10 reasons why I practice Yoga
Physical and mental toxins create stiffness and tension in the body and mind. On some days, I do a pose so easily and on other days, the same pose seems so out of reach. Yoga helps me become aware of which state my body is in today and to be compassionate and work the pose as per my capacity today. It raises my awareness about differences in both sides of the body, differences in the tightness in various parts of the body, differences in my emotional and mental state from day to day. Taking all these into consideration, when I work on the poses, it helps me relax, refresh and rejuvenate my body, mind and soul. I always feel better after my practice than how I was feeling before.
2.NEVER GIVE UP
When I was learning Handstand pose, I had to first believe that I can do it, just like any new venture that one wants to achieve in life. I concentrated to keep my hands straight and push through my shoulders and tighten my core and keep my legs engaged so I could stay up without falling. I kept practicing every day until finally one day I was able to do the pose. Yoga is about showing up on the mat everyday and waiting patiently for the body to open up like the flower blooms when it is ready. This instills endurance, patience and perseverance at everything that we do in life. Yoga is about growth, lifting of the energy and strengthening of the mind and the body.
3.FACE THE FEAR
I had to face my fear of falling, when I learnt how to do Crow pose. I had to focus on keeping my gaze in the front and work on moving my body towards the front and not move back. I learnt to face the fear head-on and that is when transformation occurs, not just on the mat, but beyond that too. We need to work on making each pose enjoyable and stimulating at the same time and overcome our own limitations.
When I do Warrior 2 pose, I need to keep my trunk in the middle with my feet wide apart, I am neither thinking about the past nor the future, but staying in the present moment with my breath. The true magic and juice of life exists only in the present moment. Yoga facilitates this priceless opportunity throughout the practice and helps combat the restlessness and anxieties that we all have due to the modern lifestyle.
When I am working on Front split pose, I need to push myself to get my hips closer to the mat, but at the same time I need to surrender the urge to go beyond my limit and let go of my ego and ambition and stay where my body feels the best today. There needs to be an “Effortless Effort” in every pose, maintaining the delicate balance between perseverance and surrender. Somewhere between holding-on and letting-go, we learn to trust the unknown and progress happens.
I was able to do Lotus in Headstand pose effortlessly. But after an ankle fracture, I lost mobility and flexibility to be able to do that. I learnt to let go of the past and be curious and focus on relearning the pose with my current body capacity. As long as one feels comfort and steadiness in each pose, that is true Yoga. It is not about how deep or low one gets into the pose, it is about how one breathes through it with ease and strength, it is about how receptive and humble one is to the light of knowledge that each trial of the pose presents.
Without knowing all the benefits of Headstand pose, I kept practicing it every single day after being able to do it in the middle of the room just because it made me “Feel Good”. My dry eyes, my hip pain and my gloomy thoughts started disappearing and that opened my eyes to how powerful these poses are when you do them without any expectations of the results. We need to practice Yoga not to get into the most difficult poses quickly, but just practice for the sake of the practice and the benefits will follow automatically.
After my dad passed away, in my grieving process, my blood pressure shot up. His absence created a vacuum and loss of support forever. I knew that I could never come to terms with it, but practicing Yoga helped me cope with my loss, calm down my central nervous system and grounded me and helped me to find my inner strength and resilience to face this grave reality in my life. I was able to breathe better and the heart palpitations stopped. Not just this, but on multiple other occasions, Yoga has helped me maintain my health, vitality and well-being. It gets me out of my head and puts me into a creative space and into my body.
At the end of the practice, when I lie down in Corpse pose, I feel this deep connection with my true self which is limitless. I feel the oneness with the entire Universe as I work on letting go of physical and mental blockages that do not serve me anymore. This is the most peaceful and sacred part of the practice for me. It’s my little moment of connecting with what truly matters in life.
Yoga is endless and timeless, it is a practice for life. There is always scope for improvement, learning and growth. It is a spiritual practice which helps connect our body with the mind through our breath. Although, Yoga is an ancient practice, it will never get outdated.The aim of Yoga is the cessation of thoughts in the mind. As the mind becomes free of thoughts, we achieve immense joy and peace, which cannot be described in words,but can only be felt by the heart and the soul.
hi Sherry, In the beginning of my Yoga journey, I have had a few small injuries. That was because of my ego to get into some advanced poses too soon before my body was ready. I have learnt from my mistakes and definitely teach my students from that understanding that we need to honor and listen to our body and do Yoga just for the Yoga, not with the intention of getting into complicated poses even when we are not ready :)
In your article, you write about the benefits of yoga. Could you please tell me, if there are any disadvantages of yoga? For example, have you had injuries, muscle strains or something like that? Or is it all fiction? Thank you.