YOGA & Pilates History & Philosophy
“Yoga means union – an integration or ‘coming together’ of the mind, the physical body and the spirit.”
This ancient and powerful tradition is much more than just an excellent physical exercise. First developed in India, Yoga has been practiced for over 5000 years. Hatha refers to the ‘physicality’ of yoga whereby the ‘asanas’ or postures are performed with attention to the ‘drishdty’ or gaze (internal focus) and to body alignment, as well as with awareness of the breath and the bandhas (energy storehouses).
Vinyasa ‘Flow-YOGA’ is a Hatha approach which links the postures in a vigorous, flowing sequence emphasizing continuous steady rhythm of movement and breath. “Vinyasa”, in Sanskrit, means putting together, or connecting. This refers to the synchronization of movement with breath, of practicing a breathing/movement system. The breath is ‘the heart’ of this discipline and links the poses (asanas) in a precise order. Flowing with the breath enhances the meditative aspect of yoga practice. It stimulates, relaxes, rejuvenates, and detoxifies every system in the body. Muscles and joints are strengthened and mobility and agility improved. The positive affect Yoga has on the circulatory, nervous, lymphatic and adrenal systems promotes overall health. Flow-YOGA is a method of ‘meditation in motion’. The moment-by-moment experience allows us to be perfectly ‘here and now’. We then move into the quiet place inside our minds, slow down the ‘Chitta-Vritti’ (monkey-mind, fluctuations of the mind). This in turn releases tension, modern-day day stress, and ultimately – gives us an opportunity to experience ‘who we truly are’. Level 2 classes are geared towards the somewhat practiced yoga student, and options and modifications are given in each & every class. Level I in Flow-YOGA are gentle classes that integrate the use of props, breath control, deep stretching, relaxation & meditation. This is an appropriate class for beginners and/or for those days when you desire a gentler approach to your practice.
“Movement flowing out from a strong centre”
Originally developed by Joseph H. Pilates over 90 years ago, the ‘Pilates Method’ of body conditioning is a unique system of stretching and ‘core’-strengthening exercises. It is the ultimate “mind-body” exercise which increases abdominal and lower back strength, dramatically improves posture, flexibility, balance, respiratory function, as well as enhancing physical vitality and emotional well being.
Pilates Matwork is an attainable and rewarding exercise discipline for all ages and fitness levels. Participants are encouraged to work within their own personal fitness levels, are offered options and modifications and are coached to work slowly, smoothly, and with focus on the fundamental principles as taught by Joseph Pilates himself. With control, ‘mindfulness’ and commitment, improvements are felt rapidly. Matwork teaches us that the body is the finest and only tool necessary for achieving physical fitness. Its focus on the breath unites mind and body resulting in the revitalizing and unique union of strength and relaxation simultaneously.
Heart & Soul YOGA-Dance Blend
Traditional conditioning blended with mind-body activities allows for variety and the best of both ‘Western and Eastern’, Old-and New-Age disciplines. Less rigid in structure than traditional fitness-club aerobics- yet still attention to body alignment, and muscular activation, cardiovascular improvement – with the added benefits of increased awareness to connecting to the Energy within us all. Dancing releases the ‘child within us all’ ! Yoga feels great after heating up the muscles through dance. Heart and Soul is an eclectic fusion of Elizabeth Hagan’s favourite exercise pursuits, the culmination of some 36 years experience in instructing. Like all other Heartsong programs are designed with respect, enthusiasm and ‘awe’ for the ENTIRE human experience!