She knew, Yoga derived its name from a Sanskrit root ‘yuj’ which meant ‘to join.’ But what or who did Yoga join? She was unconcerned about it.
I’m talking about a woman who was not a believer in the traditional sense.
She had faith in her abilities and considered her work to be her worship. Her children and family were her duty and she handled her tasks on both fronts exceedingly well. But there was a pin of discontent in her heart. And she didn’t know what she was looking for until the day she received Yoga DVDs in Thanksgiving last year.
8 months into Yoga, and still choosing to keep her identity secret, she writes for us today sharing her journey of transformation. Henceforth, you’ll be reading this woman’s words.
Thanksgiving….I had a sink full of dishes to do, porch to clean and kids to put to bed.
My husband helped with the kids and I handled the kitchen. While doing the dishes I was recalling that night’s dinner and the gifts we received. I wanted to unwrap them as soon as possible, but the work at hand…I didn’t go.
Three months passed.
One morning, my daughter was running around with a pack of DVDs and my little son chasing her. I exhaled and took the pack away from their hands – Yoga DVDs, with mum’s love. Could my mum be really this naive? Yoga? And Me? I handed them back to my girl and asked her to be careful not to break them.
She marched towards the desktop and played the first DVD and started following the moves. I could see she was doing it all wrong. So, I went to assist her to do them properly, and to do that, I had to get involved. I realized my body has gone stiff after all these years of sitting at the desk.
My daughter’s excitement fused off after only 15 minutes and we switched it off. But something happened at night.
I slept better. I woke up fresh, the kind of fresh you feel only in hilly areas. Later, I discussed it with my co-worker, and she asked for the DVDs to give yoga a try herself. I grew selfish. I wanted the full benefits first for myself. After all they were a gift from my mom!
But I agreed to share one with her.
After a week, I was hooked to Yoga and decided to join a proper class. But, the class was horrible!
I left it after only 3 sessions.
After a week of absence, I stumbled into one of my ex-co-yoginis at the grocery store. She seemed to be radiating some kind of positive vibes and I approached her to inquire if she was continuing her sessions. Instead, she asked me why I left such an amazing teacher.
This got us talking. Our discussion and my doubts amplified and so, she insisted that we move to the patisserie to sit, eat and chat patiently. We ordered waffles, and honestly, those were the most hair and brow raising waffles I’ve ever had.
Excerpts from our waffle chat –
Ok, even if you’re a bad yogi, embrace it!
She exclaimed after an hour of explaining that there is no such thing as a Bad Yogi. Yes, yoga has rules. And yes, it is expected that you follow them for an enhanced living. But, at the end of the day, its your choice how you want to live.
You are unable to do any pose properly. Yoga accepts you.
You drink, you smoke, you relish meat. Yoga still welcomes you.
Yes, it IS about having a proper lifestyle. But, its more about accepting yourself and loving the way you are. Pushing your boundaries is essential to grow, but beating yourself up if you can’t achieve that, is only going to take you down the spiral.
I inhaled deep trying to accept that she is right. Even if I take the “yoga” part out, she is right about acceptance of oneself.
Isn’t that great that you ‘know’ what you need?!
This was her response when I attempted to defend my stand stating that I’m too ‘stiff’ and too ‘busy’ for yoga. I was trying to exaggerate my limitations and she had a counterpoint to all of my arguments.
She suggested, I make use of yoga props or get registered into an Iyengar yoga class (It’s a style of yoga with poses that can bring you out of your physical disabilities!).
She then explained that if you do not open your heart to yoga, your body would remain closed to it too.
I couldn’t help but agree that it was only my mental barriers that were limiting me. And I kind of made up my mind to give it one more try. That’s when she told me how I can become a better yogini and assimilate the real benefits of my yoga class.
Tip #1: It’s a no judgement zone
Just like Yoga accepts you, never judges you, your intentions must also be to inculcate similar habits in yourself. The tradition of yoga goes beyond the realms of caste, color, race, religion or spiritual beliefs.
The nature is yoga’s muse. And nature is same for everyone.
The sun, the winds, the water, they don’t discriminate and so shouldn’t you. Do not judge yourself, do not judge others, and breathe in the feeling of unity.
Tip #2: One move. One breath.
“Whenever I see you, I am instantly, magically….happy !!”
If you haven’t been blessed by that compliment, you’re clearly lacking in the optimistic department.
Sometimes, big pictures can be intimidating. Crippling.
What do you do then? How do you march towards your goal and achieve it?
Focus on doing one thing at once, and do it with utmost perfection. The best preparation for tomorrow is living today to the fullest.
Stop worrying about things beyond your control, and concentrate on what’s in your hand.
Tip #3: Eye your progress. Gaze inwards.
Perfect poses would be a far sight if you have never been into any form of physical exercise. You’d want to rush and so, you’d compete with your other friends until the place that was meant to relax you would start stressing you out. So human it is.
We are always trying to be the best. Fastest. Perfect. But how does one define perfection? Perfection does not exist!
Yoga believes a little progress each day betters a man, not the ‘aspiration’ of perfection.
Don’t fret about the perfect Vinyasa or pose. You defeat the purpose that way. Accept your pace with a faith that one morning you’ll get there.
And when you’ll look back you’ll feel a sense of peace washing over you that you imbibed the true essence of yoga. Not just in your class, strive for a little progress each day in your regular life.
Tip #4: If you ditch silence, Silence ditches you
An indispensable part of Yoga practice is Meditation. Giving yourself to silence. You don’t necessarily need to chant mantras or concentrate on your third eye. You just have to sit still and empty your mind.
Disturbing thoughts will come. All you need to do is – Breathe them in, hold them for a few moments gently asking them to leave, and then breathe them out.
It is tough initially. But gradually your mind learns this process and repeats it even when you are not consciously practicing yoga. A stressful situation at work? Your mind would take care of stress in the way it has been taught to in the yoga class. This is how this ancient physical practice tames stress and thoughts of depression.
While meditation makes you conscious of your thoughts, giving you the power to control them. Introspection is another limb of Yoga that lets you become aware of your actions. Together, you gain control of your life.
Tip#5: Say “Thank You”. Often.
To be a better yogi, one must express gratitude. Though such conscious comes by itself when you start practicing yoga, you must also act upon it.
Of course, you are happy that there was less rush on the road today, smooth ride, no traffic jam, and you managed 15 minutes for a relaxed breakfast.
Of course, I felt blessed with the delicious turkey my sister cooked for me on Christmas and saved my ass. But, did I let her know? Did I thank her for the amazing job she did?
Would I do that now? Well, that very moment, I paused our conversation and called my sister. I told her that I adore her for simply being there for me all the time. Never had a phone call with her felt so relaxing. It was the first time I ever expressed my love verbally. And so, I decided to thank every one frequently.
My first thanks went to my wonderful co-yogini, and today, my thank you goes out to all you amazing readers and Workout Trends for helping me share my modest journey.
After all this time in and out of yoga class, the term, “Yoga” has fetched itself a whole new meaning for me. It had united me with not only with my true self, but with the world outside.
I’m now, open, independent, and present. When I focused my mind on my breath, something which is happening now, in present, I became aware of things that I never noticed. My potential, my higher self being one of those.
Good, bad, imperfect….Oh! I’m just a yogi. Unlabeled and free.
I do yoga, I do my job, I love myself and my family. And I stay blessed.
Sending your way, warm hugs and eternal sunshine. 🙂