Today is winter solstice and it is a fairly cool day in Durban reminding us that it is actually winter, so far we’ve had a lovely warm winter. It is also International Yoga Day so I thought I would take some time to reflect on my yoga journey so far.
My yoga journey began 4 and a bit years ago. It was (like Reiki) just something I knew I had to do and I found a lovely studio with an amazing teacher. The synchronicity is amazing as very often the theme of the class relates to exactly how I am feeling that day or week.
So much has changed in the past four years but yoga has been the one constant in my life, keeping me grounded, balanced and sane. In the beginning my hamstrings were so tight I could not touch my toes, 4 years later they are still quite tight but I can now touch my toes 😉
Something happens on my yoga mat, you see I have a very busy monkey mind that is extremely difficult to quiet but on my yoga mat the never ending chatter in my mind fades away and I become present in my body and focused on the yoga posture. This does not happen for me in other exercises, I can be running on the treadmill and my mind goes off at a tangent or I can be at the gym doing strength training reps and my mind gets completely lost in itself. Yoga is the only place where I can get to the “no-mind” state.
I remember early on in my practice being absolutely terrified of head stands and dreading the times when we had to do them. Now I get excited when we do headstands! Yoga has helped me to face my fears and given me strength and courage to do so. It has taught me self compassion, to be kind to myself, to love myself and to be gentle with my body as I slowly let go. It reminds me of the oneness of life and that we are all connected. Through my yoga practice I have felt my body loosening up and letting go and this has followed through to my everyday life as well, teaching me to let go and trust life (which is still a work in progress but I am a lot further than I was a few years ago).
Sometimes yoga feels like it is cracking me open as pent up emotions are released during various asanas (especially heart openers). In the 4 years of practicing yoga I have lost my mother, grandmother and a dear friend, yoga has helped me to work through my grief, on my mat I’ve shed tears and felt depths of despair, but I have also experienced absolute peace and tranquility. It has helped me to move through life with a sense of appreciation and a deeper awareness of what is. And so on this cool winter solstice day I bow in deep gratitude and humbleness to my yoga journey and to the path that led me to the just right studio and teacher. Namaste.
*First published June 2016*