This post is a little analytical. I have been practicing yoga for a while now and it is time to see what progress I have made, and the reasons for which I actually started yoga, have I accomplished them at all or not. I went to Rishikesh, mainly for the following three reasons:
A healthier body
There is no substitute to good health. You cannot achieve anything in life lying sick in bed. An unhealthy body also creates an unhealthy mind. Such a person is also not pleasant company for others around. At the most difficult phases in my life the one thing that I have been grateful for, is good health. No matter how many hardships, at least physically I could take care of myself. So what have I achieved?
- A stronger body. My body is definitely stronger than before. There are a few poses, where more than flexibility and technique, you need strength. Until about 10 months ago, I could not do the chakrasana (wheel pose). One day at the ashram while practising with Ben, I tried to do it already expecting the same results as before, but there I was standing on all fours inverted. That was the first realisation of what I’ve gained. Then came the headstand. It took me a week to go up on my own against the wall. My core was weak. After 3 months now, I still can’t do it without the wall because of a weak back but it is progress nonetheless. My last notable struggle with an asana was with the handstand. It took 3 weeks of training with Ben (yeah he can do everything!) to lift myself upside down on my hands. Nowfinally my arms and my wrists support me. There are still a lot of poses that I have difficulty doing, but I am getting there, slowly and steadily.
- I have a trimmer body. What can I say, I am a woman and a little vain and this one somehow is very precious. Yoga definitely tends to slim you down and that’s a very attractive reason to practise yoga regularly
What am I yet to achieve,
- Freedom from back pain and knee pain
- More flexibility
However, this also mandates me to write that yoga in not about flexibility or a trim body alone. Yoga is complete only when the body and mind work as one. A peaceful and calm mind is the ultimate aim of yoga and that’s what my second reason was to come into yoga.
A healthier mind
My mind is a very chaotic place. I think things I shouldn’t and I do it all the time. And while I’m writing this, I’m hoping there are others like me. Apart from a mind full of random thoughts, I have a strong streak of melancholy that shows up occasionally making me believe the worst of every situation. As I mentioned before, the last 2 years had been difficult for me emotionally and my mind became my biggest enemy. I had dark periods and my self-confidence was at an all time low. I needed yoga and meditation to calm my mind and rebuild my life. So what have I achieved?
- More awareness. I am aware mostly of what I’m feeling. I can sense a bad mood enveloping me and I’m aware that it’s got very little to do with
reality. Does that help me from saving myself from it? Well, no! Not yet.
- More compassion. All meditation practices tell us to be a more compassionate person. I see other’s troubles a little more and I’m a little more aware of how blessed I am. I am more compassionate towards myself. Where earlier I used to give up on myself easily, now I constantly remind myself of how far I’ve come and appreciate myself for it.
What am I yet to achieve,
A lot! I still have difficulty adjusting to change and every small failure still makes me miserable. But they say this is a long journey. It takes people years to reach somewhere significant in terms of mental growth and I’m giving myself at least two years before I can start judging myself!
A new career path
I was not very happy doing what I was doing in terms of my professional life. The first 10 days after I received my salary were great; they reminded me why I was putting myself through that job. However, after the first 10 days I would again start questioning my purpose in life. And this became a cycle, I was living only for the month end, surround myself with some material comfort and then go back to questioning life. I was also always tired. I was travelling 4 days a week, handling a number of stores and my interest in my job would always wane after the first one year. In 6 years, I worked in three different companies. Then, in early 2014, I actually started thinking about what do I really like to do and how can I mix that with my job. I love travelling and I like telling people what to do. I had by then, been doing yoga for a while, I knew it’s benefits and it seemed like the best thing that could work out for me. I would be telling people how to lead healthy lives and travelling at the same time. The travelling part comes in because I want to free lance and not work for an organization. So how far have I come?
- I have learnt new postures and the correct ways of doing them. I have picked up a decent yoga vocabulary
- I have seen yoga the spiritual way and that has inspired me to make this my profession even more. If I can give someone a little joy every day, I think I will be happy.
- I have also taught a month of yoga at Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, which has given me more confidence in what I am doing and has assured me of my choice.
What am I yet to achieve,
- A deeper knowledge of the scriptures of yoga
- A teachers’ training certificate from a reputed institute
Yoga is a lifestyle. It is so much more than physical postures and it is something that needs to be lived daily. The results are seen only when it becomes a part of everything that you do. It is also a very long journey. I am not even halfway there yet but I have come a significant distance nonetheless.
I will have the teaching certificate by this year-end, and begin my career in yoga. Until then it is only about personal growth and an aspiration to become a better person!