Yoga Classes in Belfast, Holywood and The Yoga Studio, Newry
News & Future Events:
Yoga Nidra Christmas Special - 19 December 2012 - Wandsworth Community Centre see Events & Special
Accepting enrolments for January. Request an enrolment form by emailing email@example.com
New Course on Mondays at Wandsworth Community Centre: Yoga Nidra (Deep Relaxation) Class starting January
What is Yoga & What We Do:
Yoga which means "union", is an ancient science of life originating in India and dating back many thousands of years . It implies perfect harmony of body, mind and spirit. It is a complete "life" practice not just a physical fitness regime. Outward benefits such as slimness, suppleness, poise, coordination, tone, body fitness and good health are superficial benefits in comparison to the inner gains or goals of a calm, peaceful and relaxed mind. AYC was founded by a small group of traditionally or classically trained Yoga Teachers dedicted to keeping the ancient teachings of Classical (Raja) Yoga alive.
We believe that it for the individual to feel comfortable at all times, this is the meaning of "Asana" , comfortable seat. AYC teachers do not use blocks, straps or props but encourage students to work with the body's own intelligence and integrity.
Patanjali discribes eight limbs (Ashtanga) in his Yoga Sutras. In class we cover Asana , the stretching & movement practices in order to make the body comfortable by clearing energetic blockages (mental & physical) which accumulate over time and cause disturbances or “vrittis” in the mind (chitta); Pranayama , the breathing practices which on the surface have a soothing effect on the body and mind but in actuality are practices to control, focus or concentrate the energetic (pranic) flows within the subtle body; Pratyahara , which is described as sense withdrawal, which with practice allows us to keep the focus of the mind within regardless of the external distractions which would include discomfort in the body which we haven’t been able to fix with asana and deep rooted or habitual thought patterns (samskaras); once we have mastered Pratyahara we will be able to practice Dharana  which is complete concentration or focus. At this point nothing more can be taught, the final two limbs of Yoga happen spontaneously – once total concentration can be maintained the state of Dhyana or meditation will be entered into spontaneously and through that state we can attain a state of Samadhi or “Bliss”. There are different levels of Samadhi, from a temporary feeling of bliss that cannot be held onto for any great length of time to residing permanently in that state and yet still being able to function in the Material world.
What we usually find with a Yoga Class, and quite a few of our students have been practicing Yoga for many years, is that the same practices are taught over and over again but what people understand or experience from them changes depending on where they are in their personal practice.
Each class starts with Mouna (Silence)
Initial Relaxation (which usually describes Pratyahara techniques)
Satsang (Discussion or Q&A)
Yoga Nidra (Deep Relaxation or Conscious Sleep)
We also usually include at some stage Nada Yoga (Chanting) and Yoga Philosophy to help students understand what they are experiencing or what they might experience in the future when they perhaps don’t have a teacher on hand to turn to.
The emphasis of Ananda Yoga Classes is not on the physical body, even when we are practicing Asana, but on the reactions of the Mind to the practice and this is Raja Yoga.
The Ananda Yoga Circle is dedicated to not changing or diluting the teachings of Yoga in any way .. we still try to have fun in class and try to keep it pretty light hearted as this benefits the most people and creates an atmosphere of acceptance and openness.