Yoga means join, unity of body, mind and spirit. This holistic approach is achieved through physical exercises, relaxation, breathing techniques, meditation, proper diet, and cleansing detoxification techniques. With these practices we gain better health, peace, tranquillity, positive thinking, a steady mind, energy and inner strength. We also learn to come into contact with our real selves, as we are turning inwards and through introspection we hear and understand our real needs and gain self-awareness and self-acceptance.
The first yoga centre, “Santosa” opened in Limassol in 1980s, by Kalliope Pantelides, better known as Pitsa Matafia, in a decade that most Cypriots had no idea of what yoga is all about, as they confused yoga with religion, weird practises and dangerous fitness methods. Pitsa, supported the growth and spread of the light of yoga in Cyprus. She has devoted time and provided space for the unfoldment of yoga in Limassol and dedicated most of her life to serving this purpose. “Santosa” is the offspring of her efforts as she provided the nucleus and tenacity to maintain and spread the teaching of yoga in Cyprus for many years. Nowdays, Pitsa teaches traditional Satyananda Yoga and focuses mainly on teaching meditation from the tantras and advanced yoga techniques, chakra shuddhi and other yoga related topics.
Below are the six elements of yoga that will help us achieve unity:
• Exercises, should be slow, gentle, simple postures mainly, tailored out to fit the specific needs of the individual, in the case especially of yoga therapy, and one is encouraged to respect his/her limits, without trying to exert oneself. With yoga exercises, we remove energy blockages, physical, mental, and emotional, we boost the immune system, the endocrine, the nervous, the circulatory system, the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems, as well as lubricating all the joints, and regenerating all the organs and glands.
• Breathing techniques are our key to emotional balance, and positive thinking. They help balance the energies which circulate inside the physical body, and calm the mind. Breathing is a valuable tool towards better health, vitality, positive thinking and a peaceful emotional state. Most of us breathe incorrectly, using only a small part of our lung capacity. Our breathing is shallow and the result is that our body and brain are starved, which is completely unnecessary considering the plentiful supply of oxygen in the air all about us. The brain has ten compartments, but in our present stage of evolution we are only able to utilise only one of these.
• Relaxation allows a total and deeper state of energy circulation. The body being in the alpha state balances the whole system and regenerates both body and mind. It has a valuable effect on our breathing and thus develops situations such as the above, because the breathing becomes calmer, deeper, more relaxed and is able to affect the whole system in a beneficial way. There are different methods of relaxation, starting from very simple ones to visualisations, healing relaxations, positive thought projections, for self-acceptance, elimination of fears, changing the experience... etc.
• Meditation is the focusing on a specific point of concentration, and this is a very powerful tool to release the different layers of the mind from stress, fear, and negative thoughts. It uses all the above benefits, as the body relaxes completely in this state, the breath stabilises and becomes deeper and more relaxed, and is also a very powerful tool to reduce high blood pressure, and very beneficial for heart problems.
• Diet yoga also means healthy diet. Although it is not a compulsory issue when one takes up yoga exercises, if one continues for a while the body by itself will refuse to eat food that is not in harmony with the system, one will be in a position to understand the signs of disgust that the physical body will be transmitting. We are mainly interested in eating fresh live vegetables and fruit, grains, and pulses.
• Cleansing and Detoxifying techniques start from simple ones like an enema, or a cleansing of the nostrils, mouth, and throat, simple stomach washes, and the whole system cleansing technique called Shankaprakshalan, which cleanses the whole digestive system, from the mouth to the anus. Detoxifying and relieving the system from too much toxicity either from wrong eating habits, or from medicine, or from toxins in general. Everyone benefits from such a cleansing procedure as the whole system is renewed and full of energy after each cleansing session.
Lastly some more benefits from holistic yoga:
• Stress relief
• Inner peace
• Improved immunity
• Living with greater awareness
• Better intuition
• Better relationships
• Better flexibility & posture
• Increased muscle strength and tone
• Improved respiration, energy and vitality
• Cardio and circulatory health
• Improved athletic performance
• Protection from injury
• Weight loss
“You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside”. - Wayne Dyer