Thoughts on International Yoga Day

 

 

“Nobody is superior, nobody is inferior, but nobody is equal either. people are simply unique, incomparable. You are you, I am I. I have to contribute my potential to life; you have to contribute your potential to life.I have to discover my own being; you have to discover your own being. ”

/Osho/

 

Yoga is like everything else. Everybody has their own interpretation, beliefs and priorities. On international yoga day I am thinking about all the people I got to know through yoga , the diversity of them, different age groups, nationalities , background and attitude. Everybody’s yoga is different from dedicated ashtangis to yoga therapists , the ones practicing for decades and the ones just started.
They all have different preferences for pace, difficulty, the amount of spirituality and beyond the mat stuff they bring in, their favourite poses or the exact opposite, those ones we find challenging
( and very often grow to love them).
But one thing is common: these people once moved out of their comfort zone and attended to a class/started practicing for whatever reason. And most of them continued to practice, discovered new things( or thousand year traditions) and they all know how does it feel to step on a mat( grass, sand etc) with your bare feet, breath in and then…

I would like to think the world will became a place where we accept and celebrate the beautiful uniqueness of individuals.

 

Love. Peace. Respect.

Happy international yoga day!

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The be present project

When you are here and now, sitting totally, not jumping ahead, the miracle has happened. To be in the moment is a miracle.   /Osho/

Life is available only in the present moment. If you abandon the present moment, you cannot live the moments of your life deeply.   /Thich Nhat Hanh/

Life in London (or pretty much anywhere in the Western world) is often about rushing. Getting from one place to another, rushing to get a job, a living space, entertainment..it never stops. People are constantly online, absorbed in a bubble, never look up or look around. And all they do really is missing out. As the great thinkers above said, life only happens in the moment. But we are spending so much time in the past , reflecting on what happened to us, or the opposite, worrying about the future and we don’t focus energy on the right now. Before we now it the right now is gone.

Yesterday I decided to challenge myself to try to spend a full day focusing on present. No whatifs, no whatwillhappens,howwasthats ,  just try to experience what’s right in front of me. I have to say that I choose a day when I wasn’t at work (as a teacher who works with young people who have learning difficulties that would be almost impossible).

So, I woke up in the morning and didn’t spend 30 minutes in bed scrolling on Facebook. Good start:)
I had a very beautiful morning yoga practice followed by meditation and pranayama, I just followed my instincts and interestingly I ended up just following a new flow of asanas . I liked that:)  Yoga and meditation is a place where I am used to focusing on the present, although this doesn’t mean that this is not challenging. (see my previous post about The art of breathing and meditation).
Then I had my breakfast. In silence, I left my phone upstairs, so the virtual world cannot suck me into the bubble.

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We did this in India during my yoga TTC, silent mornings, I remember back then some days  I found it challenging..
but today I just enjoyed my breakfast (yummy, isn’t it?), rediscovering the artistic beauty of porridge and how funny a sliced up fig looks like.. the flavour was more intense, I focused on how the colours look and the different textures feel like.

After breakfast, I had to connect as I had some work to do , some emails to send but that was it.

 

A bit later I made my way to the swimming pool. Public transport. London. People in their bubbles. Then this thing happened: a mum got on with a 4-5 year old kid. He was happy looking around (even directly in people’s eyes!)  and playing. And I realised: this is it, they know how to be in the present, they don’t spend their life constantly worrying about future and past actions. I’m not saying that from now on everybody should behave like a 5 year old, but it’s nice to sometimes look at things as one. I did this exercise once for a classful of  teenagers in a psychology lesson. I brought in a bubble machine and asked them to look at the bubbles as they were little kids. the outcome was amazing, everybody(even the ones constantly looking at their phones under the desk) got involved and the usually most ignorant young man had the great idea of using the fan to create a bubble storm in the classroom.

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I arrived to the swimming pool. I love water, I am a proper waterbaby( Scorpion!) , just being  close to any kind of water makes me really happy, swimming in water makes me feel whole. However, as part of the be present project, swimming had an added challenge: I usually use this time to rethink things, plan lessons, develop ideas for the future etc. Many of my lesson plans and yoga class ideas was born in the pool. So this time I tried to let those ideas, concernes, reflections just float in and out of my mind like passing clouds and my 45 minute swimming session became an underwater meditative motion.( I have to admit, for most of the time I was the only one in my lane) It felt really good.

FullSizeRenderkcTravelling back home a walked throuh my favourite corridor at Kings Cross, I alway have a feeling that at the end of that one day I find myself in Narnia or some kind of Wonderland.. this was the first time I noticed how cleverly the little lights sit on the side and I was observing people’s facial expressions walking through it. Many of them tourist, lookig at it the first time, with a curious face what’s in the end( it is just an escalator but maybe one day..:) )

 

 

By the time I got to the afternoon, I went through standing in the queue in the post office having a conversation with a young mum about her son’s excellent shoe disappearing skills ,  cooking and other domestic fairy jobs.

In the evening I had a meeting bringing some possible bad news. And there was it: the whatifs, the what didIdowrongs, the whatwillhappennows will all trying to drag me away from the present. And at that present moment I was upset. So I tried to live in that moment , experience it fully without going into any further combination. And it was really hard, I kept sliding down on that road bringing more negativity. But this was only my perception, creating therories about the future that’s not even there. Finally I found my connection back to the present, and it helped me to feel calmer and focused.

Overall my be present day was a very inspiring experience, and I know that a lot of times it is necessary to factor in the future or reflect on what happened, but I think it is important to try and be just present as much as we can. We can do this through connecting to people, yoga, meditation, art, any other ways you can think of…or just simply be,  experience our lives as fully as we can, and exist in that present moment before it’s gone.

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Photo:Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

 

How did yoga affect my life?

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”.

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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?

Breathing
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.
Sports
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..

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Walking
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.

 

Body

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☺️.img_1593

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…

Namaste ☺️🙏🏼❤️

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