10 years of yoga practice & 5 years of teaching. I looked back and I can see that the day I begin this journey was truly the day I began to grow. I started by doing, not practicing. I wanted to lose weight and regain my physical health. And that is fine. Our intentions can change along the way depending on the experience.
I learned many things, many of which are of no value to losing weight. However, I gained much more than my physical health. The beauty of a body-based practice is that we approach ourselves through the body and its movement, which is less jarring than sitting still and diving into the complexities of our mind right away. Here are 10 insights from practicing yoga that created sustained changes in my behaviour and perspectives, which eventually laid the foundation for my sitting practice.
- My mind can be observed.
- The pulling ache in my right thigh do not influence my ability to soften and find comfort in all other parts of the body.
- I don’t have to know why I cry suddenly in the midst of practice.
- To become stronger, you have to feel your body, not work your body.
- I cannot do a stable crow pose, yet.
- We can only focus on one thing in each moment.
- No matter what, thoughts of judgements don’t stop despite insight number 5. I have given up on being overly controlling of my thoughts.
- It is not up to me to choose how my body or mind is in each moment. But it is up to me to decide how I want to relate to whatever that is already here.
- There is no styles or categories of yoga, just the attitude you bring to the practice.
- Being a good student is more important than having a good teacher.
What would be important to note is that these insights are not derived from someone telling me, or from reading a book or an article. These are derived from actual experience of the practice in my body; falling into the sensing of my inner world through my body and not my mind.
So, go ahead and forget these 10 insights.
It is more important to start your own practice.. yoga… taichi.. qigong.. or even martial arts that promotes mind-body connection like Aikido. Anything that helps you practice navigating your inner world through deep sensing in your own body. Gain your own 10 insights. While I have absolutely no patience for meditation in the past, I never realise that movement through yoga has allowed me to discover the deep reservoir of stillness within me; and hence a sitting practice now feels more accessible. A stronger core and more flexible body also meant that I could sit without much aches.
And I am probably the same weight, if not heavier than when I started out, but there isn’t so much angst about that anymore.
Comment below: How connected are you with your body? What is one mind-body practice that you are doing or planning to start? Any obstacles you are sensing in practicing?