how it changed my life and why I do it everyday.
I genuinely never thought I was going to become someone who would do yoga even every once in awhile, and I definitely never thought I would become someone whose life literally revolves around yoga.
To begin with, I have never been flexible at all, growing up I could not do cartwheels, I could not do handstands, I could not do the splits. I played soccer in primary school, and then did basketball for awhile in high school, neither resembling yoga the slightest. I’ve done swimming all of my life and that is probably the closest I’d get to anything even remotely similar to yoga, and it really isn’t similar at all. Growing up I didn’t do any dancing, I did gymnastics for awhile before I even started school but I don’t remember being exceptionally good. I have never considered myself graceful at all. In fact when I first tried yoga I felt extremely uncomfortable because of this.
The first time I ever tried yoga was as part of my physical education class in high school and so the whole class was there, it would’ve probably been in 7th or 8th grade which is such an awkward age regardless of what you are doing and doing yoga definitely didn’t help. I was so inflexibility and embarrassed, I didn’t do any of the poses, I didn’t really understand it to be honest. The yoga teacher was a man who I would actually end up taking my second class from also, 3 years later in a different facility. By then I was inarguably intrigued by yoga, I couldn’t do even the simplest poses but I was quite infatuated with the people who could. Even then, to me it still looked a lot like just exercise. When I was 20 and moved to Australia was when I initially started practicing yoga regularly at a studio, I had done a couple more yoga classes since my first and second class but this was the first time I actually practiced regularly. It still didn’t completely resonate with me, I enjoyed it, but it didn’t change my life and I predictably didn’t stay at the studio for long. After that I continued to do yoga at home and at different studios but I was not very consistent. It wasn’t until a year and a half ago when I decided I would practice yoga everyday and I started taking classes at a local studio down by the beach. In retrospect I think I did it for all the wrong reasons but within weeks my intent had completely changed and my practice changed my life.
how it changed my life
Yoga for me quickly became meditation something that kept me inspired, something I was passionate about and that is still very much what yoga is to me, it both uplifts me and grounds me. Practicing yoga now is no longer only about getting on my mat and moving through asanas, it is a way of life. Yoga has taught me so much about balance and allowed me to connect to myself and the people and the world around me much more profoundly. Through practicing yoga I have become more aware and more compassionate towards myself especially. Something that has really been revolutionary to the way I live my life is how yoga has taught me to move without judgement and without expectations, honouring myself wherever I am at and accepting that everyday is different.
why I practice everyday
Practicing everyday was what changed everything for me. Some days I have done several classes in a day practicing 2 or 3 hours, other days I will practice pincha for 10 minutes or do 30 minutes of hip- and chest openers. I try to balance my yin and yang practices but consistently getting on my mat everyday even if only for 5 minutes of downward dog is what has changed everything. When I first started practicing this year, although I wasn’t in unreasonably poor shape and although I had practiced frequently for more than a year, I could barely keep up at the first class I did at the studio, my arms were shaking from an ambitious amount of chaturangas and I definitely never thought I’d ever be able to anything like inversions or arm-balances. It didn’t really bother me honestly although I was so passionate about my practice it was never really my ambition to learn, it genuinely came naturally through the trust in and connection with myself and my body. I didn’t pressure myself to progress, for the first time in my life I honoured myself where I was at, everyday, I loved myself for my capabilities rather than resenting myself for my perceived inadequacies. This is still something really essential to my practice because even though I have progressed so much since I first started there will always be other things that I am not yet able to do and that is ok. This is a philosophy that I try to take with me into every area of my life now and as much as I love the asana practice of yoga, it is the philosophy of yoga that has changed my life. Getting on my mat everyday reminds me of those values. It reminds me who I am and what is important.
I will be doing my yoga teacher training later this year and I could not be more excited to be able to share the sacred yoga philosophy with people whose lives might change as positively as mine did.