Pure Balance

What is Yoga?

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing. The main components of yoga are postures (a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility) and breathing.

The practice originated in India about 5,000 years ago and has been adapted in other countries in a variety of ways. Yoga is now commonplace in leisure centres, health clubs, schools, hospitals and surgeries.

What are the health benefits of Yoga?

Dozens of scientific trials of varying quality have been published on yoga. While there's scope for more rigorous studies on its health benefits, most studies suggest yoga is a safe and effective way to increase physical activity, especially strength, flexibility and balance. There's some evidence that regular yoga practice is beneficial for people with high blood pressure, heart disease, aches and pains – including lower back pain – depression and stress.

Mindfulness Yoga

Mindfulness is the active process of being in total awareness from moment to moment. It involves tuning in to your body and your senses in order to process as much information as possible while maintaining a sense of non-judgmental acceptance. That may sound like a lot to do all at once but you’d be surprised how adept people become at it with a little practice.

So how does this relate to Yoga? Well, by maintaining focus on our bodies and our breathing during our Yoga practice we are already better able to start an internal dialogue with ourselves. While going through the motions of a yoga sequence we start to notice how our breathing changes accordingly, how our bodies are able to move (or not in other cases), thoughts pop into our heads that may spur us on, or cause us to question moving our bodies in such a way. By paying attention to all these aspects we learn more about ourselves, our capabilities (and limitations), as well as our thought patterns. Outside of our Yoga practice we are able to put this new knowledge into context by being better able to recognize when we are under stress, and so how we make adaptations to minimize the stress and maximize our potential.

Yoga4Autism

Yoga for Autism with meditation

Aside from my usual practice I also run yoga classes specifically for young people on the autistic spectrum. The primary aim of Y4A is to achieve Mindfulness in Autistic (and special needs) adults and children, the essence of yoga, through artistic, storytelling education, that easily guides individuals into Pranayama, Mudras and Asanas.

This physical and spiritual education will be very sensory, relying on BICS – breathing techniques, imagination, colour and sound, to cool down the individual’s nervous system and hopefully create for them a coping strategy and mechanism to fall back on and use in everyday life, away from the Y4A Sensory Studio.

This Special Yoga can benefit individuals with Sensory Integration Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, High Functioning Autism and Classic Autism as well as others with special needs.