ISHTA is an acronym for the “Integrated Science of Hatha Tantra and Ayurveda” and is a physical and spiritual form of yoga that addresses the individual needs of each student who practices it. The Sanskrit word “ishta” means “individual” or “personalised”.
Like most forms of yoga, ISHTA yoga relies on a series of asanas (postures) that strengthen, stretch and align the body. ISHTA yoga also relies heavily on a mental focus and acute observation of the body through breathing (pranayama). Each ISHTA yoga class comprises physical postures, breathing techniques, higher energy control, meditation and deep relaxation. This is the ISHTA system of yoga – an Integral yoga that takes the best of all yogas and puts it into a nice package – all in an hour and a half session.
ISHTA yoga embraces elements from a variety of styles and seeks to help its students discover the exact blend of postures, breathing, and meditation techniques necessary to bring out their fullest potential. ISHTA yoga is a balanced practice where a student learns to tune into themselves and their own personal needs, taking the yoga at the pace of each individual.
ISHTA yoga classes otherwise are not structured differently from other forms of yoga. There are warm ups, and a variety of asanas that stretch parts of the body. Like other yoga classes, ISHTA yoga classes conclude with Savasana. The Tantra portion of ISHTA is the guiding philosophy behind it that imagines the self as a “layered onion” and at the centre of all of those layers is a perfect self – a state of complete and perfect bliss (samadhi). The final portion of ISHTA yoga is Ayurveda. Ayurveda, briefly put, is the ancient Indian science of healing where “Ayur” means life and “Veda” means science and is the practice of bringing harmony between our outer and inner selves.