The Path …Towards The Centre

A 3,000-year-old wisdom practice of meditating in peace and contentment strikes a chord with people of all ages and from all sections of society. Why has the practice become so popular in recent years? In this interview with our Yoga teacher Philipp Schleicher, we get to the bottom of the Yoga boom.

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Yoga Boom and Yoga Mood

The Yoga boom can certainly be traced back to its origins: Yoga developed from the sages who meditated for hours, even days, and maintained their physical fitness in order to do so. 3,000 years later, we live in a society in which most people work sitting down. But the human body is like a leopard, in that it’s more suited to climbing trees, so a sedentary lifestyle causes all manner of problems. People feel uncomfortable in their skin but don’t know why. Yoga trainer Philipp Schleicher explains the Yoga trend and its positive effects.

Our bodies are like leopards. They need to move, climb trees, run. If this urge is blocked, the leopard falls ill.
Philipp Schleicher

Obviously, one of the things that makes Yoga so attractive is that it’s a great form of exercise that has benefits for everyone, even if they are not interested in the other aspects of Yoga. But I also believe that people are more and more drawn to discovering their true self, improving their self-perception. And Yoga can really help with that.

Yes and no. Many Europeans see Yoga as a path to achieve and maintain fitness. Yoga can indeed result in a toned, flexible body that makes you feel good. This is part of Yoga, but only a small part.

Yoga is a state of mind, an extremely alert, meditative way of being in the world. It is an attitude to life, a philosophy of being present. Yoga can become part of every action we take: a way of perceiving and experiencing life. I think it’s important to emphasise that we can start practising Yoga for any reason. For many people, the physical aspect is their first priority. But over time, with regular practice, they learn that Yoga is about so much more than that.

Breathing techniques are extremely important in Yoga. They help to alleviate the effects of stress, which can culminate in burnout if left unchecked. By regularly turning our attention to our breath, we can apply Yoga techniques to our everyday lives, and these help to control day-to-day worries, deal with stressful moments and stop our thoughts from spiralling. Yogis and people who meditate can use their breathing to cope with stressful situations. Even if you’ve only been practising for a short time, you’ll soon notice a positive effect on your psyche.

Breathing deeply and evenly before a Yoga session is a great way to prepare for the exercises to come. Once you’ve settled into typical Yoga breathing, without even realising you’ll use it as you practise. Deep breathing is also integral to the relaxation at the end of a Yoga session. It boosts our concentration – and not just when we’re practising our Asanas.

No specific style of Yoga is likely to change everything. It’s about the experience, about trying things out, surrendering yourself, getting to know yourself and your body in a new way. No Yoga teacher or guru can provide this experience – it’s down to us, and us alone. The different techniques and styles are just a part of our journey, and my journey will differ from yours.

Yoga for Body and Spirit

‘As we learn to create pockets of stillness within our everyday lives, we can become calmer and more self-assured. This increases our mental resilience – though, obviously, we don’t suddenly become immune to moods, fears or uncertainties. As a stronger psyche develops, it allows us to face life’s intricacies with greater determination and stability.’

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The Mind
  • Encompasses perception and experience, our feelings, thoughts, ideas and memories.

  • Helps us determine what is important and organise our thoughts and feelings.

  • Enables us to learn.

  • Helps us to solve problems, adjust our behaviour to different situations and perform the tasks assigned to us.

Mental and Physical Health with Yoga

In the last twenty years or so, psychologists and neuroscientists have shown that mental activity, experiences and state of mind are much more closely intertwined with physical processes than previously thought. When we fall ill, we should pay far more attention to the part played by the ‘spirit’. Stress research indicates that psychological strain can cause imbalances and change our outlook on life. If this stressful state continues, it can trigger serious illnesses.

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Ayurveda Resort Mandira Bad Waltersdorf
Yoga Recognises That
  • Perception, positive thinking and feeling can affect our vital processes when we are ill.
  • Self-confidence and trust in therapy can be vital to the healing process.
  • A positive state of mind can activate the body’s own pain suppression system.
  • Mindfulness, exercise and breathing techniques can cheer us up, creating space for new thoughts and perspectives.
  • Our mind can support our healing processes.

Walking out of a Yoga class with a clear head can be calming in many ways.

  • Our minds are freer to focus on our goals, dreams and projects.
  • We may approach others with a smile.
  • Yoga can ease mental and physical tensions.
  • When we’re less tense, it’s easier to focus on the important things and move through life with greater serenity.
  • Mindfulness, which can help to relieve tension, is integral to the Yoga philosophy.