J.O.Y aims to inspire you to find your own health, happiness and well-being, through Yoga , Retreats, Therapies and Holistic practices.
A variety of gentle, therapeutic classes are offered, suitable for all abilities, in Gillingham, Silton, Shaftesbury, Stour Provost and the surrounding Dorset, Wiltshire and Somerset areas.
Each person is an individual with different abilities and personal goals and, as such, it follows that their Yoga practice should be individualized too. Classes are kept small, so that each person has the attention and guidance they need, aiding them to build their practice comfortably and safely, addressing any concerns as they arise and altering postures to suit.
For those who require one-to-one Yoga or any other therapy/healing session, one hour appointments are available at Riversmeet in Gillingham, Dorset at various times throughout the week.
Thank you for visiting the J.O.Y website. Please feel free to contact me with any queries, I should be delighted to hear from you.
A Very Brief History
Yoga is one of the six fundamental systems of Indian thought (darsana). It is a way of thinking – or a way of seeing – not just what is around us, but also what is inside ourselves – a path of self discovery. When we know and understand ourselves better, we are able to perceive the world and our relationship within it better. Yoga has its origins in the Vedas, the oldest recorded texts of Indian culture, but it was the great Indian sage Patanjali who recognised the special qualities of Yoga and wrote the Yoga Sutras over 2500 years ago. Although there are many different paths to Yoga, the principles outlined in the works of Patanjali are the foundation to most modern practices. Within the Yoga Sutras are described the Eight Limbs of Yoga. These are guidelines in behaviour towards ourselves and others. There have been many great Sages, Gurus, Swamis and Teachers over thousands of years, who have all contributed knowledge, different understandings and who have created effective techniques leading to the Yoga practices of today.
What is Yoga?
“Yoga is the ability to direct the mind without distraction or interruption”
Patanjali – The Yoga Sutras
In the western world we often see Yoga as simply Asanas (postures), or a fitness regime designed for building muscles and improving flexibility. In fact Asanas are just one part of the Yoga system. The goal is to bring stillness to the mind, to be present in our actions and reverse the effects of our highly energised, ever moving, fast paced lifestyles. It’s about relaxing the body and the mind. It’s letting go of the past, allowing ourselves a reprieve from the future and standing still for one moment in the here and now. By doing so we clear our minds which are often clouded by years of unconscious perceptions and actions, which have become habitualised in our minds. When we are free of our habitualised perceptions and actions, we are able to perceive the world and situations clearly, so that we may make the correct decisions and act accordingly.
The word Yoga has been given many meanings. The most commonly used is “to unite” or “union” referring to reuniting ourselves, re-balancing, bringing together the body, breath, mind and much more. There is another meaning which I like: ” to attain what was previously unattainable”. Whether this is touching your toes, or having the confidence to go for that dream job interview does not matter. Yoga is the journey from that point to another higher point in any aspect of your life.
Paths of Yoga
There are many branches to the Tree of Yoga all taking a different approach, but they all have the same end goal, which is to unite the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness. Bhakti Yoga is the path of devotion with worship and service to God and/or guru. Hatha Yoga uses the physical body, through tantric movement, to purify the body and mind. Japa Yoga is the Yoga of mantra, repeating a sacred sound or word mentally to focus the mind. Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge through self study, reason and debate en route to wisdom. Karma Yoga is the path of selfless service. It is action without expectation, letting go of the fruits of our labour and focusing more on the quality of action. Laya Yoga (Kundalini Yoga) works with Chakras (energy centres) to master the functions of each centre. Raja Yoga develops control over the mind through will and meditation. Tantra Yoga uses meditation, renunciation, ritual and mysticism. Each is as important as the other and as your Yoga practice develops, you will find that you actually practise all of them in one way or another.
The Main Practices
Again there are different styles of Hatha Yoga. Hatha is the most common Yoga practice that uses asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises) to cleanse the body and mind. Every practice is different. Some are gentle, some vigorous, some use only a few postures where others may use many. It all comes down to personal preference and your own abilities. Research the different styles – Asthanga, Sivananda, Viniyoga, Iyengar, Bhakti, Satyananda, Kundalini and Bikram and see what appeals to you.
The Benefits of Yoga
Obviously, with regular practice over time, fitness and flexibility will come. When this is combined with regular pranayama, we achieve a fuller, better quality of breath which has great benefits. However, Yoga has many more healing qualities as well. In western cultures, there are many illnesses and ailments related to stress and anxiety – a few examples being – asthma, insomnia, skin disorders, digestive problems, circulatory problems and muscular pain, to list but a few. As Yoga helps to relieve stress and anxiety, it goes hand in hand that it will aid recovery. Within and around our bodies we have thousands of energy channels that allow the flow of vital energy. In Indian culture these are called Nadis. In Chinese culture they are known as Meridian lines. Sometimes these become blocked or restricted and the energy cannot flow, resulting in physical or mental problems. Through Asanas and Pranayama we unblock and restore the flow of energy and regain our health. Aside from stress related ailments, Yoga is now being recognized as aiding the recovery of many conditions including skeletal problems, addiction and even helping cancer patients. Western scientists are now more widely recognizing and accepting the credibility of these ancient eastern techniques and studies are being done. I urge you to research this yourself if you have a medical condition and, as always, consult your doctor first before trying any of them out.