Meditation and Yoga Classes
Why should I do Yoga?
- All round health: Health is more than physical fitness, nor is it just the absence of disease.
- Stress relief and relaxation: the change in perspective deals with stress as a matter of course – see below.
- Improved immunity: see below
- Better relationships: Yoga increases flexibility and promotes better health outcomes or biochemical proficiency through through the use of mental focus and breathing techniques.
A recent Norwegian study found that yoga practice results in changes in gene expression that boost immunity at a cellular level. And it doesn’t take long: The researchers believe the changes occurred while participants were still on the mat, and they were significantly greater than a control group who went on a nature hike while listening to soothing music
Research shows that migraine sufferers have fewer and less painful migraines after three months of yoga practice. The cause of migraines isn’t fully understood, but Bleier says it could be a combination of mental stressors and physical misalignment that create migraines and other issues. Hunching over a computer or cell phone with your shoulders up and head forward causes overlifting of your trapezius and tightening of the neck. This pulls the head forward and creates muscle imbalances that can contribute to headaches and migraines.
Researchers from Harvard found that eight weeks of daily yoga significantly improved sleep quality for people with insomnia. And another study found that twice-weekly yoga sessions helped cancer survivors sleep better and feel less fatigued. This can be attributed to yoga’s ability to help people deal with stress, says Bleier. “Sleep issues are like anxiety. Your head can’t stop spinning, you don’t know how to relax,” he says. “Breathing and mental exercises allow the mind to slow down, so you’re going to start to see yourself sleep better.”
Researchers from the University of Washington found that regular yoga practice is associated with mindful eating, an awareness of physical and emotional sensations associated with eating. By causing breath awareness, regular yoga practice strengthens the mind-body connection, Bleier says. The awareness can help you tune in to emotions involved with certain cravings, and yoga breathing exercises can help you slow down and make better choices when cravings strike.
Ananda Marga is one of the oldest schools of yoga in Australia. We are a not for profit organization dedicated to the practice of meditation and yoga.
Our classes are designed for both absolute beginners and for people who have done yoga before. If you have not done yoga before that’s ok. If you have done yoga before, you too will find information and practice that will stretch your body and mind.
The courses comprise an integrated series of techniques directed towards harmony and balance of body, mind and consciousness (you will learn what this is in the course J).
Each class begins with an exercise to help you relax and get into the practice. This allows you to become aware of your physical body its connection to the mind. The deep knowledge that yoga has developed over thousands of years is used to help you develop aspects of yourself that have been dormant for most of your life. We follow on with a range of postures according to your level, energizing each part of the muscular and glandular system. The postures (asanas) are designed to influence the organs and glands, and so improve your overall health and wellbeing along with the way you feel. A self-massage and short relaxation completes the physical element of the class.
After this, we go into the practice of meditation specific to your level.
The various levels comprise six-week blocks, synthesizing into a powerfully comprehensive, integrated personal practice.
Yoga Postures – Level 1 – Six weeks
The Yoga Primer
In this foundational 6 week course you learn postures for physical and mental health and wellbeing. This covers the basic practical as well as theoretical knowledge you need to create a personal yoga practice. You gain an understanding of the effects of specific asanas, how to practice them and the reasons for specific guidelines in your practice. The connection between your breathing and the development of your personality is covered in this part.
Experience Yoga postures and breath techniques along with knowledge about Yoga philosophy and a healthy lifestyle.
This is a fully integrated form of yoga; it is a wonderful course for beginners and those looking to deepen their practical experience of yoga.
Yoga Practice – Level 2 – Six weeks
Motivation and Relaxation
Following on, is the level two course that takes you deeper into an amazing experience of yourself. Here you begin to gain depth in the practice of yoga postures, deep relaxation and learn to shift the paradigm from a fully externalized reality to one that shares the focus between the external and internal. The yoga postures help you achieve this shift.
The Level 2 postures strengthen the back, assist with back problems and can help correct poor posture. They strengthen the body and help in energy management. Here you become competent in the art of deep relaxation. We discuss and understand stress and its management using practical yogic techniques. You learn how to use mental techniques to shut off and withdraw externalized energy and focus it to support wellbeing.
With sustained practice these postures begin to exert a deepening effect on all bodily functions as well as the mind. You will notice positive changes in your habits and responses not only influencing the body but also your entire personality. You begin to develop a commitment to regular practice and enjoy far reaching benefits.
Meditation & Yoga – Level 3 – Six weeks
Directed thought and focus techniques
Progressing through the next six weeks, you learn more interesting new postures creating a feeling of a new, fresh awareness of connectedness with your own Self. You will have developed a personal practice of postures, deep relaxation and internalized focus. Now for you, yoga is so much more than physical postures. Because of your regular practice you have now become an exponent of an ancient technique of impacting on the state of mind using postures.
This has now become a lifestyle for you as you enjoy the deeper aspects of this profound practice. You start to experience changes in the way you respond to life. You begin to perceive the calm vital energy that is stimulated through your body in each of the postures. You begin to learn meditative techniques in this level that deepens the use of concentration.
As you develop the consistent and regular practice, you learn the importance of keeping focus on our goals and practice with confidence. Concentration is a preliminary practice for meditation, observing the body, mind and senses. Techniques of this level will help you to develop your ability to consistently hold focus. Controlling and overcoming inner disturbances and restlessness, such as poor concentration, depression is just part of a profoundly transformational journey
Meditation & Yoga – Level 4 – Six weeks
Resonance and Coherence
When a thought process is directed at an object, the mind (not the brain), takes the form of that object, and its characteristics. Through the practices of meditation we can achieve a controlled stilling of the mental noise and chatter and begin to liberate ourselves from the erroneous externalized identifications, changing the state of our mind.
Yoga now becomes as much an inner discipline as a tool for physical health. You maintain balance and harmony on and off the mat. You make immense progress by the systematic practice of Asanas and concentration. Yoga calms the mind and develops the power of discrimination between the positive and negative choices, based on context. Yoga develops the benevolently discriminative intellect which guides us towards the correct understanding and right decisions in life. One of the most important tasks now, apart from the physical, breathing and concentration exercises is to train the intellect and to use it correctly. Yoga ignites in us, the light of inner wisdom and we gain the clarity about who we are, why we stand for and what are the most appropriate actions to take in our life.
Integrated General Practitioners
Now that you have arrived here you are a regular practitioner of the intuitional science of Astaunga Yoga and the classes are now casual classes. The ongoing work is to create alignment between the personality and the goal using a fully harmonized body and mind directed towards consciousness – the external and the internal.