How can I even start talking about yoga? It is something very close to me that opened me so much, taught me things about myself and took me into realms of ecstatic joy and bliss while practicing the relaxing position called shavasana.
Let me say I haven’t always been a yoga lover. My Mother used to do a lot of it including teaching occasionally but I never felt attracted to it. I went to a few classes and found it incredibly boring. I was into dancing and more fast paced rhythms, I also didn’t like the teacher going on about spirituality, I felt it was a little bit too much for me, “all these gurus trying to get you to become their disciple” was what I thought…I was quite young and it didn’t resonate with me at all.
Looking back I now realize that I wasn’t aware that yoga is very much a discipline of the mind and is so much more than just a physical practice, (which is probably what I was looking for at the time). Yoga can align you with your true spiritual nature and has the power to transform.
This brings me to write about my experience in Mysore, India, and how I so easily found an amazing teacher, and incredible being of light. A friend and yogi said that right teacher comes to you when the student is ready… I was simply put in touch from a friend and it turned out that he was the best for me! How lucky and grateful I am.
I started doing Ashtanga Yoga, a system transmitted by Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya and subsequently via K. Pattabhi Jois to the modern world. Its style is very energetic and dynamic, accompanied always by Ujjayi breathing, a relaxing ocean-like sound breath that resonates in the throat. There are many Vinyasa postures, (asana) which flow from one asana to another, realigning the spine with the movements and breathing. If you practice yoga and you are interested in knowing more about its origins and potential I think you would like the movie “Yoga Unveiled”, I watched it a while ago and found it very inspiring.
While in Mysore, (South India, the heart of Ashtanga Yoga), I really tested on myself how yoga can be a true medicine for the mind, body and spirit. All my racing thoughts quieted, my body gained strength and I performed postures I never thought I could do! Isn’t it amazing to realize that your body just did something that two weeks before it couldn’t do! Its life changing, you learn to listen to your body instead of forcing it. It surely wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns of course, practicing was hard and there more than a couple of mornings when I’d much rather have stayed in bed than go to yoga! But I’m glad I stayed consistent; in the end it was all a question of controlling one’s mind. Many times doing a practice is more a mental challenge than a physical one, believe me! As K. Patthabi Jois used to say “Body not stiff, mind stiff “.
I am looking forward to going back to Mysore and I keep practicing at home.
I invite you to check yoga out, and see if it’s right for you. It can be so beneficial, I forgot to say, all my back pains vanished too! Even if you pick up yoga just for fitness or weight reduction with no interest whatsoever in spirituality, after some time you will start eating differently, thinking differently and before you realize it you will have become a much happier and peaceful person, with a higher level of awareness of your body, mind and spirit.
Thank you Yoga!
Om Namah Shivaya