Practicing yoga for 365 days wasn’t something that I had planned before hand. It happened due to my love for yoga and the benefits that it has brought into my life. For me, yoga is much more deeper than making fancy poses and shapes. It is going inwards to unite my body, mind and soul to become one and finding peace within myself. Yoga is where I go to find peace, to rejuvenate my mind and to find myself whenever I am feeling lost.
People go into yoga practice for various reasons. Some begin practicing for the purpose of mental wellbeing, to increase their flexibility or for its spiritual benefits. I started practicing yoga a few years ago because I wanted a different form of work out that was low impact, non judgemental and non competitive. I have gained a lot for practicing consistently and I have lost a lot of things which were not serving me prior to me finding yoga. If I had the chance, I could go on and on about how yoga has changed my whole existence and perspective on life. Now, let’s talk about how yoga has helped change me physically, mentally and spiritually.
clarity of mind
For anyone seeking clarity of mind, I would suggest they start practicing yoga and meditation. Whenever I am practicing yoga or meditation it is as though I am in a whole new different dimension. Everything becomes clear and blissful. My mind becomes wide open and questions which I have struggled to find answers to becomes resolved. Each day I complete my practice, I feel brand new. I take whatever peace of mind and clarity I have cultivated on my mat into my daily life. I find that decision making comes to me easily and swiftly compared to when I wasn’t practicing consistently.
Becoming more flexible is one of the amazing benefits that keeps me in awe each time I roll out my mat to practice. Eversince I began practing yoga, it takes my body less effort and energy to move about and get things done. I wasn’t particularly flexible prior to yoga. I could remember the first time I tried seated forward bend (paschimottanasana), my hands could barely touch my toes. But with consistency and dedication, my body began opening up to embrace the changes it was going through. Fast forward to a couple of months later, my hands could reach my toes and even extend beyond them. This further goes to show how amazing the human body is and how yoga can help increase flexibility.
Living mindfully and being present
I find that the more I deeepen my yoga practice, the more I become aware of my body, thoughts and surroundings. My practice has taught me how to live in the moment and immerse myself in whatever I do, to take time and enjoy the blessings in every moment that passes by. Eversince I began living mindfully a lot has changed within and around me. It’s as if a veil has been lifted off my face and I can see clearly now. With each rising sun, I always remind myself to remain in the present and show gratitude. I have come to understand that mindful living creates an increased awareness which helps to re-inforce positve behaviour.
My daily yoga practice instills in me that life is a journey, just as yoga is a journey too. The more I practice and meditate, the more I see life in a different perspective. I have learnt to let go of worrying , especially worrying about things beyond my control. Life is a beautiful journey with its ups and downs where the beautiful times should be savoured like the best tasting wine and the not so good times should be seen as an experience which we have to go through in order to get to our goals . I find that practicing yoga on a daily basis helps me feel relaxed and have better sleep quality. Practicing yin yoga and restorative yoga at evening times has also helped to improve my sleep quality exponentially.
Love and compassion
Yoga is an extension of love and compassion. I see my practice as an act of compassion and self-love which I shower upon my self and consequently transfer to others. Yoga reminds me see humanity as one because I believe we are all connected and come from the same source. For me, yoga is not only limited to my practice on the mat, It is how I show care and compassion to others. Yoga teaches me to see others as I see myself and to help those in need and be compassionate towards all living beings without expecting anything in return.
I am one of those people who try their best to be creative at every given opportunity but finds it hard to create something beautiful or well put together. I have been known as “shodddy girl” amongst my siblings and we have always laughed at how funny my drawings looked and how impossible it was for me to assemble appliances or fix things. At this point in my life, a lot has changed for me. My creativity level has risen, I create smoothies with beautiful artistic swirl patterns, I have started knitting as a hobby, I make my own fermented vegetables and grow my sprouts, and I fix things around my home. I am surprised at my own level of creativity as well. Now, it takes me less effort to dial into my creative mind. Things that used to seem almost impossible to do now come to me with ease.
Strength and endurance
I never knew that yoga could have an impact on my strength and endurance. Prior to practicing yoga, I had done insanity, zumba and strength training which I kind of got tired of. I never knew that yoga involved a lot of strength training until I started practicing. I do a lot of poses which involves me supporting my own body weight. Some of these poses include crow pose, plank pose, side crow and one legged arm balance. Things are opening up and I can easily access more poses and hold such poses for loger. I now enjoy different variations of arm baancing poses. I am also able to endure for longer when I go for a run, prior to practicing yoga, I had a very low endurance level and tolerance for running.
Patience is one attribute which anyone seeking success and goodness needs to emulate. With daily practice of yoga, I have learnd to cultivate patience on my mat and use that attribute of patience to enrich my life and relate with others off the mat. Practicing crowpose and and falling off, attempting warrior 3 with wobbly legs, meditating with a monkey mind and practicing headstand with the fear of falling over has taught me to persevere, to keep practicing and be patient with myself. In the beginning, I struggled a lot with holding a lot of poses. But I knew that the only way for me was to humble myself and keep going back in order to get my alignment and poses right which involves a high level of patience.
Ever since I started practicing yoga and meditation, my ability to focus has increased exponentially. When compared to other forms of physical excersises, yoga requires a lot of focus. One needs to be physically and mentally present in order to focus during poses that challenge your body and strength. My daily practice makes it easy for me to dial in and put my focus in whatever I do both on and off my mat.
“Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together” – BKS Iyengar.