A decade ago, I found myself in a state of uncertainty, not knowing which direction to take after finishing my post-graduation. In my sadness, I started to meditate to bring myself some peace and clarity. I knew that fitness was something I had always enjoyed and hence I was a self proclaimed fitness enthusiast. After some time, I came to the conclusion that I ought to follow my heart and pursue what I was passionate about. As a result, I decided to become a yoga instructor and professionally learn more about my newfound passion. After studying yoga professionally, I came to the understanding that it wasn’t just about physical fitness; it had the power to be a life-changing experience. From improved relationships to a new outlook on life, I was astonished at the changes yoga had on my life. Therefore, I’d like to take this opportunity to share my wondrous journey of yoga, and hope that you learn to love it as much as I do, so that one day you can sit around with your loved ones, telling “how yoga changed my life” over a cup of warm green tea.
“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.” This quote by Buddha is really close to my heart and it will always stay with me for it always reminds me of my journey. Yoga has been a big game-changer of my life. It’s more precise to say that yoga has helped me to remove the obstructions that camouflaged who I really was, and that it has helped me to come into a fuller manifestation of my true self. Yoga practice gave me a glimpse of the joyful and liberated person I can be. While practising the asanas I came to know that I can do things I never thought was possible. I’ve realised that when I’m lying in Savasana at the end of a yoga session, after I have worked hard and felt totally present and connected to my body, the joy and freedom I experience are an expression of my real nature. Even though it may be transient, it showed me what is achievable. Yoga has strived to create perfect harmony between my mind, body, and spirit. A great lesson that yoga has taught me is that, ‘when you fine-tune yourself so that everything works wonderfully within you, you bring out the best in all your capabilities’. Every bit of what I am today and what I’ll become is only achievable because of yoga.
How to start yoga
To share from my personal experience taking up Yoga can be incredibly exciting, yet a bit intimidating. I firmly believe that yoga can bring you healing and balance, and I simply won’t ask you to believe me but I’ll just ask you instead to try and see it for yourself. Although I’m not here to make any wild promises about the power of Yoga and my only intention is to share my journey on how yoga positively changed my life, I do want to make a case for why you should make the leap. To make the most of your Yoga journey, here are some tips that I applied for myself that will help you to get started, stay on track, and ultimately enjoy the experience. Check out these key elements for a successful Yoga practice:
Find a spot: I would like to suggest you to keep up with your practice day by day, no ifs and buts. What I did to keep up with my regular practice is repeating what I learned in my class at home. I created some peaceful space for myself at the very comfort zone of my home. Hence, I’ll recommend you to do the same.
Go through instructions: I really think it’s ideal to begin rehearsing yoga under the direction of a talented educator who can lead you through the right arrangements. I’m saying this so because this will help you ace various stances accurately and abstain from conceivable wounds. If you are someone who does not have time to go to yoga class because of your busy schedule then you can likewise look through YouTube and other online channels to begin the excursion.
Converse with an expert: You might have noticed that nearly each Yoga video starts with directions to converse with a medical expert, before beginning yoga. While Yoga is available to all bodies, numerous individuals harm themselves while rehearsing, because of pushing themselves too far. This is the reason I would also recommend you to do the same because in this way it’s significant to permit your instructor to know of any medical history, and so forth.
Appreciate the simple things: Take it slow. Some asanas are not feasible for everybody. Wherever you are in a Yoga posture is actually where you should be; thus, abstain from looking at yourself to different understudies in a Yoga class.
Rest your body: Don’t surge after the class is finished. You should figure out how to permit your body the rest it merits after a long practice.
10 ways about how yoga changed my life
I’ve come to embrace the discomfort
Yoga has been a great teacher to me. As a fitness fan, I was no stranger to pushing through the toughest poses. But if you’re a beginner or trying some ‘hard to pull’ poses then make up your mind to not to give up no matter how discomforting it might be. Let me tell you this, every practice is different, and sometimes it can be hard to get a handle on. What I’ve understood in my 10 years of experience of practising yoga is that it is not about being in pain, instead, it’s about recognizing where your edge is and seeing if you can push yourself just a bit further. I’ve learnt to stay with discomfort that has made my yoga practice more fruitful and transferred off the mat too. I’m now able to view uncomfortable situations as an opportunity to grow and expand.
I’ve come to realise that balance isn’t a permanent state, but something that fluctuates and changes
I’ve always wanted to spread my time and energy evenly between all my commitments to make everything in my life harmonious. But I also know that it’s not always possible! Yoga has been a huge help, though. By regularly practising balancing poses, I’ve become more aware of my body and I’m also able to strengthen my core. I’m also able to acquire increased mindfulness which has allowed me to make decisions about where to focus my energy and get the most out of my time.
