Sahaja yoga is gaining a great following worldwide, however for those not in the know, here are the ins and outs of this particular discipline.

What is Sahaja yoga?

Founded by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi it is described as a "mental silence", offering both physical and cognitive benefits.

It is becoming known for calming the mind and busting stress, as well as promoting healthy living, according to a new study conducted by the University of Sydney Medical School.

Senior lecturer of psychiatry at the school, Ramesh Manocha, claims that during a two-year study of the practice 52 per cent of participants experienced so-called "mental silence" several times a day or more, thanks to training their mind with Sahaja yoga.

"Practitioners had not only better mental and physical health but also a consistent relationship between health, especially mental health, and self-reported experience of mental silence," Mr Manocha said.

What are the health benefits?

The psychologist claims that this mind emptiness is a quietly joyful state, inducing mental peace and emotional equilibrium.

This can reduce levels of adrenaline and cortisol in the blood stream, which in turn decreases blood pressure and lowers brain activity, slowing down the mind and leaving the individual calmer and in a more relaxed state of mind.

How does it differ from other yogas?

Yoga for beginners comes in all shapes and sizes. However Sahaja yoga claims that its methods focus more on self-realisation than simply following a set of asanas and postures.

It is designed to make individuals more spiritually aware, connecting them with their inner self and developing a pure and moral consciousness.

Students are encouraged to experience and test this yoga for themselves, once they have already got to grips with meditation.

Classes are usually free and prompt newcomers to learn more about Sahaja yoga.

Posted by Freya Harper