Pranayama is the art of breathing according to yoga principles and techniques.
Prana is the breath of life of all beings in the universe and pranayama means the extension and expansion of all our vital energies.

When the breath is irregular the mind wavers; when steady so too is the mind.

It is seen as the beginning of the more inward journey on the path of yoga.

Pranayama cannot be done with strength or force it is a more refined and subtle form of self awareness exploration than asanas and a more personal one.

According to most classical texts (including Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras) pranayama comes as a later stage in the 8 steps (limbs) of yoga…. Ethical life principles, self restraint, self study and the mastering of the asanas then Pranayama.

“Breath is the key to ultimate emancipation”.
– BKS Iyengar

The Western idea of meditation is probably more of a Buddhist interpretation, although the practice by Buddhists or yogis is much the same. BKS Iyengar translation from Patanjal’s yoga sutra 3.02 is “A steady continuous flow of attention directed towards the same point or region is meditation (dhyana)”. So it is something that is achieved through practice, not the practice itself, and it follows after the mastery of asana and pranayama.

Inverted postures, particularly Headstand and Shoulderstand tend to be avoided in many styles of yoga taught today. This is understandable given the knowledge, discipline and foundation work required to practice them safely and effectively. So why is it so important to practice them at all?

Mr Iyengar considers headstand and shoulderstand to be the centerpiece of practice. He has referred to them as the father and mother of the asanas and if all else fell away from your practice, those should remain.

Turning the body upside down boosts the major systems of the body (circulatory, respiratory, nervous and glandular) and gives rest to the heart.

Headstand (is stimulating) enhances memory, concentration and emotional stability.

Shoulderstand (is quietening) aids glandular and hormonal health.

Together they will strengthen your lungs, digestion and elimination.
They give us a lift if we are flat or they will warn us of exhaustion or illness.
The two poses bring a balance to our body and mind and hormonally for those practitioners who become pregnant or suffer menstrual disorders.

Do NOT practice inverteds during menstruation or if you have high blood pressure, ear infection or suffer from detachment of the retina.

Any INJURIES particularly neck, back or shoulder should be raised with the teacher before doing inverteds, there are a number of safe, supportive alternatives.

Eventually and ideally you should practice yoga daily. However not immediately.

First you need to monitor the affect your first few classes have on you.

Beginners doing our course are then encouraged to practice the very basic movements at home from their printed instructions supplied with the Beginners Course.

Simply Yoga encourages students to attend Beginners 2 Course, after the Beginner 1 Course, as there is much to be learned. Beyond the Beginners Courses many students attend 2 and 3 classes per week and find from this, longer lasting benefits and a faster rate of improvement.

Finally, we encourage our students to develop their own well-balanced practice, and we provide for experienced students (having done Level 1), an informal Led practice class at 6.45 am on Wednesdays, for that purpose.

The numerous benefits that Yoga can bring far outshine the risk involved. Keep in mind, though, that this activity can only be advantageous if done properly with the correct instructions to avoid injury, and as a gentle and no-rush practice. Rushing and forcing poses can mean muscle strain but this can easily be avoided by practicing Yoga with an experienced Yoga teacher who provides guidance and assistance. For those able to commit, we strongly recommend starting with the Beginner 1 course.

We provide all props (mats, straps, etc). You do not need to bring any supplies. Just wear comfortable clothing, such as a t-shirt and shorts, and plan to practice bare-footed. Try not to eat heavily before class. Plan on having fun, learning, and moving your body.

Hatha Yoga is considered the name for general yoga, an all encompassing form. The word Hatha means Sun/Moon which implies balance is a goal we aim for.

Our Hatha teachers hold diplomas of health from Nature Care College, where they received a broad 2 year education in the various yoga styles. This diploma also included philosophy, history, special needs, meditation and other well-being practices like Ayurvedic medicine and holistic counseling.

The Hatha Yoga classes offer a breath-focused, vinyasa (movement), physical approach that helps connect the student with their body, at the same time creating a quiet mind.

Like Iyengar Yoga, props are used in the classes to help tailor poses to the individual. And, alignment is emphasized to foster the best posture and movement. Every class has a relaxing period for reducing stress and centering the mind.

