge and renew your energy stores, and get you moving forward and achieving your intentions.
This year, during the chilly Winter months, take the opportunity to explore how your seasonal yoga practice can support you physically, mentally and spiritually. Rest when needed, be gentle and kind to yourself and you will better support yourself to return refreshed from your hibernation, ready for the buzz and activity of the warmer months ahead.
Yin Yoga classes run at Blue Water Yoga on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons.
Click here for class details and bookings.
Written by Kerryn Godfrey & Blair Phillips