Nowadays yoga is quiet a popular activity and almost everybody has heard of it. However, the majority has no clue what yoga actually is and that there are so many different forms of yoga. Did you know that Yoga is the oldest science of life? Yoga is originated in India many thousands of years ago.
Yoga helps you to minimize stress and brings your body back in a fit, flexible and healthy condition. The physical exercises in combination with breathing and relaxing you can learn at any age and body condition. Yoga and its big wire of possibilities can help you to get healthy and stay healthy.
Initially, the sole purpose of practising yoga was to experience spiritual enlightenment. In Sanskrit (the ancient language of India), yoga translates as “yoke” or “union,” describing the integration of mind and body to create a greater connection with one’s own pure, essential nature.
Today there are many different styles of yoga being taught and practiced. Although all of the styles are based on the same physical postures (called poses), each has a particular emphasis.
When you are curious to learn more about yoga and would like to experience what yoga can do for you, or if you are a more experienced yogi already but would like to deepen your knowledge or try a new yoga style, a yoga retreat might be a great option for you. And we have the perfect place for this!
Shanti Som wellbeing retreat offers one of the best locations in Spain for your yoga retreat holiday. Surrounded by natural beauty in the mountains above Marbella, yet just a short drive to the coast, there is no better place for a yoga holiday. Whatever your level, Shanti-Som will immerse you in a harmonious approach that incorporates the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual change that yoga can bring.
Shanti Som is a beautiful boutique hotel and ever since it opened in 2011, it is one of our personal favorites. We visit them every year and although it is usually just a brief visit, we always leave with lots of new energy! Last year we experienced the turbo detox, this year we try a bit of Shanti Som yoga.
Shanti-Som has three yoga teachers that offer a variety of practices including Kundalini, Hatha, Vinyasa flow, Asthanga and Pranayama breathing meditation. Throughout the yoga retreat, the emphasis is on the practice, however theory is taught during the flow of a class and a daily workshop helps guests understand the roots of yoga and the union it is designed to create.
During the two days we were there, we had the pleasure of experiencing some wonderful yoga classes with Mourad. Mourad has a passion for Yoga and holistic treatments. Mourad teaches Kundalini yoga and for us this was a complete new style of yoga, that we had never experienced before.
If your experience of yoga is, like ours, mostly with popular hatha styles, there’s many things about a Kundalini yoga class that will strike you as different: music plays throughout the class; yogic exercises are mostly done with the eyes closed and there’s just as much emphasis placed on breathing, mantras and meditation as there is on physical postures.
Kundalini yoga is a spiritual, mental and physical discipline based on Hindu traditions and is one of the highest techniques found in yoga. The philosophy draws on energy which is said to exist at the base of the spine and is coiled like a snake. Kundalini is Sanskrit for snake or serpent. This form of yoga has effect upon self knowledge, consciousness and intuition. Its practitioners say that it increases creativity to very high levels. It is practiced or taught under the guidance of a yoga master or spiritual master who will teach mantra, prana, sadhana, asana and other techniques of meditation.
The basic format of a Kundalini class begins with a chant (“Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo,” which means “I call upon the divine wisdom,”), some warm-up stretches and pranayama, followed by one or two exercises, then a relaxation period and meditation, and then ending with a song and blessing. If you are not used to it, the ¨singing¨ feels quite strange at the beginning, but if you surrend to it, it becomes very relaxing. Besides, you perform most of the class with your eyes closed, which makes the practice quite a personal experience, and allows you to go at a comfortable pace and to take rests, without feeling self-conscious.
Kundalini yoga is an intense physical and mental practice and should only be considered by people who are in reasonable health physically. Each Kundalini Yoga pose is done with a breath or breathing pattern that intensifies the effects of the pose and frees the energy in the lower body. Kundalini poses done in sequence may consist of rapid, repetitive movements done with breath or holding a pose while breathing in a particular way.
Ideally, the exercises are held for an exact length of time—so, an exercise might consist of doing a twisting posture for two minutes, a pranayama technique for three minutes and then combining mudras and chanting for six minutes. This doesn’t sound very strenuous, but try holding your arms at 90 degrees from your body for even two minutes and you’ll get an idea of how challenging some exercises can be. I discovered muscles I did not even know I had!
As you obtain poses you are rarely corrected by the master but just overseen, as the awakening of energy must be done by each person in their own time and with their own realizations.
The final song blessing, “May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you, and the pure light within you guide your way on,” is an uplifting end to what already is an energising and quite spiritual, yoga experience…
If you want to learn more about Kundalini yoga and would like to practice the more traditional Hatha yoga styles at the same time, the Shanti Som yoga retreat is a great choice. This 7 day Yoga Retreat includes a week of physical release, spiritual engagement and inspiration. Group size is limited to ensure that each participant gets sufficient individual attention both on and off the yoga mat.
For more information, look at: http://www.spa-in-spain.com/hotels-and-spas/hotel/shanti-som-wellbeing-retreat/6-night-yoga-retreat/