The word “Hatha” can be translated in two ways: as “willful” or “forceful”, or the yoga of activity, and as “Sun” (ha) and “Moon” (tha), the yoga of balance. Hatha practices, such as asanas and pranayama, are designed to align, strengthen and calm your body, mind and spirit in preparation for meditation. Hatha is a general category that includes most yoga styles.
Hatha yoga practices were entirely focussed upon the breath and the means of controlling it.
Hatha Yoga could include:
- asana – yoga postures (practised in any style of ‘yoga’)
- pranayama – breathing techniques
- mantra – chanting or reciting
- mudra – hand gestures
- shatkriyas and shatkarmas – cleansing techniques
- and even types of visualisation.
With these we can change how we feel not just physically, but mentally and emotionally too. They can enhance feelings of happiness and well being, help release stress and anxiety and encourage relaxation.
Teachers: Raji, Farooq, Pushpa, Tanya, Mona, Marleen, Stephanie,
The word “vinyasa” can be translated as “arranging something in a special way”. In vinyasa yoga classes, one coordinates movement with breath to flow from one pose to the next.
In contemporary yoga parlance, vinyasa stands in opposition to hatha. Hatha classes tend to focus on one pose at a time with rest in between. In contrast, flow classes string poses together to make a sequence.In vinyasa yoga, each movement is synchronized to a breath. The breath is given primacy, acting as an anchor as you move from one pose to the next.
Vinyasa allows for a lot of variety, but will almost always include sun salutations.
Teachers: Farooq, Christelle, Pushpa
A form of Hatha Yoga that has an emphasis on detail, precision and alignment in the performance of posture (asana) and breath control (pranayama). The development of strength, mobility and stability is gained through the asanas.
Iyengar Yoga often makes use of props, such as belts, blocks, and blankets, as aids in performing asanas (postures). The props enable students to perform the asanas correctly, minimising the risk of injury or strain, and making the postures accessible to both young and old.
It can be said that Iyengar differs from the other styles of yoga by three key elements: technique, sequence and timing.
- Technique refers to the precision of the body alignment and the performance of pranayama.
- Sequence means the sequences in which asanas and breathing exercises are practiced. Following the specific sequence is important in achieving the desired result, because only the combination of certain poses and breathing techniques can ensure the expected positive effect.
- Timing is the third key element which defines the time spent in each pose or pranayama.
Teachers: Tanya, Maria
Yin & Yang Yoga
Yin yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga with postures, or asanas, that are held for longer periods of time—for beginners, it may range from 45 seconds to two minutes; more advanced practitioners may stay in one asana for five minutes or more.
Yin Yoga is based on the Taoist concepts of yin and yang, opposite and complementary principles in nature. Yin could be described as stable, immobile, feminine, passive, cold, and downward moving. Yang is understood to be changing, mobile, masculine, active, hot, and upward moving. The sun is considered yang, the moon yin. In the body, the relatively stiff connective tissues (tendons, ligaments, fascia) are yin, while the more mobile and pliable muscles and blood are yang. More passive asanas in yoga are considered yin, whereas the more active, dynamic asanas are yang, because they stimulate the muscles and generate heat.
Teachers: Beste, Christelle
The Anusara style, a derivation of Iyengar yoga from the School of Hatha Yoga emphasizes a set of Universal Principles of Alignment which underlie all of the physical asanas and are connected to philosophical aspects of the practice. The school’s ideology is “grounded in a Tantric philosophy of intrinsic goodness”. The term “Anusara (a-nu-sar-a), means ‘flowing with Grace,’ ‘flowing with Nature’ and ‘following your heart,'” as interpreted from the Sanskrit anusāra (अनुसार), meaning “custom, usage, natural state or condition”.
A restorative yoga sequence typically involves only five or six poses, supported by props that allow you to completely relax and rest. Held for 5 minutes or more,restorative poses include light twists, seated forward folds, and gentle backbends. Restorative yoga asanas are based on the teachings of Iyengar Yoga. Restorative Yoga benefits:
- Enhances flexibility.
- Deeply relaxes the body.
- Stills the mind.
- Improves capacity for healing and balancing.
- Balances the nervous system.
- Boosts the immune system.
- Develops qualities of compassion and understanding toward others and self.
- Enhances mood states.
Teachers: Fora, Christelle
Bharatanatyam, is an Indian classical dance, originated in southern India in the state of Tamil Nadu. It started as a temple dance tradition called Dasiyattam (the dance of the maid-servants) 2000 years ago and is perhaps the most advanced and evolved dance form of all the classical Indian dance forms.
These are: Bha from Bhava meaning emotion, Ra from Raaga meaning music or melody, Ta from Taala meaning rhythm and Natyam meaning dance. Thus Bharatanatyam is the dance that encompasses music, rhythm and expression. The dance strictly adheres to the Natyashastra (the scripture of classical Indian dance).
This dance style is characterised by a linear form of the body without any pronounced movement of the upper body and linear spatial patterns, which make the dance form extremely dynamic and powerful.
Meditation for Peace and Illumination and Mindfulness
Meditation is a method for acquainting our mind with calmness and peace. When our mind is peaceful we are free from worries and mental discomfort, and we experience true happiness.
If we train our mind to become peaceful we will be happy all the time, even in the most adverse conditions.
Meditation can be defined as a practice where an individual uses a technique, such as focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. Meditation may be used with the aim of reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and increasing peace, perception and well being.
Mindfulness is the moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, characterized mainly by “acceptance” – attention to thoughts and feelings without judging whether they are right or wrong
Teachers: Mausam, Beste