Yoga Times

Welcome back to a new term and a new year.

It seems that the year 2012 has great significance for many of the world’s ancient cultures and civilizations. From the Mayan to the Vedic and many other ancient civilizations, it is clear that 2012 has been marked out as an important year for change.

As with the ancient Yoga texts from the Vedic and Samkhyan eras, our interpretation of any ancient scripts will always be influenced by our current level of consciousness and we will generally only ever be able to interpret what it means to us as individuals in this moment.

Since the only changes that truly matter are the ones we make within, the outcome of 2012’s changes will be defined by us.

Yoga encourages that we explore our inner world and develop our potential to be the great people we are capable of becoming.

Wherever we begin does not matter, whether we start with a more wholesome approach to the health of the body through asana practice or a desire to develop our consciousness through the well defined path of meditation, ultimately when we practice Yoga the whole comes together and we find ourselves on the path of self development that is unique and tailor made for us as individuals. The class experience is shared but the outcomes are defined by our individual interpretations and objectives. Many of you are becoming increasingly aware that each class offers options for many levels of practice. Each person’s experience within the class will be unique and dependent on their personal desire for progress.

So I guess we should start this year by considering the changes we want to make that will make our lives more wholesome and allow us to take steps to becoming healthier, more vital and enlightened beings.

Many of us resist change because it requires that we move away from what is familiar, even when that familiarity is harming us we still cling on because change means taking that step into the unknown.

Knowing ourselves and recognizing our habits is the starting point from which we embark on our journey of change.

Changing the way we move

We start by recognizing the habits that we have formed over the years that have become so ingrained that we scarcely notice them anymore.

Habits can be either helpful or harmful but we need to recognize them before we can decide how they affect us.

Once we identify these habits we can start to make adjustments that will benefit the whole.

How we move into Yoga asanas is important, I often remind students that we are not just making shapes with the body but instead we are witnessing a journey that begins with awareness focused on a particular inner point that gradually leads to movement of the outer structure or frame.

The ancient Yogis spoke of initiating movements from the core. The internal muscles, organs and glands form our internal support for the asana practices.

For example the heart and lungs support the arms, whilst the digestive tract forms the frontal support for the spine. When we initiate movements from the core the postures become expansive from within and involve a whole body experience that energizes and balances the whole system.

Engaging the whole body and all systems in asana practice requires that we check in with our bodies both at the start of, and throughout the lesson.

Once we notice our underlying habits we will realize our tendencies to live in some of the body systems more than others.

For instance a highly strung person is often described as living on their nerves, which implies they draw on their nervous system for support in their daily activities, whilst an easy going, relaxed person may often be described as someone who goes with the flow, implying a greater connection to the circulatory systems of the body.

Remember whatever you notice in your Yoga practice will reflect what you do in your daily life.

Change requires that we pay attention.

Changing the way we think

Our thoughts are constantly influencing our experiences. Whether we perceive a practice as enjoyable or difficult will depend on where our focus lies and what we are thinking.

In the same way our lives are coloured by our thoughts.

Just as the body adopts habits, so the mind reacts to input in habitual ways.

To change our way of thinking we need to learn to respond rather than react to what is out there.

It is vital that we wake up to the fact that we are choosing where we focus our minds.

Just as we can switch channels on our TV sets when we want to, so we can choose where we focus our minds.

In Yoga mental awareness is vital for without it we cannot know or experience the essence of the practice.

Immersing into the practice fully and engaging mind, body and breath invites an awakening into a more profound and fulfilling experience.

Perhaps it would be helpful to observe our mental focus in our Yoga practice this term.

Noticing what choices we make throughout the lessons can help us to make useful changes and encourage a more balanced approach to practice which we can take out into our lives.


When we decide to instigate change we inevitably also look at what needs to be maintained. It is like cleaning out a cupboard and throwing out what is no longer needed whilst dusting off and rediscovering what is helpful and supportive to our well being.

Individually we all have specific needs, hopes and aspirations which will dictate our level of practice. However there are many shared needs including joint mobility, core strength and structural support, maintaining strong and healthy bones, muscle tone and flexibility.

As always our theme will develop as the term progresses and I will endeavour to ensure that everyone benefits from the selected practices.

However if you have any problems that have been neglected, please tell me, either via our forum, email or you can always come and talk to me.

Finally, I am grateful to all of you for being so open, and sharing your Yoga experiences with me. I am always pleased to get feedback from you and learn from your wisdom and experience.

Agewell Yoga Website

This newsletter is just a small sample of what is posted up on the website. We have a forum which is open to everyone and needs some regular contributions from anyone who feels they have something useful to share! That has to be every one of you!

All you have to do is join the forum and then you can post up your comments

If anyone has difficulty signing up for the forum please let me know and I will make sure you get help.

Help with Yoga practice is available either privately by emailing me or on the forum where everyone can benefit from any questions that arise (including other Yoga teachers) and many of you may have some useful advice to contribute based on individual experiences.

Thank you for reading this newsletter and any contributions or ideas for future newsletters and class themes will be gratefully accepted.

Hari Om Tat Sat

Liz Hoare

Published by joeka on Friday, 19 April 2013, last updated on Sunday, 3 January 2016 at 3:53PM
Categories: Newsletter, yoga times archive

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