The United Nations General Assembly has declared the 21st June, which is also the summer solstice, International Day of Yoga. Now with official recognition from the UN it is hoped that the holistic benefits of Yoga on health and wellbeing are further spread and acknowledged.

To observe this day and the positive commitment we are all making to improve our health by practicing Yoga, I will be teaching a class which celebrates the 5 points of Yoga as described by Swami Vishnudevananda (Sivanada Yoga). Proper exercise (asana) proper breathing (pranayama), relaxation, proper diet, and positive thinking and meditation.

The theme of the class will be celebrating the light and energy within ourselves and others. When we greet each other with ‘Namaste’ we are saying that we acknowledge the light within ourselves and those we are greeting.

The class will start with an adapted ‘Surya Namaskar’ (sun salutation) which will be repeated 108 times following the Gayatri Mantra – an ancient Vedic mantra which honours the symbolic significance of the sun. Following or repeating a mantra when practicing Yoga is a way of focusing your attention on the ‘now’, and calming and stilling the mind.  Practicing Yoga is not a competition, so you can choose to follow all 108 rounds or rest at any time.

Throughout the practice the breath will guide our movements. Each breath will lead you into and through the next posture. 108 is a very auspicious number, not only in Yoga tradition, but also in nature, maths and science. Repeating Surya Namaskar (sun salutation) 108 times allows us time to fully contemplate and give gratitude to the symbolic significance of the sun as all life on earth would not exist without the energy and vitality of the sun. We can therfore appreciate and give gratitude to the holistic health benefits and vitality we gain from practicing Yoga.

We will follow Surya Namaskar with a selection of familiar asanas to rejuvenate the whole body and end with a guided meditation. Green juice, the energy and vitality of the sun in a glass, will be served at the end of the class.