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How to find balance on your yoga path

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Uncertain whether to focus on cooling Hatha or hot and sweaty Vinyasa, Katrina Mercado consults Yoga Bay owner Pascal Laroumanie.

Ommmm…The promise of increased flexibility and strength, more energy and better posture has just about everyone on the mat doing their daily sun salutes. But there’s more to it than that. Yoga is all about achieving balance in mind, body and spirit, so you benefit on three levels.

The physical poses combine to stretch and strengthen the body, the breathing techniques help you stay calm, get grounded and be mindful, and the combination of the two can deepen your spiritual practice.

If you are trying to work out which classes to take, it’s important to note that there are two main ways of practising yoga. Classes such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Power Flow are fast and dynamic, focused on repetitive, flowing movements that heat up the body. Slower, more relaxing yoga practices, like Hatha and Yin, are about finding stillness and cooling the body through deep stretching. We need to include both the fast and slow flows in our yoga practice to come into balance and stay in optimum condition.

“One cannot exist without the other,” Yoga Bay owner Pascal Laroumanie confirms. “Some days you will need a fast, active practice. Other days, you might want a slow flow to release tension.

Listen to your body. It does not need the same flow every day. You must figure out what it is asking for in order to give it the specific nourishment that it needs.”

Balance is something we are constantly trying to achieve. Some days we may feel completely centred, and other days we might struggle to find our footing. Remember to go back to your breath and intention.

Ideally, Pascal recommends you do a relaxing slow-flow yoga class three times a week, and daily fast-flow exercises.

Slow-paced yoga is calming, inward-looking and not too energetic but it will help build lean muscle over time and boost your metabolism. More physically demanding, fast-flow yoga really works the cardiovascular system and builds muscular strength.

“Anyone looking to lose weight should note that you can burn more calories in faster classes, but a fair amount through slow-flow yoga as well,” Pascal says. “Yoga in any form relieves stress, promotes peace of mind and is a good complement to all kinds of sports. It also helps your body recover from muscle fatigue and helps prevent injuries.

“Yoga is a whole experience; it does not limit itself to physical practice,” Pascal adds. “Try increasing your intake of sattvic foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts – anything natural and vegetarian friendly. Cut down on tamasic products t hat decrease your energy, like alcohol, fermented foods and tobacco. Balance is the key to everything.”


CONTACT

• Yoga Bay, yogabay.hk


Photo courtesy of www.wikipedia.com

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