I still vividly remember the first time I enrolled myself in a yoga class. It was back in 2016. Of course, it was my mom’s obstinate behavior and I needed plenty of persuasion. She told me, “sometimes you just have to surrender and trust.” I gave in.
I pretended it wasn’t my first class and just played along. I was drawn to the aura of the class. I winged my way through the whole session until I found myself laying on my back during shavasana and experiencing what had to have been the most euphoric sensation during a fitness class. I was sold.
Every evening I attended the class and little did I know my very long and tumultuous relationship with yoga had begun. I continued to practice yoga throughout my college years and to be honest, I viewed yoga solely within the frame of exercise. At this point of time, pushing my body to its limits, being able to pull off those asanas whose names I couldn’t pronounce was the only goal. I didn’t understand why anyone would sign up for a yoga class. Anyone who is practicing yoga for a long time knows there is so much more. I was not there yet. I was unable to have my mental state align with the poses. I wasn’t willing to loosen the grip.
But then, everything changed.
I signed up for meditation sessions out of curiosity to explore what I was missing. I remember when my instructor, the woman who guided me through the meditation and its techniques said, “don’t go away from here thinking meditation is an escape from reality”. It took me several sessions to actually understand what she meant.
In the beginning people sometimes find meditating exciting. Like a new endeavor, and you think that if you do it, perhaps all the unwanted stuff will go away, you’ll feel more liberated, non-judgmental and light. But after a while that sense of project wears out. You just find time each day, and sit down with yourself, your thoughts. You come back to that breath over and over, through boredom, edginess, fear. I had to redefine meditation for myself as more than feeling good, and instead being able to acknowledge the full spectrum of being human, experiencing it all- the good, the bad, the ugly.
My journey with yoga and mindfulness has taught me that humans are so unpredictable. A tiny thought arises, then escalates, and before we know what hit us, we’re caught up with worry, fear and doubt. Meditation lets us feel our thoughts more clearly and come in touch with our emotions. The point is never to reach a special state, but to simply acknowledge the world around us and the ordinary truth that takes place in every moment.
I was passionate to discover more.
Four years into practicing yoga and wanting to dive deep into its very roots motivated me to get a Yoga Instructor Certificate earlier this year. The routine practice has taught me discipline. If I couldn’t perform something, I took a variation. I slowed down, listened to my body and in the process really connected to the spiritual side of yoga that in turned help me soothe my soul. I still can’t do a handstand, but every time I step on the mat, I’m reminded where I started and where I am now.
My journey with yoga has many chapters and it will continue to have its own twists and turns. I wish to encapsulate it into blogs and tutorials as I continue to learn more. Can’t wait to see what lies ahead!
I hope this blog helped you break a few myths around yoga. We shall dive more into its techniques in the future blogs.