Iyengar yoga places particular emphasis upon the precise and careful attention to physical alignment. It insists on balancing and integrating development, and emphasizes posture to develop strength, endurance and suppleness – physically, psychologically, mentally and emotionally.

Iyengar yoga can be practiced by children and adults of different ages and levels of well-being. With the help of equipment such as chairs bolsters, straps, sandbags, weights and ropes, even those with limited flexibility or health problems can practice and benefit immediately.

Iyengar teachers are trained through a practice and assistance based apprenticeship process spanning 3 years, then face a demanding assessment procedure before Certification.

In Western culture women often minimize the significance of menstruation and often do not want to be restricted by it, and our culture encourages this.

Yoga takes a different view, obviously we are aiming for better health and that incorporates more self-awareness.

It is recommended that you do not over extend yourself during menstruation.

The poses NOT practiced during menstruation are the inverteds, backbends, strong twists and abdominal work.

Inverted poses are avoided for the whole cycle so as not to interfere with the rhythm of the cycle. Backbends stimulate the adrenal glands which are already extra active at this time. Strong twists and abdominals are avoided as a precaution against irritation of the uterine area. Also to be avoided is fast work, jumpings, strong standing poses and difficult and challenging poses.

What is recommended instead is a sequence of calming and cooling postures like supported forward bends, supine (lying) postures and sitting poses.

Talk to your teacher, so that we can take you and your general wellbeing into account in the class.

Attending classes during menstruation brings balance to your practice. It can alleviate cramping and heaviness in the abdomen and help build positivity and alertness.

In the Simply Yoga studio, students will get to use purpose-built props to achieve certain specific results in their yoga poses.

Props foster physical alignment, helping to restore and reinforce good posture, promote lightness in the body, and reduce strain. Through this support and stability one’s attention is freed beyond limits and one is enabled to be more present in the moment.

Beginners who may have stiffer bodies, for example, can use a block to rest their hand on in standing poses. This helps lengthen their spine. Chairs can be used in twisting poses to encourage good posture while rotating the spine. Bolsters and blankets are invaluable aids in encouraging total relaxation and rejuvenation from fatigue. For beginners, props create safety without stress or the need to rush.

All students can approach a more difficult pose starting at their own level, progress without injury, and then ultimately dispense with the props. A prop might help the student stay in a pose for a longer time which can increase strength, stamina and concentration. Advanced students will find ropes, chairs, blocks, and belts help their bodies better understand a pose that they are trying to learn.

Props can also be used therapeutically, as in rope traction for de-compressing the vertebral column when there is a muscle spasm in the back. The use of belts for tractioned stretches in the supine leg extensions can help with nerve compression. Lying over bolsters, blocks and small benches can promote better breathing for asthmatics or those with weak hearts.

The purpose of Yoga is to unite the mind, the body, and the spirit. The mind and the body are one, and if we are given the right tools and taken to the right environment, we can find harmony and the body can heal itself. Yoga therefore is considered therapeutic. It helps you become more aware of your body’s posture, alignment and patterns of movement. It makes the body more flexible and helps you relax even in the midst of a stressful environment. This is one of the main reasons why people want to start practicing yoga – to feel fitter, be more energetic, be happier and more peaceful.

Yoga is a science that has been practiced for thousands of years. It consists of ancient spiritual philosophies, observations and principles about the body, mind and spirit connection, some of which is now being proven by modern science.

“Yoga is the restriction of the fluctuations of consciousness”
– Yoga Sutra 1:2

“Restriction of these fluctuations is achieved through practice and dispassion”
– Yoga Sutra 1:12

“Evenness (samatva) is called yoga”
– Bhagavad-Gita 1:33

“One should practice Yoga for the purification of the self”
– Bhagavad-Gita V1:12

“Yoga is an art, a science and a philosophy. It touches the life of man at every level, physical, mental, and spiritual. It is a practical method for making one,s life purposeful, useful and noble.”
– BKS Iyengar – Light on the Yoga Sutras

“The very essence of Yoga is the practice of asanas and pranayama. Purify the body first, attention to detail trains the mind to focus. Discipline is behind all paths to inner peace and freedom.”
– BKS Iyengar Light on Life

“Only when we have truly found ourselves will we be able to live in peace, harmony and happiness in the world. This is what is sometimes called the sacred life”
– George Feuerstein Living your Yoga