Foundations of Yoga, Part 3: Satya (Truthfulness, Honesty)

 

“Satya is said to be speech and thought in conformity with what has been seen or inferred or heard on authority. The speech spoken to convey one’s own experience to others should be not deceitful, nor inaccurate, nor uninformative. It is that uttered for helping all beings. But that uttered to the harm of beings, even if it is what is called truth when the ultimate aim is merely to injure beings, would not be truth [satya]. It would be wrong.” So says Vyasa.

Shankara says that truthfulness means saying what we have truly come to know is the truth-mostly through our own experience or through contact with sources whose reliability we have experienced for ourselves. Who but the most intuitive could be sure that they do not speak any inaccurate thing? Yet such is demanded of the yogi, and for that, he must strive.

“Untruthfulness in any form puts us out of harmony with the fundamental law of Truth and creates a kind of mental and emotional strain which prevents us from harmonizing and tranquilizing our mind. Truthfulness has to be practiced by the sadhaka because it is absolutely necessary for the unfoldment of intuition. There is nothing which clouds the intuition and practically stops its functioning as much as untruthfulness in all its forms,” says Taimni regarding the most personal and practical aspect of satya.

Bending the truth, either in leaving out part of the truth or in “stacking the deck” to create a false impression, cannot be engaged in by the yogi. The Bible speaks of turning truth into a lie. (Romans 1:25) This is done by either not telling all the truth or by presenting it in such a way that the hearer will come to a wrong conclusion-or adopt a wrong conclusion about what we are presenting. Regarding numbers, it is said that “figures do not lie but liars figure.” The same is true here. Equally heinous is the intentional mixing of lies and truth. Some liars tell a lot of truth-but, not all the truth. This is particularly true in the manipulative endeavors of advertising, politics, and religion.

There are many non-verbal forms of lying as well, and some people’s entire life is a lie. Therefore we must make sure that our actions reflect the truth. How many people claim to believe in God and spiritual principles, but do not live accordingly? How many people continually swear and express loyalty and yet are betrayers? [“This person draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” (Matthew 15:8) “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46)] Therefore Saint John wrote: “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”(I John 3:18) We must not only speak the truth, we must live it.

Honesty in all our speaking and dealings with others is an essential part of truthfulness. This includes paying our debts, including taxes. It is inexpressibly crucial that the yogi make his livelihood only by honest and truthful means. Selling useless or silly things, convincing people that they need them (or even selling them without convincing them), is a serious breach of truthfulness.

Trying to compromise the truth, even a little, making the excuse that “everybody does it” is not legitimate. For “everybody” is bound to the wheel of birth and death because they do it and that is not what we wish for ourselves. We can lie to ourselves, to others, and even to God; but we cannot lie to the cosmos. The law of cause and effect, or karma, will react upon us to our own pain.

It is interesting that Vyasa considers that truthful speech is informative. By that, he means that truthful speech is worthwhile, relevant, and practical. To babble mindlessly and grind out verbal trivia is also a form of untruth, even if true in the sense of not being objectively false. Nor is a foolish speech to anyone’s gain. Sometimes also people lie by “snowing” us with a barrage of words intended to deflect us from our inquiries. And nearly all of us who went to college remember the old game of padding out whatever we wrote, giving lots of forms but little content in hope of fooling our teachers into thinking that we knew the subject and were saying something worthwhile. This is one of today’s most lucrative businesses, especially in the advertising world.

Speaking truth to the hurt of others is not really the truth since satya is an extension of ahimsa. For example, a person may be ugly, but to say: “You are ugly” is not a virtue. “What is based on injuring others, even though free from the three defects of speech (i.e., not deceitful, nor inaccurate, nor uninformative), does not amount to the truth” (Shankara). Our intention must never be to hurt in any way, but we must be aware that there are some people who hate the truth in any form and will accuse us of hurting them by our honesty. Such persons especially like to label any truth (or person) they dislike as “harsh,” “rigid,” “divisive,” “negative” “hateful,” and so on and on and on. We would have to become dishonest or liars to placate them. So “hurting” or offending them is a consequence of truthfulness that we will have to live with. The bottom line is that truth “is that uttered for helping all beings.” For non-injury is not a passive quality, but the positive character of restoration and healing.

