“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” ~ The Bhagavad Gita
I am fortunate to have had an inclination towards Yoga from early days. For when I look back at my most difficult and challenging periods, one significant thing that helped keep my sanity was my regular yoga practice. This morning routine was the only thing I looked forward to when there was nothing really going for me during the difficult days.
Yoga is aptly known as a union of mind, body and soul. It brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve a healthy body and a peaceful mind. The yoga practice is a holistic combination of specific postures(asanas), breathing (pranayama), meditation(dhyana) and relaxation (dharna). What began as a fitness drill to tone my body, gradually evolved with time to becoming a channel connecting me with the mind and spirit. This ancient Indian science of exercise and healing has now become a way of life.
Yoga and its many rewards
The benefits of doing yoga are immense and renowned the world over. However, I believe each one of us can have a unique experience with this marvellous practice. For me, it is a communion with the self that continues to nurture me in all three realms:
On the physical front, yoga has always had a rejuvenating effect on my body. It recharges every inch of the body like no other workout. The energy that is emanated during the session feels cosmic, almost divine. To an uninterested onlooker, yoga may seem like a slow and boring stretching routine. But it does a lot more than what meets the eye. It plays a vital role in removing the toxins and releasing the tension from every part of the body. It enhances respiration and results in improved vitality. I feel increased flexibility and agility in my body, with significant muscle strength and body tone as the apparent results of dedicated yoga practice.
Mentally, yoga has empowered me to take control of my mind. With augmented self-awareness, it has tremendously helped in keeping my stress and anxiety at bay. I have learned to maintain a balance in my thoughts and emotions. It has taught me composure, especially during times when it is imminent to become reactive and flare up. It is the most natural way to attain perfect harmony and equilibrium. It has boosted my self-confidence.
On the spiritual front, it is positively about my individual consciousness being in unison with the universal consciousness. Having a deeper understanding of my body and mind, I feel ready to connect with the higher spirit. Yoga brought to me a sense of victory by calming an agitated mind and helping me rise above the negative accumulations of my life. I feel joy and contentment at a deeper level during and after the practice. I recognise new levels of inner strength that prevent me from crumbling, when everything around me is falling apart.
I recall a game we had played amongst friends, wherein we had to designate the first adjective that comes to mind for everyone and write it discreetly on a paper. All of us wrote down the words that best described our friends in one word. During revelation, the word that was most commonly used to label me turned out to be ‘calm’. And this, at the time when I was already in the gruelling separation period in the midst of my acrimonious divorce.
Did Yoga do that to me? I wonder….