‘It is through the alignment of the body that I discovered the alignment of my mind, self, and intelligence.’ – B.K.S. Iyengar
When my husband and I had just moved to Munich from Delhi back in 2013 and I no longer had a a full-fledged job, I found I had free time on my hands and decided that it was finally time to try all those things that I only dreamt about doing when I was in India but never quite found the time to actually do. One of these things on my list was Yoga. So, the moment I heard about these yoga classes that a nice, friendly German lady was conducting from her home, I got on board and got on the mat.
And I have never looked back.
‘Yoga is addictive’, ‘Yoga will calm you down’, ‘It’s life-changing!’ These are some of the things that I had heard over and over again and I am sure many of you have too. And like you, I also suspected that some of this was exaggerated enthusiasm. But I can honestly tell you that in fact, whatever you are hearing about yoga is less praise than it actually deserves. It certainly has changed me in many ways and even to this day, after all this time, it never fails to surprise me.
A combination of Ashthanga, Iyengar, Hatha, Vinyasa, Sivananda and a few more styles, it has truly been a body, mind and soul opener. These are a few of the reasons why I think you should definitely get on that mat too.
- Peace of Mind and Body
It’s true and it DOES happen. I am not entirely sure if it is the calm, peaceful ambience, the faint, soothing Yoga music playing in the background (including a mesmerizing, slow version of the Gayatri Mantra!), or the fact that your closed eyes and still body exude the calm aura itself, but when I sit down on that mat in this position, all my troubles of the day do certainly take a back seat. The elusive ‘inner peace’ that is so talked about today and even made a mockery of many times is not a myth! (Lets hope Rahul Gandhi managed to find it too. Ahem.)
One of the biggest health issues today in this corporate, fast paced, technology-driven world is the damage it does to our postures and spines. We grow tired of hearing of the poking and nagging ‘Stand Straight, Sit straight, Dont Slouch’ but we never learn. The endless bending over our laptops, cellphones and paperwork that is our spine’s biggest enemy. I was a sloucher too. Until I started yoga and now I have a straight back. It will amaze you how inadvertently this transition takes place and you suddenly find yourself being conscious of keeping your back straight. I now nag my husband about his!
There is no doubt about this, of course. You won’t see the effects as quickly and prominently as you do while running or gyming at first, but a consistent, regular practice of yoga will guarantee the toning of every body part and the strengthening of muscles you didn’t even know you had! Planks and other core-strengthening positions as well as holding positions for a longer time open up your tight muscles and joints and enhance flexibility and power. Not to mention, your immune system is stronger and you definitely lose weight!
- Temperament & Positivity
This was one of the first few changes that I noticed within myself soon after the first few regular classes. I am normally quite a peaceful person but for years I have known the ‘snappy’ side does exist and has made many appearances that I have regretted. Today, I am a different person. I can’t remember the last time I snapped at anyone. There is a Zen -a ‘Peace Cloud’, as I call it – that has settled permanently within me that keeps me grounded, empathetic, tolerant and forgiving. Also letting go of things that don’t belong or affect me negatively. A positivity has emerged that keeps me calm and rational when faced with grievances and drives me to move forward and always look to the silver lining in the dark cloud.
I have been an avid reader pretty much since I COULD read. I am one of those obsessive book lovers who HAS to have a book by their bedside or in their bag on a journey. Perhaps it is this insatiable, knowledge-hungry desire for perpetual reading that lit the spark within me – I can’t be sure, but for years now I have also always wanted to write. And known I CAN write. Except I had what they call a Writer’s block. The words were always there in my head but I always struggled to extract them on paper.
And then one day, on an unusually stormy night, the words flew out. And haven’t stopped since. In fact, I can proudly say that in the early course of my newly acquired ability, the Huffington Post published one of my articles! And that was all the inspiration and motivation I needed to keep going. And with many more published articles since then, I am quite positive that my yoga practice also had a big hand in fuelling this creativity and allowing me to finally transcend the barriers of writing and thinking that had gripped me all these years and bring to the fore what is now one of my biggest passions.
I assure you that once you start practicing yoga, you will have your own list of reasons which will be a much longer list of how it has changed your lives. Go ahead, get on that mat and let it shape you, inspire you and show you how much more you are capable of.