I’ve been able to understand the importance of setting a goal
At the start of my yoga classes, my instructor had urged me to set a goal for myself. I was told that it could be a word, an expression, or simply how I want to feel as I move through the sequence. I’ve discovered that forming an aim and returning to it throughout the class has assisted me to stay more stable in my practice. I can now take this custom in life off the mat, and set goals as it can be a strong method to shape every day with a deeper sense of purpose.
I’ve been able to get better and better at taking life as it comes
One of the mantras that I have taken away from doing yoga is that there’s no point in hurrying. I often found myself running around to get stuff done or trying to be productive, only to look up and realise that the day is almost over. Yoga helped me to remember to slow down and be content with what’s happening presently. When I’m doing yoga, I’m taking the time to focus on how I’m feeling and just be. Even if I’m not always in the present moment, I can definitely feel the difference in how I experience things, both big and small.
I’ve been able to overcome perfectionism
I was a recovering perfectionist, actively striving to cast off the preconceived expectations of my life and experiences. Doing yoga has done a major help in this effort. Some poses made me feel powerful, and others made me feel like a tangled mess. Committing to a regular yoga practice to learn more about my body and mind and letting go of the need to be perfect has given me the freedom to be kind to myself in other areas of life. I realised that poses don’t have to be perfect, and neither does every moment of my life. The simple act of being present is more than enough.
I’ve been able to benefit from the power of my breath
Pranayama is an ancient practice that has helped me benefit from the power of my breath. During my yoga classes, I’ve found that concentrating on my breathing could help me switch off from everyday stress and worries. When I took time to simply breathe, it stimulated my parasympathetic nervous system (a network of nerves that relaxes your body after periods of stress or danger) and brought me into the much-needed restful state. Now I do not forget to remember to take a few minutes out of my day to simply breathe and reconnect with myself.
I’ve been able to feel more tangible towards my emotions
I’ve been able to realise that by giving my emotions a chance to be felt and taking up space, instead of over thinking or reacting to them, I’ll be able to process what I feel more effectively.
I’ve been able to rely on myself to take on challenging tasks
As I kept on practising yoga, I noticed that I could effortlessly do the poses that earlier made me feel like I couldn’t do it and they appeared too tough or I wasn’t flexible enough. I can identify where my thoughts were holding me back. The fact is, I’m able to conquer lots of obstacles. It has made me feel like I’m more than just the thoughts in my head. I’m able to trust myself and can recognize that I can always redefine my story. I can effortlessly do the hard things, be it a headstand, a difficult conversation, or making a tough decision.
I’ve been able to love myself
I have understood that in order to be appreciated by others I need to gain a positive attitude towards my own self. I had the tendency to be too hard on myself and expect too much of my mental and physical capabilities and then blaming myself for being ineffective. Yoga showed me that my own life is the one I can control. I should be good to myself and love myself if I want to be able to love other people properly.
I’ve been able to follow my intuition
My story before was one of ignoring that tingle in my gut; second-guessing what I should do or what others wanted me to do. Doing yoga, I learned more and more how to better align my feelings with my thoughts and actions. In a wider sense, it now means having the courage to follow my passion and be confident enough to be who I truly am.
10 benefits of daily yoga
I can go on running errands telling how yoga has personally benefited me both internally and externally. From stimulating my organs and improving my heart health, to keeping premature ageing away and increasing my body strength, there’s no shortage of benefits to reap. Not to mention, Yoga also did wonders for my mental health and emotional well-being as well as for my personal and professional life. It helped me relax, manage anxiety, and bring about a more positive outlook on life. Hence, I highly recommend everyone to take up this ancient practice and reap all the wonderful benefits it has to offer.
Yoga has brought me flexibility to the body like no other
Yoga truly has plenty to offer! Through yoga postures and sequences, my body’s range of motion has expanded. Plus, the mindfulness approach has helped me ensure that stretching is done safely. This has in turn reduced the risks of injuries and released tension in my muscles. As a result, my body can now open up more and more. If that’s not a great benefit of yoga, what is?
Yoga has increased my strength while also benefiting flexibility
It has developed the muscles that support my body weight, providing functional strength. Not to mention, it’s great for core strength. This has led to improved athletic performance and better functioning in my everyday life, all while avoiding potential injuries.
