Page 6-7: Introduction
This book gives you all you need to begin to make yoga a part of your everyday life: a little background information; some simple postures, breathing and meditation exercises to try; and a selection of quotations to inspire you. Practicing a few postures each day can release neck and shoulder tension, reduce back pain and make you feel comfortable in your body again. Doing a simple relaxation exercise when you get home from work can stop you taking your work worries into your home life. Most importantly, yoga is not just about practising postures: it is a practical method for making life better all round. If you are too stiff or too unwell to do the postures in this book, try the breathing and meditation exercises in Chapter Three or perhaps make some changes to your diet as recommended in Chapter Four. All of these suggestions are part of yoga and they can help you to develop a more positive attitude to like and to bring balance and harmony to your mind and body.
Page 25: How to Practise Mudras
Mudras are positions (mostly of the hands) that affect the body’s energetic system and the flow of prana (life energy) within it. You will find that mudras are safe and easy to learn and use and they can enhance your mood quite quickly once you become sensitive to them. There are four different kinds of mudra explained in this book, all of which have different effects, such as improved stability or increased energy. You can either use the same mudra for several minutes at a time, two or three times a day, or you can simply practise a mudra as you feel you need it – for example, to calm yourself while you are commuting on crowded public transport, or to help you to gather your thoughts before a job interview. The best time to practise mudras, however, is during the sitting phase after a posture and breathing session. Close your eyes as you practise a mudra and allow your attention to turn inward. Don’t try hard – simply allow your fingers to touch lightly, and allow your mind and body to be still and quiet.
Page 34-35: Yoga brings you energy
In many Western exercise systems, energy is thought of as something to be used up – we talk of expending energy to burn calories. However, the yogic understanding of energy is not related to burning calories at all – in yoga, energy is related to a subtle force called prana. This subtle energy is said to flow through all living things. Prana flows through a network of channels in our body called nadis. Special centres of energy known as chakras (see pages 28–9) are formed where the nadis intersect (at certain points along the body). Meditation on the chakras – and the practice of postures – can assist the flow of prana, which is a positive result of yoga practice. When we are well, prana circulates freely throughout our energetic system. When we are sick, prana is being lost from the body and, consequently, we feel depleted of energy. According to yoga there are three qualities that pervade everything: rajas (energy), tamas (inertia) and satwa (clarity). Often our lives are out of balance and we swing between highs of energy and lows of exhaustion. Through yoga we aim to try to bring our lives into a state of harmony and clarity (satwa). In this chapter the practices are intended to free the flow of prana through your system to help you to feel more constant, more in balance. (If you feel you always lack energy, the suggestions in Chapter Three will help you to conserve prana.)
About the author:
Tara Fraser took her first yoga classes alongside her mother at the age of six. Since then, she has studied with teachers from many traditions, including Iyengar, Sivananda, British Wheel of Yoga and Astanga Vinyasa, and she has gained the British Wheel of Yoga Diploma. Tara is the director of Yoga Junction in London and Geneva, where she teaches regular classes and courses and trains teachers. Tara is a contributor to the magazine Yoga and Health and the author of Yoga for You (Watkins), which has been endorsed by the British Wheel of Yoga – “This book is well worth a place on the bookshelf.”
About the book:
Instant Yoga: Exercises and Guidance for Everyday Wellness (Blueprints for Wellness)
Series: Blueprints for Wellness (Book 1)
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Watkins Publishing (September 4, 2018)