Silence can also be a form of untruth, particularly in dealing with the aforementioned truth-haters. For the truth is only harmful when “the ultimate aim is merely to injure beings.” But if some people put themselves in the way of truth, then they must take responsibility for their reactions to it.

Will Cuppy defined diplomacy as “the fine art of lying.” Sadly, it often is. So we must be sure that we do not receive under the guise of diplomacy or tactfulness.

Self-deception, a favorite with nearly all of us to some degree, must be ruthlessly eliminated if we would be genuinely truthful.

“Therefore let one take care that his speech is for the welfare of all.” (Shankara)

 

Foundations of Yoga, Part 2: Ahimsa (Harmlessness)

In his commentary on the Yoga Sutras, Vyasa [Vyasa was one of the greatest sages of India, author of the Mahabharata (which includes the Bhagavad Gita), the Brahma Sutras, and the codifier of the Vedas.] begins his exposition of ahimsa: ;Ahimsa means in no way and at no time to do injury to any living being. Shankara expands on this, saying that ahimsa is  in no capacity and in no fashion to give injury to any being.This would include injury by word or thought as well as the obvious injury perpetrated by deed, for Shankara further says:  Ahimsa is to be practiced in every capacity-body, speech, and mind. We find this principle is set forth by Jesus in his claim that anger directed toward someone is a form of murder (Matthew 5:21,22), and by the Beloved Disciple’s statement that hatred is also murder.(I John 3:15)

Even a simple understanding of the law of karma, the law of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7), enables us to realize the terrible consequences of murder for the murderer. As Vyasa explains: The killer deprives the victim of spirit, hurts him with a blow of a weapon, and then tears him away from life. Because he has deprived another of spirit, the support of his own life, animate or inanimate, become weakened. Because he has caused pain, he experiences pain himself… Because he has torn another from life, he goes to live in a life in which every moment he wishes to die, because the retribution as pain has to work itself right out, while he is panting for death.

Ahimsa is interpreted in many ways-which is to be expected since Sanskrit is a language that abounds in many possible meanings for a single word. But fundamentally ahimsa is not causing any harm whatsoever to any being whatsoever, including subhuman species. (Ahimsa is not usually considered in relation to plant and mineral life, but a certainly wanton destruction of such life would be an infringement of ahimsa, partly because it would eventually have a detrimental effect on animal life as well.) To accomplish this ideal it is self-evident that violence, injury, or killing are unthinkable for the yogi. And as Vyasa immediately points out, all the other abstinences and observances-yama and niyama-are really rooted in ahimsa, for they involve preventing harm both to ourselves and to others through either negative action or the neglect of positive action.

The other niyamas and yamas are rooted in this, and they are practiced only to bring this to its culmination, only for perfecting this [i.e., ahimsa]. They are taught only as means to bring this out in its purity. For so it is said: ‘Whatever many vows the man of Brahman [God] would undertake, only in so far as he thereby refrains from doing harm impelled by delusion, does he bring out ahimsa in its purity. And Shankara explains that Vyasa is referring to the delusion that is rooted in violence and causing violence.

Ahimsa includes strict abstinence from any form of injury in act, speech, or thought. Violence, too, verbal and physical, must be eschewed. And this includes any kind of angry or malicious damage or misuse of physical objects.

Ahimsa is a state of mind from which non-injury will naturally proceed. Ahimsa really denotes an attitude and mode of behavior towards all living creatures based on the recognition of the underlying unity of life, the modern commentator Taimni declares. Shankara remarks that when ahimsa and the others are observed the cause of one’s doing harm becomes inoperative. The ego itself becomes harmless by being put into a state of non-function. And meditation dissolves it utterly. However, until that interior state is established, we must work backward from outward to the inner, and abstain from all acts of injury.

In actuality, we cannot live a moment in this world without injuring innumerable beings. Our simple act of breathing kills many tiny organisms, and so does every step we take. To maintain its health the body perpetually wars against harmful germs, bacteria, and viruses. So in the ultimate sense, the state of ahimsa can only be perfectly observed mentally. Still, we are obligated to do as little injury as possible in our external life. In his autobiography, Paramhansa Yogananda relates that his guru, Swami Yukteswar Giri, said that ahimsa is the absence of the desire to injure.

Although it has many ramifications, the aspiring yogi must realize that the observance of ahimsa must include strict abstinence from the eating of animal flesh in any form or degree.

