When I was in college, I started reading books of some self help authors and somehow it became evident to me that i should start doing something for staying healthy. Yoga was never in my mind during hat time. Jogging was my go to option whenever i wanted to do exercise or improve my fitness levels, Having apps on phone which tracks the number of kilometres you cover helped me with added motivation. I was open to trying various things. Football became regular during those days after college, there was something within me which was looking out for something different.
It was then i came across yoga programs happening around me. I didnt have any ideas about yoga or spirituality in general. So i decided to attend a program after my grandmother told me to go for it. I remember my cousin giving some negative reviews and stopping the program after few days itself. But somehow I felt i will try and see what it is. The program was a residential one where we stay in a hall for 7 days with many other people and attend many sessions which covered various aspects and it was very different to what i had in my mind. It was not just about holding any postures or doing some exercises.
It was focussed more on the overall development of a person like handling mind, emotions. It had some leadership aspects as well.
I started doing my practices that i learned and could see some shifts in the way i am. There was a natural sense of ease within me, I also started becoming more aware of my limitations that are holding me back. There was moments of blissfulness that i experienced . I had a feeling that i have attained to some sort of wonderful state within me. But i was so wrong. All the old patterns started coming back and I knew that the feeling that i became some great human was not true.
I feel its important for someone who starts yoga to have a beginner mindset. It is very easy for anyone to lose their awareness when they are doing any practice and it can get reduced to being just exercise. Whenever i learnt a new practice and start doiing it, it can feel fresh and doing with a sense of awareness. But as time passes , I develop a tendency to get things automated or going through the motion.Things start feeling like mechanical. You dont feel the life in the practice. The same practice that once felt very liberating once start feeling like its not doing much to you.
Yoga being such a subjective practice, it can only be known fully by involving yourself into it, Not by just doing it like a chore.
Our body also has a lot of inertia to it. Overcoming that is a big challenge for most of us. Yoga postures need not be complex. There is a misconception among people that attempting the toughest postures is the way to learn yoga or an inferiority complex based on how much you can bend your way. That is a wrong way to approach the whole process. The effort should always to be acknowledge where we are and take one step at a time.
People also tend to get injured by pushing themselves too much too early. A stable foundation of basic asanas is needed before we attempt anything that is a bit more advanced. Once we are comfortable with the basic postures , it becomes easier for one to attempt some advanced postures.
It is better to become consistent with one practice before you learn new practices. This way you are able to get established in the practice. It takes some time for the whole system to get comfortable with any practice and it is important that we are consistent with our practice. The tendency in some of us is to hop from one new experience to other seeking new experiences. The experience hunting part of us is good in a way that it is due to that part of us that we started trying out something for the first time.
But once we dont give any practice dedicated time and effort it tends to fade away and it becomes difficult for anyone to start back the practice.
Yoga support system
Having someone with you to get you started can be really helpful. An accountability partner will ensure that you will get up from the bed and beat procrastination and do things that you really want to do but somehow feel lazy to start going,
Another severe tactic one can use is to involve money into the equation. You can give a certain amount of money to your accountability partner say 1000 rupees and every time to complete the desired action you will get 100 rupees back as cashback.
Losing something can sometimes be a bigger motivator than gaining something. If you have the intrinsic motivation, then these things doesn’t matter much. You will anyway find a way to keep up with your practices.
It becomes easier for one to keep up with the practices when you come to understand the value it adds to your life.
Yoga from books
Also it looks easy to do yoga after seeing in a book, It shouldnt be attempted like that. Its safe you go to a teacher who has the necessary knowledge and learn under their guidance. Once we finish learning we can do the practices at our home itself. Whenever there is a doubt you can go for a practice correction. This can help to correct the distortions that we have created along the way after learning the practice. Its concerning to know people who damage their body by doing yoga without any guidance.
My experience with Isha yoga has been good. The best part I noticed was the dedication with which the practices were being offered. Yoga practices have a spiritual element to it, and when i say spiritual I mean something more than we normally experience in physical reality. Earlier whenever I did any practices, I was not experiencing much of this aspect. I did felt relaxed but it didnt feel this good.
Benefits of yoga
I never thought I would be able to keep up with the practices for the past 4 years. It has helped me to cope up with life in a far better manner than I would have without it. I feel I would have crumbled easily if it was not for the practices that were there with me. Challenges have been coming in one form or the other, and I have been able to navigate better through it all in a better way.
There is an increasing sense of being part of this world than being a stand alone entity that is struggling to stand apart. A realisation that being should come before doing. To get oneself established on a stable foundation before we try something. There is a shift from just being focussed on external results to look at the inner experience that we are going through during the day.
Attention levels have also increased as I am able to stay focussed on one thing for more time. Sense of rush within has been replaced with a certain calmness. Less affected by things that are happening around me. I am much more open to people and experiences and becoming less judgemental about others
There is a feeling that we should be following only vegetarian diet if you are practicing yoga. Vegetarian diet is supportive for the practices, although it is not compulsory that you shouldn’t have anything else. Each one of us are in different situations and it may not be easy to keep the same diet . Some of us also think that it is a religious practice. Although it has the cultural roots in India, it cannot be tied down to any religion. It can be practiced by anyone following any religion. Many people around the world practice yoga who come from various backgrounds.
Best time to practice
Early mornings are the best time to practice. The time from 3:30 am to 5:30 am which is called brahma muhurtam is the best time. Otherwise the time till 8:30 am is also good for practice. After this the time is not ideal for practice. SImilarly in evening also after 4:30pm is good.
Its good to take a shower before practices. Shower should be avoided immediately after practices.
Taking some time to visit a place like Isha yoga centre at coimbatore can be very helpful to deepen your practice.Places like this are made such that it’s easier for people to get into the rhythm of things. Its best to come and stay for at least a week every year. Starting you day with yoga can be a very rewarding process.
Hope you carry yoga in your journey.
You can find some easy to do practices in the link here.
To read other posts on anapana meditation. Click here.
For post on yoga for weight loss. Click here.