As a passionate runner and soccer player, I always felt good physically when I was pursuing either of these two activities. But, mentally I always felt like something was lacking. Yogue (Yoga in Sanskrit) came to my life at a time when I was feeling this gap (also known as Stress) between my physical body and the Mind. I chose Yogue as oppose to any other holistic practice like Zen, Tai Chi among others because I grew up in India and it made sense to start with a practice that I could relate to.
I decided to try a few different styles to see which one suits me the best. The journey began with Hatha Yoga, then Vinyasa, and finally Kundalini. I found Hatha yoga to be way too slow for my taste as I love fast paced sports such as running and soccer, Vinyasa was way too fast and seemed more like a physical workout than yoga, and Kundalini was way too esoteric but this was the only form where I actually felt like I was able to explore the mindfulness (mental discipline) aspect of yoga. Needless to mention I was not satisfied, based on all my research, Yogue was suppose to be the union of the body, the mind and the spirit through the breath but that union certainly seemed elusive. I realized that stillness of the mind or the thought process is the ultimate goal of yoga and that’s why Breath is the most essential component of yoga. This is mainly because the mind follows the breath and when our breath is under our conscious control the mind follows and so does the physical body. This process is known as “Mindfulness” in Yoga.
While practicing in yoga studios with loud music, I found it quite challenging to even remember to breathe. After all, an average adult has an attention span of 9 seconds in this digital age (worse than a gold fish thanks to social media and our obsession to stay connected with our mobile devices all the time!), and even though the music was nice and soothing, it was way too distracting for me. Based on this experience I had to create a style that worked for me, meaning a style that offers the same physical benefits as Soccer and Running (a blend of cardio, stretch and strength training), but is not as slow as Hatha, not as fast as Vinyasa, not as Esoteric as Kundalini and above all practiced in an environment free from all distractions including music so that the basic foundation of Yoga, the Breath is never compromised, and this was the inception of "Going Yogue" style of Yoga. Mindfulness (understanding "Stress" rather than fighting it) is the basic foundation of Going Yogue style of Yoga and it is attained by following the underlying principles;
- Breathe - Oxygen is the basic raw material needed for every physiological and mental activity in a human body, and Breath allows us to get oxygen into our system, therefore, it's imperative that we breathe correctly.
- "Pull" is the new "Push" - Respect your body, never be uncomfortable. Only go as far as your breath takes you into a pose. If you are all uncomfortable in a pose, that's a sign that you have gone too far into the pose and you will notice that your breath is completely out of control. At this point, you should back out, come to a point where your breath is long and relaxed and stay there. Using your breath as a guide will ensure that you ENJOY the experience of your workout and stay away from injuries. Not just true for yoga or other physical activities, but for everything else in life.
- Minimize distractions including music. Listen to the sound of your breath to stay grounded in the moment during the practice
- Do "Simple" well - Yoga is not gymnastics, as Patanjali, who wrote the first teachings of Yoga said "Sthir Sukham Asanam" meaning one that is steady and comfortable is physical posture. Every yoga pose and flow sequence in Going Yogue style of yoga is "Simple". Complicated poses such as headstands or handstands are never practiced.
- Consistent effort is key - Better to do a few minutes of exercise everyday rather than doing a few hours once in a while. This will help develop discipline, and discipline is key to transforming bad habits and experiencing inner transformation.
- Yoga mat is the only "prop" needed for practice
- Alleviate Stress or Dis-ease - The root cause of all health problems is "Stress", it plagues the human body in different forms such as anxiety, depression, arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes or Cancer among others but these are just symptoms (or Dis-ease) and the underlying cause is always the same, Stress (physical and mental). When we are stressed, the sympathetic nervous system kicks in and the trillions of cells in our bodies prepare for a fight or flight response. This creates an acidic (lack of oxygen) environment in the body, and as a result our overall immunity suffers opening doors to infections and chronic illnesses overtime. Since the foundation of Going Yogue style of yoga is mindfulness which is conscious breathing, there will always be ample supply of oxygen to ensure optimal health
- Lymphatic Tune-up - One of the most important reasons why one should move or exercise is to stimulate the Lymphatic system, which is a system of bodily fluids and unlike the circulatory system, it does not have a heart to pump it. Lymphatic system plays a critical role in eliminating toxins that the circulatory system is unable to get rid of, and when toxins accumulate overtime our immune system suffers and so does our overall health.
- Accessible to "All" - Since complicated poses are never part of Going Yogue style of Yoga, most people will be able to practice this style without any discomfort
Enough said. Lets jump right into some practice sessions to ensure we get a good grasp on the basic principles of Going Yogue style of yoga. Cheers!