Yoga has improved my posture
Regular practice of yoga has taught me to address any kind of muscular imbalances in my body, while also making me more mindful of my posture during the day. Over time, I noticed that my posture was deteriorating due to watching movies on my laptop in a hunchback position. I did not realise it until there was a tightness in my chest and weakness in the back muscles that led to a slumping posture. All thanks to yoga! It helped me to stretch out the chest and strengthen the back, resulting in improved posture and a healthier alignment.
Yoga has increased my healing powers
While practising yoga, I was able to create an environment that brought out my body’s natural ability to heal. Mindfulness helped me to boost the immune system, so I could easily fight off illness and recover faster. Additionally, the strengthening and lengthening effects of yoga helped me to improve mobility and my body’s function. Plus, it also contributed towards my mental health and created a better sleep pattern and overall well-being.
Yoga has improved my joint health
It has fortified my muscles surrounding the joints, improving their stability. Through a full range of motion movements, yoga has helped me to improve my joint health, by facilitating an adequate circulation of synovial fluid (a thick liquid located between your joints), which kept my joints lubricated and allowed for smooth, healthy joint movement. Even research proves that those with more severe joint issues, such as arthritis, can benefit from yoga, as it can help improve physical function and reduce pain.
Yoga has improved my concentration
I was once at a stage where I was trying to do a task while my mind was jumping to other things that were unrelated. That’s when yoga came to my rescue and improved my concentration. It’s not just me who’s found it helpful – research confirms that after a yoga class, you can direct your mental power to where you need it most, and learn, remember, and update information more effectively. Personally, I’ve noticed that my mind was able to stay on one thing more easily, instead of scattering my energy in too many directions.
Yoga has improved my skin and face
Once I began combining some of the more relaxation-oriented facets of yoga, like Pranayama and meditation, with an active yoga practice, I observed a better flow of energy throughout my body. The decrease in stress even helped alleviate issues like acne and eczema. It was an unexpected revelation as I didn’t realise how precisely yoga could benefit me. My skin became healthier and more alive, and my face felt firmer and tighter.
Yoga has increased my energy
By taking the time to do a few sun salutations each morning, I noticed some majorly positive changes in my energy levels. I felt more alive and alert throughout the day, and found myself with fewer negative thoughts. Yoga had a major impact on my mental and physical wellbeing. It increased my energy, brightened my mood and gave me a shot of enthusiasm.
Yoga has taught me to enjoy my solidarity
Yoga has opened my eyes to the beauty of self-care. It has helped me to appreciate the world around me as well as embrace my own company. I now understand the importance of being content in my own presence, and valuing the joy of little moments, even if there’s nobody around to share it with.
Yoga has made my life transformative
Yoga has helped me to become more attuned to what my body wants and needs. I have found myself making healthier life choices off the mat, such as choosing more nutritious food, being more active, or cutting down on unhealthy drinks. All of these things have ultimately helped me feel better and live better.
10 lessons I learnt from yoga
Appreciating little things
I truly wanted to embrace the concept of yoga; hence I kept reminding myself that this is a journey, not a destination. No matter how far I progress, I’ll always find something new to learn each time I practise. This idea applies to life too – it’s not about achieving a grand finale, but about enjoying the process. In order to live a fulfilled, peaceful life, I learnt to be able to appreciate the little things and savour each moment.
Accepting my own journey
I learnt that yoga is a transformational practice, but it’s also not about changing, instead it’s about working on myself to improve and evolve as a human being. With yoga, I was able to take my painful experiences and transform them into moments of peace. When it comes to life off the mat, I think about the areas I’d like to improve, but also accept where I am in that area right now. I am well aware of the fact that it can be difficult to accept both concepts in my mind, as it creates a sense of duality, however, I try to stretch my mind and perspective.
Awareness about myself
It was not always easy to resist comparing myself to others in yoga class. I used to look at my peers who look like they have a lot of experience and seemed like they were already professionals. My self-confidence was on the verge of slipping away. With time I learnt that the important part of yoga is to recognize my location on my path and to be aware that there is no “right” or “wrong,” “good” or “bad” place to be.
Accepting my tough emotions
When I felt soreness during a yoga session, I decided to make some changes to the position so that I don’t get hurt. But simultaneously I also kept in mind that it is just normal to experience a certain amount of discomfort that would come from pushing my muscles or stretching deeply and that I just need to focus my breath on that area and try to relax it. This has made it a lot less unpleasant. I learnt that it’s the same with life: the more I try to resist or avoid my problems and uncomfortable feelings, the more I’ll suffer. But if I can accept my tough emotions and take on the challenges that come in my way, I can live a fulfilling and rewarding life.
