Hatha Yoga & Sivananda Yoga in Bristol
At Omkari we teach the original Hatha yoga in Bristol - Sivananda Yoga.
Sivananda was a doctor in Malaysia, a Hindu spiritual teacher and a proponent of Yoga and Vedanta. Swami Sivananda teachings were brought to the west by Swami Vishnudevananda and he developed the teaching with the stressed and hectic western world in mind.
By naturally developing your body, Sivananda Yoga has even been linked to slowing down the ageing process and reducing illness. By closely observing the lifestyles and needs of people in the west Swami Vishnudevananda synthesised the ancient wisdom of yoga into five basic principles that can easily be incorporated into one’s lifestyle and provide a solid foundation for healthy living. It is around these five principles that the teachings are based.
The Five Points of Yoga
Proper Exercise (Asanas) - Yoga poses help develop a strong, healthy body by enhancing flexibility and improving circulation.
Proper Breathing (Pranayama) - Deep, conscious breathing reduces stress and many diseases.
Proper Relaxation - Helps keep the body from going into overload mode, easing worry and fatigue.
Proper Diet - Eating simple, healthy and vegetarian foods that are easy to digest notably have a positive effect on the mind and body, as well as the environment and other living beings.
Positive Thinking (Vedanta) & Meditation
(Dhyana) - These are the true keys to achieving peace of mind and eliminating negativity in our lives.
Swami Sivananda recognised that every Yogi, or human being for that matter, possesses and identifies with each of these elements: Intellect, heart, body and mind. He therefore advocated everyone to practice certain techniques from each path of yoga.
The Four Paths of Yoga
There are four main paths of Yoga - Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga. Each is suited to a different temperament or approach to life. All the paths lead ultimately to the same destination - to union with Brahman or God - and the lessons of each of them need to be integrated if true wisdom is to be attained. It is important to combine a practice of all creating a synthesis of yoga.
Karma Yoga - The path of action (selfless service)
Karma Yoga is the path of action, service to others, mindfulness, and remembering the levels of our being while fulfilling our actions or karma in the world.
Bhakti Yoga - the path of devotion
Bhakti Yoga is the path of devotion, emotion, love, compassion, and service to God and others. All actions are done in the context of remembering the Divine.
Jnana Yoga - the path of knowledge
Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge, wisdom, introspection and contemplation. It involves deep exploration of the nature our being by systematically exploring and setting aside false identities.
Raja Yoga - the path of the mind & meditation
Raja Yoga is a comprehensive method that emphasizes meditation, while encompassing the whole of Yoga. It directly deals with the encountering and transcending thoughts of the mind.
Omkari Yoga classes generally involve warming up with a sun salutations, 'Surya Namaskar', a gentle aerobic exercise to get you going. You’ll then learn and practice twelve classic yoga poses, while maintaining full yogic breathing as you enter and leave each position. As you advance and become more experienced, you’ll gradually be able to hold them longer - improving flexibility and strength. Each class will then end with some relaxation techniques in the form of deep breathing and guided relaxation exercise and sanskrit chanting.
The 12 Basic Poses or asanas are much more than just stretching. They open the energy channels, chakras and psychic centers of the body while increasing flexibility of the spine, strengthening bones and stimulates the circulatory and immune systems. Along with proper breathing or pranayama, asanas also calm the mind and reduce stress. With regular practice one can ensure overall physical and mental health and the possible prevention of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and arthritis. In time, performing the poses slowly and consciously, becomes a mental exercise in concentration and meditation.