Though the subject is oddly missing from every commentary on the Yoga Sutras I have read, the practice of non-injury in relation to the yogi himself is vital. That is, the yogi must do nothing in thought, word, or deed that harms his body, mind, or spirit. This necessitates a great many abstentions, particularly abstaining from meat (which includes fish and eggs), alcohol, nicotine, and any mind- or mood-altering substances, including caffeine. On the other side, it necessitates the taking up of whatever benefits the body, mind, and spirit, for their omission is also a form of self-injury, as is the non-observance of any of the Yama or niyamas. It is no simple thing to be a yogi.

 

Foundations of Yoga, Part 1: Yama and Niyama

 

 

“Knowledge (Jnana) does not come about from practice of yoga methods alone. Perfection in knowledge is in fact only for those who begin by the practice of virtue (dharma). <em>Yet, without yoga as a means, knowledge does not come about.</em> The practice of yogic methods is not the means by itself, yet it is only out of that practice of yoga that the perfection in knowledge comes about. And so it is said by the teachers: ‘Yoga is for the purpose of knowledge of the truth'” Thus wrote Shankara.

All things rest upon something else that is, all things are supported by another. This is because a foundation is needed for anything to exist. Being Himself the Ultimate Support of all things, God alone is free from this necessity. Yoga, then, also requires support. As Trevor Leggett says in his introduction to Shankara’s commentary on the Yoga Sutras: “This is yoga presented for the man of the world, who must first clear, and then steady, his mind against the fury of illusory passions, and free his life from entanglements.” Patanjali very carefully and fully outlines the elements of the support needed by the aspirant, giving invaluable information on how to guarantee success in yoga.

The first Yoga Sutra says: “<em>Now</em> the exposition of yoga,” implying that there must be something leading up to yoga in the form of necessary developments of consciousness and personality. These prerequisites may be thought of as the Pillars of Yoga, and are known as Yama and Niyama.

<strong>Yama and Niyama</strong>

Yama and Niyama are often called “the Ten Commandments of Yoga.” Each one of these Five Don’ts (Yama) and Five Do’s (Niyama) is a supporting, liberating Pillar of Yoga. Yama means self-restraint in the sense of self-mastery or abstention, and consists of five elements. Niyama means observances, of which there are also five. Here is the complete list of these ten Pillars as given in Yoga Sutras 2:30,32:

1) Ahimsa: non-violence, non-injury, harmlessness

2) Satya: truthfulness, honesty

3) Asteya: non-stealing, honesty, non-misappropriativeness

4) Brahmacharya: sexual continence in thought, word, and deed as well as control of all the senses

5) Aparigraha: non-possessiveness, non-greed, non-selfishness, non-acquisitiveness

6) Shaucha: purity, cleanliness

7) Santosha: contentment, peacefulness

8) Tapas: austerity, practical (i.e., result-producing) spiritual discipline

9) Swadhyaya: introspective self-study, spiritual study

10) Ishwarapranidhana: offering of one’s life to God

All of these deal with the innate powers of the human being or rather with the abstinence and observance that will develop and release those powers to be used toward our spiritual perfection, to our self-realization and liberation.

These ten restraints (yama) and observances (niyama) are not optional for the aspiring yogi-or for the most advanced yogi, either. Shankara states quite forcefully that “following yama and niyama is the basic qualification to practice yoga.” Mere desire and aspiration for the goal of yoga is not enough, so he continues: “The qualification is not simply that one wants to practice yoga, for the sacred text says: ‘But he who has not first turned away from his wickedness, who is not tranquil and subdued, or whose mind is not at rest, he can never obtain the Self by knowledge.’ (Katha Upanishad 1.2.24) And in the Atharva text: ‘It is in those who have tapas [strong discipline] and brahmacharya [chastity] that truth is established.’ (Prashna Upanishad 1:15)And in the Gita: ‘Firm in their vow of brahmacharya.’ (Bhagavad Gita 6:14) So yama and niyama are methods of yoga” in themselves and are not mere adjuncts or aids that can be optional.

But at the same time, the practice of yoga helps the aspiring yogi to follow the necessary ways of yama and niyama, so he should not be discouraged from taking up yoga right now, thinking that he should wait till he is “ready” or has “cleaned up his act” to practice yoga. No. He should determinedly embark on yama, niyama, and yoga simultaneously. Success will be his.

