Softyoga is an easy approach to a Hatha yoga practice that emphasises being ‘in health’ in the present moment, using a set of positive ‘feel great now’ principles and guidelines. Through softyoga we honour, accept and celebrate our current abilities; we reunite our mind and breath allowing us to be truly present and experience spiritual freedom. Although the physical benefits from softyoga are immense, softyoga is not primarily an exercise or stretch routine. The principles and guidelines of softyoga allow the practice to be accessible to anyone no matter their state of health or physical ability.
Principles and Guidelines of Softyoga ~ Ahimsa, Sukha, Atha
Softyoga follows the principle of Ahimsa first and foremost. In essence, Ahimsa means non-harming. The scope of Ahimsa encompasses all deeds, words and thoughts and through yoga we learn to honour and follow this, though for the purpose of our softyoga practice we are primarily focused on non-harming to one’s self - body, mind and spirit.
The second principle of softyoga is Sukha. Sukha is the happiness, ease and comfort we bring to our practice.
Also important to the practice of softyoga is the principle of Atha. Atha is the present moment (where events are perceived directly and for the first time, not as a recollection). The ultimate union of the body/mind/spirit with all that is only takes place in the present moment.
Keep these Guidelines in mind during your practice and throughout your day:
- Approaching your practice with an open, flexible mind will enhance your experience
- Frequency of practice, rather than intensity, increases the benefits of softyoga
- Continuing to broaden and deepen your knowledge of yogic practices will elevate your softyoga experience
- Familiarity with your own body/mind/spirit will enable you to choose beneficial softyoga practices for yourself
- Being aware of and honouring your own current capacity will enrich your softyoga practice
- Moving away from immediate or long term goals or expectations will keep your focus in the present
- Any challenge brought into your practice should be a controlled balance between effort and ease and honour the above principles of Ahimsa, Sukha and Atha
Who should practice softyoga?
“Yoga is a sacred discipline which,through various mental, spiritual and physical practices, reconnects us with oneness to all that is.”
By virtue of this very definition, yoga can be practised by anyone no matter their state of wellbeing, physical size or limitations or environment. The only requirement is to assess, embrace and practice within the realm of your current abilities.
What does the practice look like?
Softyoga is not a certain set of asanas or postures, but is an approach to yogic practices that allows you to stay truer to the roots and benefits of yoga. Any or all asanas, movements or practices may be practiced through softyoga principles.
Practising can be as extensive as a two hour full body/mind routine or as simple as taking a few moments to explore your posture and breath.