Many of us associate yoga with pretzel-like shapes, tailored breathing and chanting but a well-known father of yoga, Krishnamacharya famously said: "If you can breathe, you can do yoga."
People come to a yoga class for many different reasons: to get fit, to have a healthy body, heal or for flexibility. Some arrive to clear their mind, find peace and feel centered.
It doesn't matter what the reason is, regular practice can achieve all this and more. Age or ability doesn't matter, yoga is for everybody.
Yoga is a moving meditation, a loving act of kindness to the self. Asana is about touching the soul and learning to be still in the mind while in these poses. When we can silence the mind and fill our bodies with more of the breath that gives us life, we bring peace to our minds.
A complete yoga practice is not just about exercising. It includes asana (postures), pranayama (breath awareness), self awareness, practice of the ways of we interact with our environment and those around us, concentration and meditation. You can do yoga lying down or sitting in a chair to different variations - it is worth trying a few to see what suits.
One of the main differences between yoga and other forms of exercise is the focus of linking the body and mind through the thread of the breath. In an analogy of life, we breathe and move in and out of balance and stillness.
Practice creates awareness to feel your strengths, weaknesses, frustrations and limitations. You learn to be still with them yet not get stuck in any one position. Life flows, taking in and letting go with each breath.
Studies have shown changes in your brain occur with yoga.
The more you practice, the quicker your mind and body notice changes. Studies also show that you must continue this practice throughout your life to continue to receive benefits. When you have a repetitive, consistent practice, neural pathways fire more strongly and new paths are formed. This means your body and mind is continuing to learn and grow.
So, pathways that were once a beaten kangaroo track across a paddock may become a neural superhighway. Find your breath to flow through life's ups and downs