The Sanskrit word ‘Purna’ means integrated, complete or ‘full’. Purna Yoga represents a holistic approach to yoga integrating all eight limbs of yoga the way it was originally taught in India. The focus is not just on the physical postures, but also on the other seven limbs including philosophy, meditation, pranayama and yogic personal and social code of ethics (yamas and niyamas). The postural instruction is based on Iyengar’s precision and alignment. Purna yoga is suitable for both beginners and advanced students, since the sequences range from gentle restorative to dynamic vinyasa. While yoga philosophies, such as ahimsa (non-violence) are threaded throughout Purna Yoga classes, students are encouraged to build flexibility, strength and stamina of body, mind and spirit. It creates the ultimate mind-body challenge and encourages you to adopt a yogic living: “The art of loving yourself by living from the heart.”
I’m currently being trained to be a yoga teacher under the Purna Yoga umbrella by Byron Yoga Centre. For me, it brings yoga back to its origin and away from the fancy exercise focused yoga classes in the gyms. It brings me back to simplicity. For now, no fancy arm balances or inversions, but first of all learning the basic postures safely and correctly. The main aim of asana is to train and discipline the mind. I know for myself, it is often way more challenging to sit still or to do a pose very slowly then going to a fast-paced Vinyasa flow. Like most people nowadays, I’m used to rush through life as well as through my yoga practice. My challenge is to shorten my asana practice and lengthen my pranayama and meditation practice. The meaning of asana is not without reason ‘comfortable seat’, the preparation for meditation. Once again, I learn that yoga is not at all about flexibility and beauty, these are just two positive by-products.