FAQ about Yoga
What does yoga mean?
The Sanskrit word ‘yoga’ means ‘to unite’ or ‘to yoke’. This implies that we are seeking connection with the whole of existence and with ourselves as we are at the moment.
What does yoga teach?
Yoga teaches discipline - the discipline of freedom. It's practice encompass eight limbs. These are social (yama) and personal (niyama) disciplines; body (asana), breath (pranayama) and sensory (pratyahara) disciplines; and the mind disciplines of concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and equanimity (samadhi).
Yoga teaches us to live in contemplation of the body, feelings, mind and mind objects as a way of disentangling ourselves from the tendrils of karma in order to find liberation. Using the process tools of yoga postures, breath, sound vibration and affirmations (mantra), relaxation (nidra), concentration and meditation make disentangling ourselves from our beliefs and assumptions, projections, aspects of our personality, disidentification and centering not only more manageable but also fun and enjoyable. Yoga is about practice. In this way, it’s much more about how than what.
Are there many types of yoga?
Yoga is one. However, there are may approaches or styles within this oneness. Our style is Shanti Yoga. It has been developed by yoga master Shanti Gowans. It is yoga for every body and it is yoga you can do. It is a fully led style of yoga that incorporates the eight limbs of yoga with simple stretching, classical yoga postures called asanas, breathing and relaxation. You come in stressed out and leave blissed out.
Is exercise the foundation of yoga practice?
Self awareness - the practice of observing yourself without judgement - is the foundation of yoga practice.
The physical practice for its own sake is not the be-all, end-all of yoga and must not be taken out of its original, holistic, integrated context. Whilst asana is the centerpiece of most Yoga practice, Yoga is not just exercise and poses! Yoga teachers and students must expand their idea of what yoga is so that you do not consciously or subconsciously encourage aggressive practice.
How does balancing the chakras relate to me?
The chakras represent the psychic centres of energy in the body. The word chakra means wheel. Through your yoga practices, you will uncover a detailed understanding of the meaning, anatomy and function of the seven major chakras in your body. The five chakras in the body are keys to the five elements and the five senses and the two in the head represent the command centre and the gateway to cosmic consciousness. By ‘balancing’ the chakras through Shanti Yoga purification therapies and meditation practices, you will gain valuable insights into which practices will positively enhance your total well being. When knowledge of the subtler aspects of the chakras is understood and incorporated into your daily practice, consciousness is freed from the downward inertia of the fear-filled, animal nature and allowed to rise to the higher centers of consciousness. In addition, advanced healing that works through the energy of the subtle body will help open, balance and ground you. These profound practices will increase your vitality while enhancing your powers of concentration. Rediscovering your inner source of physical health, emotional contentment and spiritual peace, is simply a matter of finding the proper knowledge and then cultivating your will force.
What does yoga say about food?
Food in yoga must not only feed the body but nourish the soul. Yoga teaches that nutrition is much more than about what we eat, since we nourish ourselves by what we think, say, listen, see, our personal relationships and the world in which we live. Yoga advises us to cook and eat sattwic (pure) food, consciously. Understanding food to be like medicine you must use it without desire nor hate.
Would you like to learn how to prepare the healthy and delicious food that Shantiji and others yoga teachers and students eat daily? In this connection, we offer an all-day, hands-on workshop where you will learn to prepare and eat yogic breakfasts, lunches and dinners. You’ll benefit from the Meditation Institute’s 36 years of research, experimentation and practice with nutrition, vegetarianism, Ayurveda and alkaline and nutrient therapies. Menu preparation will respect your personal Ayurvedic body-type and dietary restrictions.
What is spirituality of the body?
In the Shanti Yoga (tantric) tradition, the body is considered to be the gateway to enlightenment. To discover the body in Shanti yoga, is to discover awareness and eventually, the awakened state. To look at the body from the outside, is to see form. However, when we view it through the eyes of yoga and meditation, we find it holds unlimited interpenetrating realities. To discover the body, is to discover your deeper self and in turn, to arrive at the genuine spiritual fulfillment all beings seek. Shanti yoga provides a series of body-based awareness practices - somatic protocols that open us to the full depths of our inner life in all its profundity and transformative power.
Can I injure myself doing yoga?Shanti Yoga provides good, experienced, caring, welltrained teachers. The traditional practice of yoga demands dedication, discipline, sacrifice, humility, surrender, love, devotion, and rigorous self-investigation. Yoga is not something you can learn to teach in a weekend, or more popularly, in a mere 200 hours to be a registered yoga instructor! Finding a good teacher tops the list of ways to avoid injury in yoga class. The most experienced teachers are not going to push you beyond your limits. They do not skip instructions and advice regarding the foundations of breath and asana safety for the sake of a good workout! Proper alignment, form, training, mental and emotional states are all important teaching.
It is possible for anyone to practice yoga. The Shanti Yoga practice itself cultures both an awareness of how to be careful with yourself, includes safety features and practices, and the mindful adaptation of all yoga practices, making them 'doable' for your body, with it's individual uniqueness. Yoga itself is not dangerous at all, but it can be taught and learnt in a manner that is more likely to bring about injuries if you are overzealous with your practice, do practices that your body is not ready for, without adequate preparation for that individual practice, are forceful and competitive, push and strive, and do things in a less than mindful way. Letting go of striving after achievement and competition are important tenets of practice, more important than where you place your leg or arm! The practice of yoga is often touted as a panacea to all ailements, and in most cases it can and will be. One of the most important things you learn to do through yoga is to listen to your body and breath and honour their messages.