What many of us today think of as ‘yoga’ - could be more accurately called 'asana practice'. The regular practice and learning of Asanas, yoga ‘postures’.
Asanas are body postures developed over millennia to allow an individual to achieve an ‘enjoyable level of fitness’ through a disciplined practice of physical postures which cultivate ease and health in a stressful world.
The description of asana given in the most important of the early yogic texts is “sthira sukham asanam”, meaning that every asana should be 'steady' (Sthira) and 'comfortable' (Sukha).
'Sthira' means steady or stable or grounded or strong and 'Sukha' means comfortable,'easeful' or peaceful. Whenever you practise yoga you're trying to find that balance between these two aspects. Seeking this equilibrium is what it’s all about!
If we can be steady and comfortable and not ‘pulled’ by the aches and pains of the body, or distracted by restlessness due to an uncomfortable position or a whirling mind, this is the purpose of asana.
This constant exploration between Sthira and Sukha in our asana / yoga postures, as with all things, impacts our daily life. Asana teaches us to strengthen areas of weakness, shed light on places unlit and relax areas of contraction. It encourages us to practise acceptance, allowing things to just ‘be’ (to accept ourselves) and teaches us to cultivate balance in our life - to live with contentment and ease.
My teaching of Asanas is based on my own learning of a mixture of styles of yoga; hatha, vinyasa, ashtanga and inyengar. I use this broad experience to teach each of my students according to their needs, safely introducing them to new challenges and possibilities. I continually seek to broaden my skills and knowledge to enable me to more easily recognise what fits each individual and to respond in the most effective, appropriate and honourable way.