I always treated yoga as a monotonous activity attracting a special species of a person with endless patience and enormous will power. What did it take for me to start looking at yoga with a more open mind?
Simple – age.
My joints began causing me more and more discomfort when I walked or danced. But I noticed that after some slow doing morning gymnastics, I would feel better. Nothing extreme, mind you; just some simple turning to the left and to the right at my waist and neck regions, trying to do a leg-split (and barely imitating it!), and finishing up with some easy push-ups. Once, my general practitioner even very gently manipulated my neck and it really gave me relief. All these exercises were easy, relaxing, enjoyable, and yoga has those same elements. And more.
In Sanskrit “yoga” means “union” or “oneness.” Yoga does not support any particular religion, which suits me well. It is more of an art, science and philosophy. It started thousands of years ago and spread throughout the world, teaching practitioners how to breathe, feel your body, and harmonize your spirit (isha.sadhguru.org). Well, okay, it does sound a little fluffy-headed but, in reality, it’s quite philosophical while at the same time at a practical, down-to-earth level, it has levels fitting everyone, regardless of yoga experience or fitness level, and benefits joints, heart and blood pressure, and even domestic unity (Ishwar V. Basavaraddi). A person who feels well is a lot less grumpy, and is more pleasant to be around.
I do just 10 minutes of yoga every morning and that’s enough to get my motor running. During yoga, all those long To-Do lists are perceived peacefully and without hustle. In fact, my entire being has no hustle or bustle. No emails to answer or social media to track. No meals to prepare or appointments to be punctual for. I become that which I am not usually: patient, understanding, reserved, self-fulfilled, tranquil and self-loving deep from the heart. After yoga, I feel divine, in good spirits to face a day filled with the real world (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health).
And in case you think I have become fluffy-headed and adrift in my own world now, modern research says I am not. Yoga has been linked to real world improvement in sleep and balance, low back and neck pain, weight loss and even the management of anxiety, depression and quitting smoking.
Did you know…?
And turns out, there are six branches of yoga, and each one focuses on a different aspect of life:
I am not promising I will – or want to – get completely into any other of these but for now, I will continue to start my day on the mat.
Find 10 words or phrases from the text “The Practical Woman’s Yoga”
Answers: workload, down-to-earth, will power, push-ups, good spirits, weight loss, devotion, gymnastics, leg-split