piątek, 19 kwietnia 2013

Why I do yoga

Many people have asked me why I do yoga and how it has influenced my life. And I always struggle to find the right words to explain it. Nothing I ever say seems to convey the full message. But I’ve recently started thinking, if I was to point out one main thing that yoga gave me, what would it be? Physical strength? Mental stability? Patience? OK, I give up, I don’t think choosing one is possible. I’ll try with three. Here they are:

1) It makes me believe that the word ‘impossible’ is a state of mind. An opinion. It’s fear and worry. And, most importantly, impossible is a challenge.

It is pretty common for yoga students to make excuses and claim that they can’t do certain asanas, because their bodies are just “not built that way”. Their hands are too short for jump-backs and jump-throughs and hips will just never open up. But then, completely unexpectedly, they manage to do an asana they never thought they’d be able to do. And all of a sudden everything seems to be “milega”.

As Confucius said, “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”

2) It makes me fearless. Well, let’s say I’m still working on that, still have moments where my mind creates worries about the future and when I struggle to stay in the present (particularly now, after coming back to Europe and facing change of environment, friends, routine and all that), but most times I know how to deal with it. Worrying does not solve the problems of tomorrow, it only removes the joy of today. And most of these “problems”, when you look at them carefully, are not problems at all.

“How do you do this?” a friend of mine has asked me recently. “I take risks. I don’t want to waste my life thinking I could have done something, but I let my fear stop me,” I replied. There are no wrong decisions and even if they look bad at a certain moment in time, they will always be good in the long run. They make us who we are and bring us where we’re supposed to be.

3) It helps me be myself. Sounds easy? It’s not. In the world where the society expects you to follow a certain life scenario, many people end up trying to fit in, doing things they think they should do, rather than the ones they want to do. Spending 8 hours per day doing work they hate and being in relationships just because they are scared of being alone. Yoga helps me unclutter my mind and see things objectively. It gives me confidence to trust my choices and decisions. And it helps me look at myself with my own eyes, not with the eyes of others.

Yoga is the most beautiful gift I have ever given to myself. And that’s why I want to give it to other people. It takes time. Lots of time. You don’t need to be physically fit. You don’t need to be flexible. But you need an open mind. You need to be ready to change something. Ready to try things. And if you let it, it will change your life.

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