The city of Yogyakarta in Central Java, Indonesia is known for many things to many people. It is a unique vacation destination offering the warmth of tropical Paradise, center for Eastern art and culture, and home for the two largest and most important Buddhist and Hindu temples in Southeast Asia. To the modern practitioners of tantric art and personal wellness, Yogyakarta is also known as a perfect venue for yoga. Yoga in Yogyakarta offers the peace and relaxation that are necessary in achieving the objectives of this Eastern discipline.
Yogyakarta is a leading tourist destination in Indonesia primarily for its ancient landmarks and heritage buildings. The entire city exudes mysticism and spirituality, which makes it a most fitting venue for the practice of wellness arts such as Ayurvedic treatments, Chinese healing, massage and yoga.
Yoga is an Indian discipline that is deeply rooted in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Before Indonesia converted to Islam, the people adhered to Hindu and Buddhist thoughts, and so the discipline of Yoga is deeply embedded in the hearts of the people. Based on Hindu philosophy, yoga is actually a Sanskrit word that means “yoke” or “to join”, “to unite” or “to be attached”. This is the ultimate goal of yoga – to attain a sense of joining or uniting with the University, achieving a perfect sense of spirituality and tranquility by following a set of physical, mental and spiritual disciplines. Although these all sound spiritual and abstract, the disciplines are attainable upon following actual, observable steps. This is why there are yoga schools that aim to guide the practitioner in perfecting the disciplines, although yoga may also be performed in the privacy of anyone’s room.
The most common form of yoga is hatha yoga. Introduced by an Indian sage in the 15th Century, this form of yoga is actually what practitioners in western countries know simply as “yoga”. The Sanskrit word “Hatha” puts the sun (“ha”) and moon (“tha”) together to refer to a union of opposites; the sun represents positive currents and the moon negative currents. The purpose of yoga is to unite pairs of opposites in order to achieve fullness. Hatha yoga, or now simply yoga, prepares the body for physical purification, involving different techniques in posture (asanas) and breathing (pranayama).
There are a number of yoga classes and studios in Yogyakarta that offer both to local and foreign tourists different yoga techniques and styles, including hatha yoga. Three of the most popular studios among many are Yoga Leaf, Balance Mind Body Soul inside the Puri Artha Hotel Complex on Cendrawasih Street, and Sangam House, which is also an Indian restaurant, boutique, and art gallery, located on Pandega Siwi Street.
Yoga in Yogyakarta is highlighted by local master teachers, relaxing atmosphere, and overall exotic appeal of this ancient city. Somehow it helps one to focus and meditate knowing that the mystical and enigmatic Prambanan and Borobudur Temples are close by. Different Yoga studios in Yogyakarta offer classes for children, beginners, intermediate yogis, and pregnant women. There are also programs to treat back pains, promote weight loss, and encourage restful meditation. Some studios offer boutique services and a warm glass of tea after each class.