Yoga, Hernia and Madonna

Energizing Yoga, the oldest system of personal development needs no introduction nowadays and is becoming popular all over the world because of its tremendous physical and medical benefits. People are practicing yoga exercises in millions all over the world, thanks to the media which is highlighting the benefits of yoga for general public.

However, like every other science, yoga is also a precise science. The question is: ‘Are all yoga exercises safe to be practiced by all people with various health conditions?’
“This is the question which requires deeper digging into the subject of yoga itself, otherwise the consequences of doing yoga practice could be more dangerous than beneficial” said Subodh Gupta, the Yoga expert from India.

”While some of the yoga exercises can be taught easily without much complication and have various benefits, others can be very dangerous for people who are having problem of Hernia. For example, the yoga exercises like Sun Salutation, Cobra pose, Locust pose, Bow pose, Standing Forward Bend and Kapalabhati few to name are strictly not recommended if somebody is diagnosed with hernia as these exercises may make the hernia problem worse” said Subodh Gupta, the Yoga expert based in London.

Considering the fact that over half a million hernia operations were performed in the United States last year and more than 2 percent of British people are affected by hernia, the question to ask is if all yoga practitioners are aware of their health condition and precautions before beginning the Yoga exercise. Madonna, the famous singer who practices Ashtanga yoga regularly recently had an operation for hernia (Ashtanga yoga exercise series is a system developed by Mysore based famous Indian Yoga guru Shri K Pattabhi Jois). In fact, the famous Ashtanga yoga series which involves jumping can be very dangerous for people who are having problem of Hernia” according to Subodh Gupta. Hernia develops when the outer layers of the abdominal wall weakens, bulge or actually rip. Among many reasons for hernia the most common is straining due to: jumping, defecation, coughing, lifting heavy objects, etc.

‘Are precautions for various yoga exercises safely delivered by yoga Gurus?’ ‘Are yoga practitioners listening precautions before starting their yoga practice?’
“Well, this is a serious point to consider by all who are teaching yoga and also for people who are practicing yoga. The practitioners need to understand that their ignorance and lack of yoga knowledge may lead them straight into an operation room” said Subodh Gupta.

A noble effort has been done by some of the renowned yoga gurus from India and the teachers from the West to spread the awareness of yoga but unless Yoga exercises are done with precautions, more and more people will get injured without realizing.

Issued in public interest by Subodh Gupta, Yoga Expert from India.

Meditation and Managing Pain

Anyone who has heard of the expression about the power of
mind over matter will easily understand the benefit of
meditation on people suffering from different forms of
physical pain.

This article will deal with several methods by which
meditation can help in alleviating a person’s condition.

Concentration techniques in meditation can help in easing a
person’s suffering by keeping his/her mind away from the
source of the pain. Usually, the pain is magnified because
people choose to focus on it.

If their attention is trained somewhere else, the pain
becomes more manageable.

Another method is called mindfulness meditation. This
involves being aware of one’s present condition and
accepting it as such. If a person accepts that he/she is
currently in pain, dealing with it would be much easier.

Then there’s visualization. It could be considered as a
form of self-hypnosis. It is done by creating an image of
the pain and imagining it moving away from the body.

As suggested by these methods, they do not actually take
away pain from the person. Rather, they make dealing with
the pain much easier.

This is also the reason why methods like those mentioned
should be coupled with the proper medical advice. In fact,
consulting one’s doctor is advised before even trying the
meditation exercises out.

Otherwise, there will be a risk of overlooking more serious
conditions that could be causing the pain. Along with the
proper medical advice, meditation can help improve a
person’s tolerance for pain.

Kapalabhati – A Breathing Exercise

Kapalabhati is a very important asana and it should be part of your daily practice. This pose is also known as the Fire Breathing Pose, due to intake and outlet of air, with force. The exercise purifies your lungs and nasal passage. It is one of the powerful breathing exercises which help the entire body. It is one of a kind of the breathing exercises in Pranayama. Kapalabhati helps to make the motions of diaphragm very easy and controlled. This helps it to discard the muscle cramps present in bronchial tubes. A lot of force is used to do this asana. While exhaling the process is very strong and while inhaling it is done very calmly. It is a very energizing technique to re-boot all your muscles. It is a cleansing technique which emphasizes on cleaning your air passages and blockages in your chest.

