Please feel free to browse our resources below.
The Science of YogaMay 12, 2018
Yoga abounds with claims of amazing feats and wonderful health benefits. With its increasing popularity in the west, there has also been increasing scientific scrutiny of its claims. This paper examines a few tall tales and true, the scientific evidence for yoga's benefits, how has modern yoga changed in response to scientific investigations of problems, and how can scientific understanding improve your yoga. Download the handout from the Science of Yoga Satsang here: Science_Handout
The Ethics of Yoga – Yamas and NiyamasMarch 5, 2018
The Yamas and Niyamas are the first two limbs of classical yoga, coming before Asana and Pranayama. Download the handout from the Yamas and Niyamas Satsang here: Yamas and Niyamas Summary
Prana – yoga’s essential life-forceJanuary 19, 2018
Prana is “life force” or “breath energy”. It is the energy that flows through your body. But it is also more than this. It is the energy of the universe. Prana Handout
Health InsuranceJanuary 8, 2018
Find out if your health-fund supports rebates for your Yoga practice.
Prenatal YogaNovember 13, 2017
Yoga can be helpful during pregnancy, as long as you take certain precautions. Yoga can help mums-to-be:
• Improve sleep.
• Reduce stress and anxiety.
• Increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth.
• Decrease lower back pain, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, headaches and shortness of breath.
We encourage you to attend dedicated prenatal yoga classes at one of the yoga studios listed at the end of this guide.
Please talk to your regular yoga teacher if you wish to continue your yoga practice at Centenary Yoga during your first and second trimesters. During your third trimester your yoga practice should be supervised by a qualified
prenatal yoga teacher.
How are your Chakras?November 8, 2017
The following questions will help you assess energy flows through your chakras. Where
you answer yes to most or all questions, feel comfortable with a healthy energy flow
through that chakra. Where you answer no to all or most of the questions, look to the
companion handout providing guidance on improving energy flows through your chakras.
Chakras – improving energy flowNovember 7, 2017
Incorporating healthy lifestyle habits, such as a healthy diet and regular exercise, should be the starting point for improving energy flow through your chakras. Hatha yoga, incorporating asana and pranayama, is specifically aimed developing healthy chakra energy flow. Meditation can also be beneficial. Regular yoga and meditation practice will help overcome imbalances in your chakras.
What is Yoga?November 6, 2017
The word “yoga” means “union”. But what does this really mean?
Yoga has its historical roots in Hindu philosophy. As such union has traditionally meant
becoming one with God.
In the Vedantic tradition, recognition was given to the dualistic nature of our existence and
yoga provided a pathway to become closer to God.
The Tantric tradition provided a new perspective, saying that God is within all of us and we
are all a part of God. Tantra aimed at awakening us to our own divinity.
Common ground can be found in both traditions in the following definition of yoga, which
applies to all people, regardless of their religious beliefs or even a need to believe in God.
Names of Yoga AsanasOctober 28, 2017
In yoga classes we tend to use a combination of English and Sanskrit for the names of the asanas (poses) we practice. Below is a list of commonly practiced asanas. This list is far from comprehensive, as there are many more asanas not on the list. You will also find instances where the same pose might have different names from one school to another.
English and Sanskrit names provided for a number of commonly used yoga asanas. Click here to open the PDF document: Sanskrit-Names
Meditation 101 – simple tips for effective meditationOctober 16, 2017
Notes from our teacher-led discussion - Meditation 101
• Improved concentration, clearer thinking, improved memory retention, improved focus
• Reduced stress, lower anxiety
• Improved emotional well-being, decreased depression
• Improved health, lower blood pressure, improved breathing and heart rate, improved immunity
• Greater happiness
HOW TO MAKE MEDITATION EASY
• Be -The observer of the mind. Notice thoughts and allow them to drift away.
• Notice- The cycle of concentration and distraction - it's inevitable - and accept it as part of your practice.
• Breath – slow and gentle. Count down from 10, 50, 100 - any number. Accept distraction and losing your place.
• Find a Focus- for the mind. It can be a word, positive emotion, object, space between your brows or between your
nose and mouth; - something of your choice.
THE KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL MEDITATION PRACTICE
Ritual - a series of actions that prepare you for meditation. This should be customised for what works best for you. Examples could include lighting candles, lighting incense sticks, setting out cushions, drawing curtains, saying a short prayer or reciting an affirmation (e.g., “I thank my body for allowing me to meditate, I thank my mind for allowing me to meditate”), a favourite pranayama and/or asana practice, or maybe playing a favourite relaxing musical piece that helps to prepare you for meditation.
Time – regular time – It is helpful (though not essential) if you can meditate at the same time each day (this also relates to ritual).
Length of time – start small and build up gradually (don’t go for an hour on your first day, 5 minutes is enough to star with).
