The Sunbury Yoga and Hermeneutic Society was founded at the Riverside Arts Centre in 1997, and is based on the fifty years study of the theory and practice of Yoga by its president Keith ap Owen. He studied from an early age with a number of notable masters, the most outstanding being Eugene Halliday, whose pupil Khen Ratcliffe was to become the president of the International Hermeneutic Society (IHS) and acted as Keith’s mentor for nearly thirty years.
The SYS was created as a holistic alternative to the current regimented, physically based version of Yoga, heavily promoted on its introduction into the UK market in the mid 1960s. So consequently the Sunbury Yoga Society does not offer ‘keep fit’ classes, but provides a practical approach, covering the art of meditation in its multifarious applications, including posture and exercise.
Yoga philosophy provides a pragmatic rationale which not only provides a reference for practice, but is non-divisive, so whatever your religion or beliefs you are still able to participate. The initial key to Yoga, including any physical action, is a quiet and stilled mind, so attention is first given to the techniques of deep relaxation. To be able to ‘let go’ completely, releases a feeling of well being, ultimately ‘yoking’ all our energies into a one point of consciousness. Self- integration. Yoga.
Although physical movements into posture (asana) are used, these are simply to demonstrate the coordination power of the individual’s conscious will, and are only performed after extensive preparation, slowly and gently, well within each person’s capabilities. The aim at first is not to immediately complete the posture but simply to extend the experience by slowing it down.
The Sunbury Yoga Society is open to all regardless of age, sex, race, religion and present state of health and physical ability. Yoga as practiced and taught at the SYS is suitable for complete beginners, right through to focusing the mind and improving the physical performance of a highly trained athlete. All can benefit.
As the SYS is founded on the ancient and continuous traditional teachings of Yoga, where the free development of the individual is central, we have no links or connections with any self-appointed organisation claiming to govern Yoga, or their attending associative supporting bodies.