What has yoga changed for you?
30 July 2015,10:21:06 BST
"What has yoga changed for you?" A close friend of mine recently asked me this question. Hmm, tough question anyway, where do I start?
One aspect of my life that yoga has completely turned inside out, is my relationship with myself. From puberty I felt at best neutral to hostile towards myself and my body. In any sport that I made, I was very disciplined and the ambition to improve and keep improving. Physical challenges were a pure struggle against myself and my limits, motivated by the desire for "more, faster and further".
My eating was highly controlled by my mind, food chosen on the basis of nutrients, calories, and the desire to be thinner than I was. The amount that I ate was based on my internal table of already eaten foods and less on my hunger.
What was normal as a child to trust the body and sensations, was lost in puberty; in other words, I did not trust myself. I thought if I do not take control and steer with my mind, everything gets out of hand.
Am I now "cured"? Certainly not all, but it's much better than perhaps 10 years ago.
Yoga has taught me to work with my body (instead of against it). Yoga has shown me acceptance and kindness to practice also against myself - instead of always trying to somehow be different.
The physical aspect of the asana practice has taught me to better understand and feel my body. I have become more sensitive with respect to the signals of myself and learned step by step to once again have confidence in my own feelings and needs.
In Sanskrit there is the word GURU, which we often understood only as the "outer" teacher. However, this is a one-sided translation. Guru also means that inner voice, their own truth / intuition, which - contrary to the external master - our best "guide / Guide" is, assuming we learn to see this and to trust this teacher.
Yoga is a journey inward to yourself when you are willing to listen to yourself and to sit with mindfulness and sincerity.
Is everything great today and I am always balanced and aware of myself?
Well that would be great, wouldn’t it?
No, there are days when I still don’t like myself, there's restlessness and impatience with myself and others - BUT - somehow these feelings are no longer deeply embedded.
The impatience and dissatisfaction is now being laid on a foundation of basic satisfaction and connectedness to myself and also gratitude to life, my body and all the experiences that I could make so far.
When I look back today, I am terrified that I could be so negative towards myself and I am glad to have found a way that has taught me self-love and gratitude.
And as always in Yoga, the path is the ultimate destination and I haven’t reached the end of the road yet!