I just cannot stop thinking about how much my perceptions have changed since I practice yoga on a regular basis. I am so grateful for the positive things this practice is bringing me every single day. Grateful for having taught me how to become an independent human being. A human being that is aware that every one of us is responsible of their own choices, life, thoughts, happiness. We should not expect anyone to make us happy. We are the ones that should put the work to live a happy life. We should not blame anyone for our own choices. We are the only ones responsible.
I was never taught how to be independent. I come from a culture and a family environment where being independent is slightly seen as a selfish thing. But there is a huge difference between being independent and being selfish. Between being mean and staying truthful to your opinions and values. Between being open minded and accepting everything without first analyzing the information that you get.
Is yoga changing my life?
Since my second visit to India and after my 300 hours teacher training, I feel that it is only now that I start to figure out what before I was just reading on other people’s blogs or books and not getting a clue about what they were talking about.
Practicing yoga once a week brings relaxation to our body. Practicing yoga twice a week helps our mind to relax and think a bit more clearly. Practicing yoga few times a week makes us see meaning in our life and gives us access to different layers, more subtle ones that do not come without putting effort into it.
I’ve always been a person that searched for a meaning. It’s just how I’ve always been. At times I wanted to be someone else. Struggled to become different when I was a teenager, but never managed to change. And good for me that I didn’t! It took me a while to figure out how to use my abilities in order to give something back to the world (and I’m sure this thing will keep on changing and developing). It took me a while to learn how to transform weaknesses into strengths and to be a mentally stronger and more stable person. You see…this mental aspect is so neglected in our society. Many people are mentally so weak and they don’t even know it. We confuse intelligence with acquisition of new concepts and things we take from books written by other people, but in fact this is just an illusion. This doesn’t make us intelligent human beings.
In my practice, things have changed so much! And I’m so happy that they did. What started as a physical exercise became a mental practice, eventually to be a mirror to see myself. Sometimes, like yesterday I see parts of my past and personality that I’ve thought they have gone forever. Well…some are still there and it’s so hard to change bad thinking into good one. It is painful so see it and it leaves us with 2 choices: 1) Are you willing to put the work and improve it? 2) Do you want to live like this even though you are suffering?
This yoga practice is not supposed to be all pink, perfect and fancy. It is a damn hard practice! Sometimes you just want to quit, find excuses for being weak and feel sorry for yourself. Don’t do it! Do you really want to feel sorry for yourself? Or do you want to be strong and gracious and rise above the limitations you put in your head?
In the past I wanted to get to know myself better. I remember how I struggled and been so frustrated that I couldn’t understand myself. I felt like a lost boat in the middle of the ocean for many years of my life. Couldn’t understand what the hell I want! Couldn’t understand who I am and why certain things were this way. Why certain people continue to hurt us even though they are supposed to love us?
Eventually I got to the point where I could understand myself, the repetitive actions, thoughts and habits that were not doing any good and started to ask myself “how can I change them?”. I got to the point to see that it is mostly our thinking that hurts us and we can change it if we want to.
It is damn hard to change an adult. It is so hard to change your thoughts, your habits. But you know…it is not possible to change your life without changing your thoughts! Not possible! Sorry! It is a hell of a work that you need to be doing in order to accept yourself, but not pamper yourself when in fact you should be strict with certain parts of your mind and tell yourself you are not getting anywhere with this attitude. There is a huge difference between being kind with yourself Vs allowing yourself to be lazy and make compromises that are not taking you anywhere.
One thing is for sure: we are all going to die some day. The question is: “How do you want to die?” and most importantly “How do you want to live?”. There is a saying “If you don’t like it, you can change it. You are not a tree.”
I recently discovered that I am not a tree and I want to make the most of this life. If I need to struggle, I will accept the challenges that come along my way. Nothing meaningful comes easily. In general, we need to struggle because this is how we learn the most important values in life.
Is yoga changing my life?
I think it does. I feel such a different person from the one I used to be. Slowly confusions start to fade away and I’m left with more clarity. Fake knowledge starts to vanish leaving place for the things that really matter for me.
Thank you to the ones that contributed and contribute daily to this! Thank you to the ones that are/ were physically present in my life and part of this process, as well as those that I never met personally, but they have a meaningful contribution into motivating me to get out of bed each morning and do my best not to leave this world having regrets that I did not do… my best.
© Unfold Your Mat 2016
My sister is dealing with a lot of stress at the moment and we think that yoga might be a solution of offering relief to her. I like what you mentioned in your article about how yoga started as a physical exercise and became a mental practice. It sounds like my sister would benefit highly from this.
I am sure it could help her a lot Jade. Offer her 1 month card present to a yoga class. In this way she will be able to commit to a regular practice at least for a few weeks and see what happens. By practicing regularly and not only from time to time, you can see the benefits better. Of course it takes longer than just 1 month, but it’s a very good starting point. Wish you both all the best! Lavinia
Thank you for nice information.
Thank you so much for appreciating the info Alicia! Hope it was useful in any way! All the best, Lavinia
From your writings in the column you seem to be highly appreciable to yoga.Since,when you have started …means for how long??
Do you also meditate. ..what type of meditation? ?
I am in very initial stage of Yoga practice and yes I am finding calm mind and body with no lethargy after Yoga.
How long do you practice daily?
Early waiting for your reply
Hello Deva! I’m very sorry for my late answer. I am in a time of my life with many changes and lots of stuff happening. Which has delayed my answer.
Congratulations for starting a yoga practice! That’s amazing! Keep practicing because it can only get better 🙂
I have started in 2010, but the last 2 years were very intense and I began going into deeper states of awareness and meditation. At the moment I do not do a lot of sitting meditation, but I practice ashtanga yoga in the traditional style which is my daily meditation. My practice is 6 days/ week, 2h-2h15 min ashtanga. However I do not recommend such intense practice in the beginning, as it can be more confusing than beneficial. It would great if you find a teacher that can guide you and you trust so you can build your practice together. I hope that was useful. All the best for your path! Lavinia
Can I ask you how you found my article? 🙂