This technique helps to remove the toxic air and takes in the fresh air. The breathing mainly takes place from the abdomen rather than chest which helps to remove the toxic air. Kapala means ‘the skull’ and bhati means ‘brings lightness’. It lightens your skull by extracting problems like sinusitis. It is an invigorating and an energizing asana as it clears your stuffy skull with fresh air. It is one of the great exercises for asthma patients and people suffering from respiratory problems. It is useful in removing impurities from the blood. It is a very stimulating asana which can do wonders for every single tissue of your body. This asana invigorates your spine due to the breathing technique.

It clears your body from constant intake of toxins, thus detoxifying it. It is very useful for maintaining your blood pressure. The abdominal organs get strengthened due to the pressure applied to these organs while breathing and exhaling. It increases the blood circulation and also improves the bowel movement which means getting rid of the diseases. The abdominal area is toned with the help of the breathing technique. A sense of calmness is achieved due to the lightness of the skull. It helps you to think better and make decisions quickly. It also keeps your mind alert. It helps clear your entire nervous system which proves to be very useful in making your body fit and fine. It is a great breathing technique to help your mind and soul.

Discover How Yoga Will Help You Reach Your Goals – Part 1

Time is valuable and there are a number of successful methods for goal realization. Yoga will cross train your mind and body for maximum potential.
Imagine being able to optimize your attitude in one hour, per day, or less.
Every day, people attend Yoga classes for physical or mental health, and walk away with the tools, to be masters of their own destiny.

How is this possible? Regular attendance at Yoga classes will result in a positive attitude adjustment for the student. Many of us walk around with a “perceived handicap.” We blame everything on our setbacks and lack of opportunities. Society, your boss, and your family are all easy targets to blame, for lack of opportunities.

It is true that age, financial status, gender, and ethnic background, are factors in success. However, these factors can all be overcome by working toward your goal on a daily basis and taking life one-step-at-a-time.
Remember, that if you think your situation is a disability, it will be.

How can Yoga do anything for you? For one thing, you will appreciate life to it’s fullest. You will stop wasting time, by letting daily opportunities go by.
Many of us have opportunities, but we think it won’t work, we don’t have what it takes for success, or we lack the drive to carry a plan through.

Yoga and meditation teach you to supervise your mind. Your mind has been allowed to work against you. Much like a “back seat driver,” the mind is good at “second-guessing,” fearing, doubting, and discouraging new ideas. The mind would prefer to stay in one place and let the world go by. Leaving you in a deeper state of frustration, by worrying about making a mistake.

You have to cultivate a positive relationship with your mind, through practicing Yoga postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), and meditation. You can find all this, and much more, in your local Yoga class. All you have to do is make it a regular routine. Yoga classes are everywhere, from corporate health clubs to senior centers. Whether you practice before, or after, work is not important, and you will start to feel the mental benefits, right away.

Many Yoga students walk away from their first class feeling guilty, that it took so long to start. They anguish over the fact they procrastinated so long.
However, the important part is to start and continue your Yoga practice.
There is also a common feeling of euphoria during and after Yoga classes.
The group support, classroom atmosphere, and the endorphins will make your day a much better one.

Yoga Was Just Stretching? Think Again

 

While on the way to spot a friend of mine at the local community center, he asked why I didn’t just join the gym and I explained to him that I practiced Yoga and occasional calisthenics at home for my exercises and didn’t feel the need for a gym membership. His response was predictable: “Yoga…isn’t that just stretching?”

I smirked at the familiarity of the question and proceeded to explain to him the theme of this article. As I told him and for those who may not know otherwise: No, Yoga is way more than just stretching or getting into supposedly awkward looking poses and positions.

It is a combination of stretching, breathing exercises, meditation and perhaps the most overlooked limb, adherence to a proper diet.

The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as a “union” or a method of discipline. Its ultimate goal is the union of man with God or the universe in one breath. Furthermore, it aims to liberate the spirit as the mind and spirit are equally involved in its practice.

Yoga is indeed the oldest existing physical-culture system in the world. Besides being a systematic and scientifically proven path to attaining physical fitness, it delays aging, rejuvenates and improves one’s appearance, maintains suppleness and increases vitality and the creative part of life.