Place – create a “meditation home” – something to create a feeling e.g., pictures, wall hangings, statues, candles, or anything that creates a sense of place for meditation.
Distractions – Try to minimise anything that might distract you from your meditation. While pratyahara (sense withdrawal) and dharana (focus) are important actions to help us with our meditation, we shouldn’t expect to be super-yogis from the outset. Hence, it is best to minimise distractions so as to help us on our meditation journey. Choose a time of the day when you are least likely to be interrupted. Close doors. Turn off your phone or put it in another room
Grounded (Position) – Seated as close to the ground as possible is best as it is good to establish a connection with the earth. Hence, seated directly on a cushion on the earth is preferable to sitting on a chair. However, sitting on a chair is preferable to laying, as you want to avoid falling asleep.
Posture – sit with a straight back (i.e. avoid slouching) – shoulders should be directly above hips. Maybe move forwards and backwards, left and right, to find that comfortable centre spot. Adjust seating position and pose, as discussed below, to achieve good posture.
Comfort – Try to be as comfortable as possible. It is best to have knees lower than hips, for comfort and stability. Most people will need to use a prop such as a pillow, bolster, blanket or even a block to raise their hips higher than your knees.
Begin - with 5 minutes. Notice how you feel before and after meditation and extend your time and practise as you feel comfortable and able.
Home Practise TipsMay 7, 2017
Daily yoga practice at home can help you stay healthy, more productive, calm and happy all day. Besides, these benefits are not just for you to enjoy. Doing these practices at home will not only keep you happy but your family members, work colleagues and people you interact with will be able to feel the positive energy. You can practice in the comfort of your home, any time you wish.
Once you are becoming familiar with yoga techniques you can start practicing them on your own. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you prepare yourself for a home practice.
- Make a conscious decision to practice or not to practice – this choice is Yoga
- Be aware of motivation – better to consciously not practice than to manipulate yourself into practice
- Start with 5 minutes! Better 5 minutes of focussed happy practice than 20 minutes of resentful practice.
- Allow yourself to be fully present – physically, mentally and emotionally – mindfulness practice. This is Yoga
- Practise acceptance rather than avoidance. Find willingness to be with the unpleasant aspects of your practice - aversion; restlessness; fatigue; frustration … & the stories in your mind that give very good reasons why you can’t / won’t / don’t need to practise.
1 Choose a convenient time
Practicing yoga in the morning is generally considered to be the best as it keeps energy levels high during the day. Yet, if it doesn’t happen, don’t let it be an excuse to skip your practice. You may choose a time slot which seems most convenient. It could be late mornings, before lunch, or evenings. Yoga at these times can also be a good way to refresh the mind and release stress collected during the day.
2 Choose a comfortable place
It would be best to have a small, private room in your house for daily yoga practice. Over time, your practices will create positive vibrations in the room, providing healing, strength and comfort to you and others at home. If not possible, you may choose a quiet space anywhere at home, which is large enough to roll out your yoga mat and where you know you are not likely to be disturbed for a while. You may wish to personalize your space with candles or devotional items.
3 Practice on a relatively empty stomach
Yoga postures are always best practiced on an empty stomach. You can practice yoga poses and meditate about 2-3 hours after your meal.
4 Warm up before doing intense yoga postures
This is an absolute must, else you may be at risk of straining your muscles. Start by warming up your body and do a few body stretches to bring flexibility, before moving on to more intense postures.
5 It is your own body; be gentle with it
Respect your body and do yoga poses gently with a smile. Doing them increasingly fast or going beyond what your body can take will not bring faster results. It will only make the practice more difficult; possibly painful and less enjoyable.
6 Be consistent
It is important to be regular with your yoga practice – ideally make it a part of your daily schedule (as mentioned above, find a time slot where you can comfortably practice) and then it becomes easier to make it a habit. Twenty minutes of daily yoga practice is more likely to show positive results sooner than two hours of occasional practice. Feeling the benefits of your practice will encourage you to continue.
6 Include a variety of yoga techniques
Consider a focus for your practice – Are there particular things you want to work on? Or perhaps allow the sequence of postures to flow from what arises in the present.
Stay with the same practice for awhile – with minor variations to keep it interesting. This gives benefits in terms of increased in strength and flexibility. Do not plan to do too many poses. Allow the postures to flow from the breath. This is Yoga.
Nurture an inquisitive exploration of your body in the poses. Explore the edges of your flexibility and enjoy your body.
Practice a variety of yoga poses and breathing techniques – some you enjoy and some that you benefit from! Standing postures sitting poses twists backbends inversions forward bends
(**backbends need preparation and are usually done towards the end of your practice)
Close your practice with some slower, more inward poses and at least 5 minutes of meditation; Savasana or Yoga Nidra
‘Do not blindly believe what others say. See for yourself what brings contentment, clarity and peace. That is the path for you to follow.’
Sarah Howes 0468334636
For educational purposes only