Upon discovery of yoga, it can be hard to go back to your old way of life. The lessons that you learn from the graceful connection between breath, body and energy flow can be truly transformative. Yoga is an important tool for our modern-day life, as it teaches us to slow down and reconnect. When you’re in tune with your body, you find it much easier to connect to the world around you. Whether nature, the food you eat, or the people you interact with each day. It’s amazing the changes that come about when you press the pause button on life and switch off that busy mind. You come to realize that there’s no other place to be, but right there in the moment.
It’s certainly not an uncommon sight to see someone casually strolling down the street with a yoga mat clutched under the arm. The rate at which yoga studios are popping up across the countryside is quite mindboggling! One thing’s for sure. We’re onto a good thing. Even though yoga has been around for some 5000 years throughout India, the Western World is only just finding the pot of gold, that’s been waiting at the end of the rainbow.
The great surrender
The truth is, your very first yoga class will likely be filled with frustration at just how inflexible your body is. And how the girl next to you daintily perfects her downward dog, while your arms turn to jelly after five seconds. While you’re told by your teacher that it’s OK to rest at any time as needed, in your mind you don’t want to be seen as the newbie who collapses in vain on their mat. So you continue to allow your arms to shake uncontrollably, not knowing whether to laugh or cry into the next round of challenging postures!
You may not know it yet, but these are just the beginnings of your humble lessons. You’re taught to completely surrender to postures, as fighting can often be futile. Your teacher will have you bent on the mat like a strand of spaghetti, and you’ll be left wondering how on earth you got there! You also discover muscles you never knew you had, the importance of release of tension, and even how those tight muscles affect the workings of your internal organs, from digestion to release of toxins.
If you’re one that has trouble in letting go to events in life, then yoga also offers some very valuable lessons in this area, such as letting go to thought, pain, judgement of self, and the masks you may not have known you were wearing. You’re given an opportunity to go deep within and learn a lot about yourself, a side that’s often left unexplored through the hustle and bustle of your busy life.
Your teacher will encourage you to use your breath to overcome often painful tight muscle groups. And as you learn to inhale deeply, you release that pain, bit by bit. It’s not until now, that you realize just how shallow your everyday breathing is. And how little oxygen you’ve been sending to your body, where it most needs it.
Aching muscles aside, by the end of your class, you will feel they have given way to release and you’ll blissfully melt into your mat, as your body finally thanks you for your hard work.
Energy and pain blocks
The mystery workings of your body are often uncovered throughout your practice. Pain in your lower back, that you spent hundreds of dollars on massages for, is in fact triggered by a completely different region in your body. Rather, that locked muscle in your hip, that was causing tightness, radiating pain throughout your back. You might also learn that certain areas of your body may store emotional energy, and with the release of muscles in that region, comes a great sigh of relief and clear mind following your practice.
There’s often a deep connection between the surrender on the mat, and the surrendering to many circumstances in your life. Especially the ones that are out of your control. Other than the tremendous health benefits experienced physically, such as flexibility, strength and toning, yoga will also touch you at many other deep levels. From emotional, to spiritual and mental, these are all lessons that can be carried throughout your lifetime.
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