If you practice yoga, you know this feeling. It starts when you step on the mat and fully forms after shavasana. When all the tension melts, the world seems to be a better place to be ayou have that “yoga glow”.
But if I reflect on the whole process, from my first yoga class until today, I can see the bigger picture( at least the part that’s revealed by now). Sitting at the airport in Budapest( I spent last week in Hungary visiting family and friends) , and thinking about tomorrow’s class I realise how my life is strongly influenced by yoga. I’m pretty sure some people find this annoying 🙂, but yoga pops up pretty much everywhere. It changed the way I think, the way I speak, the way I think about my body, how I feel my body ( like when I’m sitting here subconsciously correcting my posture pulling my shoulders back and down ,engaging my core) and how I relate to other people. ( the 8 limbs ey? Beyond the mat-the 8 limbs of yoga )
But how did this start.. and when?
After a few yoga classes I became really aware of my breathing. I am using it more purposefully in daily life, and I am rarely out of breath( even after climbing stairs etc) any more. Being more aware of your breathing influences a lot of things, I found that it’s easier to calm myself down in stressful situations or just simply “keeping it it together” at all.
I do love sports, I enjoy swimming and cycling, dancing ( I was taking ballet classes for a while) and look:yoga, like a little fairy figure sitting on my shoulder is always there. It changed the way how I relate to my body in these activities, I’m more aware of certain muscle groups( you know, the ones you didn’t even know they existed before your first class😉), it tells me not to injure myself , to look after my body and to respect it as (like everybody else) I only given one..
I have a typical walk( my boss would describe it as marching:) ), since me and this yoga fairy are closely acquainted the way how I walk changed as well, I probably seem taller and my posture is much better. The energy is the same but I don’t “‘march” with my head down any more, my back is straighter and I feel the ground with my feet in a different way, my balance is better, I feel more connected to the Earth.
Obviously yoga changed my body a big deal. I wasn’t flexible at all, and I had body image issues to an almost unhealthy extent. Then I learned that with regular practice I can develop( slowly but surely), and I started to feel really empowered by the fact that I am actually able to do certain things.( don’t think big, just reaching an inch more forward or bending slightly deeper, balancing a little bit longer:). Also love and respect came along with that towards myself and my body. Even now and then those negative thoughts still come up, however after acknowledgement I just let them go. This is a really important part and I emphasise positive body image a lot in my classes as well , our bodies are not the same, and no one should compare themselves to others during practice. Every body is beautifully complex , individual on its own, and we should be aware of that. Self love and self respect is essential in your luggage through our yoga journey☺️.
Gratitude, peace and change
Regular yoga, pranayama ( breathing) and meditation taught me peace. I am a fiery person( pitta-kapha ayurveda-wise), I can be really passionate about certain things and I used to be quite impatient and short tempered. I’m not saying yoga completely changed my character, I still have the same passion , I just channel it differently. I’m learning to let things go and accept those I cannot change. But I also developed an attitude towards things I don’t like, I don’t just suffer in silence or moan about them, I change ( either my thoughts about them or the situation) as that’s the natural way of life. Evolve, observe and learn… This doesn’t mean I take everything with a peaceful smile on my face, oh no.. but how I perceive situations ( including my own or other people’s emotions towards them) is different.
Perception is the key word. Perception of myself, others, the universe we live in. If I have to put it in one sentence, yoga changed my perception. And I do hope it will keep changing me, helping to reveal that bigger picture…