Achieving success through hard work
I understood that yoga isn’t about mastering difficult poses right away – it’s about making small incremental improvements over time and going through the motions even if at times I feel like I’m not making any progress. It’s about taking each challenge head-on and developing my strength in and out of the studio. I realised that I can’t expect to become a stronger person without overcoming obstacles.
Accepting my failures
It’s been said that “we learn more from our failures than our successes”, I learned the real meaning of this proverb better through yoga. I’ve come to see that failure can be a useful tool. I took it as a chance to learn something new, gain new insights, and do better the next time. It’s made me realise that the right kind of failures can give me new knowledge and help me reach my objectives.
Awareness of my egoistic attitude
I was trying too hard to push my limits, and it was turning me into an arrogant person. My ego was like a loud voice in my head that kept telling me to demand more of myself, even if my body was begging for a break. Recognizing my ego in my yoga practice has helped me in other areas of my life, especially when I’m tempted to control things I don’t have any say over. Becoming aware of my ego in yoga has helped me realise that in life, some things are just out of my control and I have to learn to accept that.
Ability to remain consistent
If you want to get the best out of yoga, it’s not about doing it for hours at a stretch. It’s about being consistent and doing it every day, even if it’s for just a few minutes. Thanks to my consistent practice, I’ve been able to recall all that I learnt in class and now share it with my students. Without consistency, I wouldn’t have discovered the incredible strengths and opportunities that yoga has helped me unlock.
Accepting the voice of my heart
Yoga blessed me with the power and understanding to get rid of my fears, doubts, and anxieties. I am now able to hear my inner voice and follow the beat of my heart. I’m eternally grateful to yoga for giving me the strength to follow my dreams and achieve what I desired 10 years ago- to become a yoga teacher. This is why I always recommend people to relax and meditate instead of worrying and ruminating.
Ability to be in the present
In the past, I found myself frequently preoccupied with planning, fretting, or regretting. However, yoga has been a lifesaver in helping me to unplug and concentrate on what’s currently happening in both my body and head. It has enabled me to make an effort to live my life with the honest goal of doing the best that I can. I began to pay attention to my breath as a way of remaining in the moment. This helped me to remember that the present moment is the most essential one, and that my breath is my unending connection to the here and now, and my presence is sustained through its motion.
How can yoga change my outlook on life?
Yoga has been a beneficial tool in helping me switch up my outlook. Going through the motions of certain asanas has helped me gain a clear head and stay focused in the present. This has in turn made me capable of viewing situations from new angles and open my mind to other possibilities.
Can yoga help people with anxiety and stress?
Absolutely! Practising yoga has done wonders for my state of mind and overall wellbeing. It has also enabled me to effectively cope with my anxiety symptoms caused by difficult circumstances. Through slow and steady breathing exercises, as well as meditative and relaxation techniques, yoga is designed to bring feelings of peace.
Is yoga a way to stay looking and feeling your best as the years go on?
Practising yoga has helped me keep my muscles supple. It has activated hormones that have helped with my ageing process. I still feel like I’m the same girl I was 10 years ago preparing to start my yoga journey. So, I would highly recommend you to take a few moments each day to say “om” and keep yourself looking and feeling 10 years younger!
Can yoga really make me look taller?
As I have already mentioned how I became hunched back sitting in front of my laptop but later I was able to gain a few inches of height which was only possible due to stretching my spine and improving my posture. I was able to feel the difference especially in my upper body, but my lower body still played a role. So, can I appear and feel taller by elongating my spine and have a better posture? Yes, I can.
When is the ideal time for me to practise yoga?
When it comes to yoga, it is all about finding the right time for me. Earlier when I was learning yoga I dedicated both my morning time and evening time practising yoga as I was planning to pursue it professionally. But if you have more free time in the evening, practising yoga at night could be a great option. It can help to soothe any tension and aches, resulting in much more restful sleep. On the flip side, if you’re an early riser, then morning yoga could be the best way to start your day. It could give you a burst of energy and set you up for success. Ultimately, the choice is yours!
Yoga has completely changed my life for the better! Learning yoga has brought a huge shift in my life – it gave me purpose and motivation to work harder. It’s helped me to find inner peace and balance. Through meditation, I learnt to listen to my heart and mind. Whenever I strayed away from the path, yoga guided me back to the light. It taught me to be mindful of my own existence and to appreciate life and the little moments. Doing yoga exercises has opened my mind to possibilities I never thought were achievable. Making yoga a part of my daily routine has helped me discover the hidden truths. My journey with yoga has been unforgettable and I’m looking forward to gathering more knowledge and wisdom as I move forward.
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