Yoga. A practice I didn’t know much about and therefore would consider boring not so long ago. A practice I will now go to India for. To become a certified yoga teacher and to learn more about the philosophy behind it.
More than just stretching
Until recently, I taught about yoga more as the mere act of stretching. When I watched a YouTube tutorial to learn more about it I soon lost interest as it seemed like really light exercise and I wanted to work out my body from head to toe. Something which yoga can provide you with as well – I just didn’t have the patience to let the video come to an end.
It took me the event of meeting a real yoga teacher to start getting to know more about the idea behind it and finally trying it out myself. I knew a bit about the philosophy already, but still never practiced. So just the act of practicing with a teacher got me to realize how much you can truly benefit from it. Connecting your body and mind at the same time I was amazed by how powerful a simple practice like this could be.
True power of Yoga
I think many of us don’t know enough about yoga or don’t know it’s true potential. We are to overrun by fitness yoga studios who sadly don’t focus on the original idea of it anymore. I can only speak for myself here, but once I realized yoga is something for your whole body and your soul, I started to recognize and worship its true power. I’ve been practicing for four months now and I’m really seeing a change. I got calmer, more centered, I’m feeling more at peace with myself. I definitely miss it when I go without practicing for a few days. It’s something that has become part of my routine, something I enjoy doing, something that gives me new energy after an exhausting day.
Letting yourself into it
When it comes to yoga, it can help you so much if you just let yourself fully into it. What I’ve seen a lot of people neglect is letting themselves into the mood, letting themselves experience the true power of their body. Your body has so much to offer, to explore. Once you train your body and once you’re focused you also train your mind. In every yoga class I’ve been to so far, the teacher also focused on meditation, which is extremely important to me.
I meditate every day at home (more about that in the next post), but the combination with yoga led me to incredible process. Once you have completed the class and exhausted your body, your mind is clear, ready to focus and absorb your surroundings. Being in the moment, completely focused on your practice, not disturbed by any kind of sounds or noises. That’s yoga.
I want to state a quick disclaimer, that I am still not an expert in yoga. I might be after going to India, but so far, I am only talking about my own experiences and how yoga helped me personally. For, me it is always a good sign if I feel like I need to do something more often. Like I do with yoga. I love to practice at home and I usually feel much calmer afterwards. For me, practicing yoga this is also the perfect way to start my day.
Once you wake up and your muscles are still tired, you slowly help your body to awake to a new day with yoga. You let your mind focus on your body, you try not being distracted in any way while doing so. I find yoga right after waking up extremely effective. You start to feel your body in a whole other way, every movement is more intense, every time you bend over you responses with a bit of more pain. But its good pain. It’s stretching and lengthening your body and absorbing what you are really able to do. And I can guarantee you you are able to do a lot.
My personal journey
After doing yoga around four times per week now – but really intense, I can also see how my body is changing, how I feel stronger. Yoga focuses on you as a whole, not only on a certain muscle, not only on legs or arms. Its about being in harmony with every single part of your body. That’s why it’s so effective. For the first time I really felt my shoulders, my feet and hands more. Part you don’t usually work out when going to the gym.
I’m also feeling more powerful. There are certain positions in yoga that make you feel a certain way. While it is evident and scientifically proven that we feel better in a certain posture – standing straight, hands on our hips and smiling. Or that we feel worse when crouching, making a sad face and looking to the floor. Our posture can have enormous effects on how we feel. The same is true doing yoga. As this practice consists of a lot of different postures, you can experience a lot of different feelings.
Postures and feelings
I love the baby posture, for example. Whenever I do it I feel so small, so vulnerable. But that’s the beauty in it. It is okay to feel this way. If only it makes you stronger to admit that you are not a superhero and that you can be hurt sometimes.
Then there are positions I feel a strong power rushing through my body. The warrior. Standing in this position makes me feel like I could do anything and while I am standing there I keep reminding myself of this exact thought. Focusing my hand that’s pointing into distance showing me the long way I still need to go.
I chose these positions to illustrate how posture does have an effect on us and how yoga in using these postures is really powerful as well. It also helped me a lot to focus better on what I am doing in a certain moment and to take time only for myself. Yoga is a practice you dedicate to yourself – or to another person you want to transfer your energy to. But still, it remains your practice. It is your moment without any distractions, it is the here and now. It is just you and your practice, and the rest of the world can wait.
Taking time for yourself
Especially now in our modern, fast living, mobile phone addicted society we need to slow down from time to time. We need a break, we need this little time just for ourselves. Just think about it. How many minutes a day do you truly dedicate to yourself? Not to your mobile phone, not to a YouTube video. Just to yourself. I can imagine it is less than it should be.
While practicing yoga, you do take that time for yourself. You can easily spend one, two, three hours just for yourself and will see you could not benefit more from it. Being in alignment with yourself, with your thoughts is the most important think you could ever accomplish. Only being in peace with your mind will lead you to a truly happy and joyful life. But if we are constantly occupied and distracted by social media, the TV or the news we cannot reach this calmness, this peace of mind. I’m not saying I am not affected by these distractions. Of course, I am. But I know it and I’m constantly trying not to get absorbed in it. I am aware of them and yoga is constantly helping me to focus on the most important things in my life. Social media can wait. Yourself should come first.
What I also love about yoga is the energy in the room. Something you can especially feel if you practice yoga in a studio or in a group. People chanting the mantra ohm together always gives me goosebumps. You can feel something in the room, devoted people who want to practice for themselves all together. Who are dedicated to what they are doing, who are committed. A bunch of strangers but still reunited. Sharing their energy in the most beautiful way. Through practice and through mediation. For me, that’s one of the most magnificent ways yoga could impact you.
Yoga and Health
For me yoga is directly connected with my health. My physical and mental health which is so crucial to me. It is the only practice I know that trains your body and your mind at the same time. Try it out for yourself. Visit a Yoga class an observe closely how you feel afterwards. Only then you´ll understand how powerful Yoga really can be.