With its core warm-up exercises known as the Sun Salutations (which are somewhat similar to the calisthenics exercise known as ‘burpees’), the inversion poses, forward and backward bending poses, balancing exercises for the arms and building focus, the average practitioner will attest to the fact that for attaining fitness, Yoga can stand its own.

Think Yoga can’t help with building strength? Think again. Heck, I challenge the most adept body-builder to hold the simple yet powerful peacock-pose for 90 seconds straight. Bet you they’d crash half-way in its execution-if they make it that far.

Yoga also offers unique breathing exercises which are lovely for patients with respiratory disorders and even singers and public speakers, moreover, with its unique relaxation pose, often practiced during and after its execution, Yoga offers a systematic means of profoundly relaxing the entire body perhaps the way no other exercise can. (Keep in mind of course that several of the poses give a deep body massage, not unlike the ones received in salons…just thought I should throw that in.)

With countless books, DVD’s, videos and classes being offered for all ages, levels of fitness and experience (some of them being free for the first couple of lessons to try Yoga out), I suggest you give it a trial and see for yourself what it can do.

One thing I promise you is this; you will walk out of your class and nod in agreement that indeed: “yoga is way more than just stretching.” It is THE exercise.

3 Common Mistakes by Yoga Newcomers

I always have family and friends that come to me for some questions on practising yoga and want to know more about my journey of practising yoga. I would say that whenever we start something new we have a certain feeling of trepidation and uncertainty of the unknown and in most cases, it is completely unfounded and we get on with things very quickly and easily. Sometimes it isn’t and a simple little thing can cause us to have an entirely negative first impression and perhaps even never want to try that activity or pastime again. Yoga has so many health benefits, on both a physical and spiritual level, that it would be a tragedy for anyone to miss out on them because they made a silly avoidable mistake on their first day. With that in mind, this article addresses the 3 most common mistakes of new Yogi, and how to make sure they don’t happen to you.

Mistake One: Not knowing what you want from Yoga.

The reality is that there are numerous different styles and forms of Yoga and each has its different attractions. Ask yourself what it was about Yoga in general that attracted you and then you can investigate a style that caters more specifically to that. You may like to set goals, be they physical, mental or spiritual. If you do then it’s a good idea to discuss them with the instructor of your class before you begin. Yoga instructors are usually very approachable and happy to talk about their passion. They will be able to talk to you about your goals for the class and let you know if you are being realistic, aiming too high or too low. Make sure your goal includes a timeframe so it becomes something that is measurable.

Mistake Two: Jumping in Feet First.

Having decided that they will give this Yoga thing a try many people take a running leap and jump into a 12-month stage by stage class. These classes are usually an upfront payment arrangement and progress from one level to the next as the weeks progress. They are a fantastic way of learning Yoga and becoming very good at it, but it’s quite possible you will choose a class that is not ideal for you.

The best way around this is to join a Yoga beginner class, also known as a drop in class. If you do these classes for a few weeks you will notice a high turnover of students as new people join and old people move on. These classes are designed to give you a very broad feel for the different types of Yoga. The level of the students in the class usually varies greatly so you can expect the instructor to keep the classes quite tame. The other key benefit of doing this is that the classes are pay as you go so there is no big financial outlay for you while you decide the type and style of yoga that best suits you. You are also not obliged to attend every class. With the longer courses, you can fall behind quickly if you miss a week or two in a row. With the pay as you go, classes, you will find that while each class is different the level stays quite low to cater for the newer people joining in.

Mistake Three: Choosing the wrong teacher.

Traditionally a Yogi had to be an apprentice to a skilled Guru for many years before he could teach even the simplest of Yoga technique. Nowadays a 3-day course over a long weekend is considered enough by some people. There is a big difference in what you will achieve depending on the skills and abilities of the person teaching you. Yoga is starting to make a regular appearance on the sports injury list and a large reason for this is instructors who have been taught just enough to be dangerous. A qualified teacher won’t necessarily be fantastic and an unqualified teacher won’t necessarily be terrible – but the odds are certainly cast in that direction, so it’s a good idea to check your instructor’s background and qualifications before you begin studying with them.

If you have been practising yoga, do share with me your yoga journey and how you get started and why, how practising yoga has transformed your life.