For those who wish to learn more about yoga and some of its
benefits, these are the 5 things that happened to me thanks to a regular yoga
practice. This is all very personal and may not be true for everyone though.
In no particular order:
- 1. I care less. Yes, it sounds bad, but I care less. This doesn’t mean I don’t care about my life and the people in it. In fact, there was a time when I didn’t care about anything anymore and it didn’t feel good at all. Now caring less for me just means caring less about unnecessary drama in my life and about things that are beyond my control. In turn, this leaves more time, space and energy to cherish and care about what is essential.
- 2. My mind is clearer and quieter. For a Type A personality like mine – the restless, hyperactive and ambitious type – this is definitely the biggest challenge and probably something I will always struggle with to a certain extent. Living in the moment without jumping three steps ahead is not something that comes natural to me. I have to make a conscious effort to live in the moment and avoid multitasking. I have my techniques by now and they work well, but I have to choose to do so. When I practice yoga, this happens naturally. I simply am.
- 3. I am stronger and more confident in my body. I’ve already written how I’ve never been the sporty type before, but most of it was just my own mind creating a negative narrative of being anti-athletic. ‘I can’t’ was the key word. I now do things I would have never thought I would be capable of doing. Things I thought only the ultra-fit could do. Every time I see a tiny bit of progress in my practice, I am amazed by what my body can actually do. This improved strength doesn’t mean having a six pack to show off on the beach. It just means being more aware of my own body, and ultimately feeling better and more confident in it.
- 4. I am more positive towards life challenges. Practicing yoga doesn’t mean living a life of hearts and flowers where problems don’t exist. In real life, problems will never cease to exist. The difference is in how I choose to react to them. Looking at them as inevitable challenges during this journey and trying to face them without disproportionate reactions. Looking for solutions for what is possible and letting go of what is not in my hands. A fine balance between effort – abhyasa – and letting go – vairagya.
- 5. I don’t feel the need to compare myself to others. I am what I am, with my strengths and my flaws. I am no longer scared of showing who I am. My life is what it is. Imperfect. But I am still grateful for it, as it is a privileged life. And yes, there is always room for improvement, but right now I wouldn’t change it with anyone else’s. And most importantly, I know that if and when I decide to change it, I can.
The bad news is that the positive effects you feel in the
immediate aftermath of the asana practice don’t last forever. There needs to be
a certain rigour and discipline in the practice for them to keep materialising.
The good news is that over time we internalise some of the teachings offered to
us by this practice.
In essence, what does yoga do to me? It brings out my best self.