Yoga is about life.. and death.
When first practicing yoga, the physical aspect of the practice was the only part I noticed, perhaps understandably as these postures could be very challenging. Slowly when practicing more, I became aware of the impact it had on my breathing. Much later on I realised the impact these breathing techniques had on my mind. The space this created helped me better understand the connection between all of these, and between the self and others. Yoga, to yoke, is a union of body, mind, breath, spirit..
The discipline of the practice started to embed these qualities into my being and I started to use to these ‘yoga qualities’ in my everyday life. Taking more time to pause and breathe. More time to meditate and be mindful. Feeling more connected to my body, my soul, the world, others.
Recently it has helped me deal with the traumatic experience of my father passing away. The shock and devastation of the loss, and the realisation that the world kept turning and I was expected to keep functioning in it, were a big challenge. It hurt so much that I truly couldn’t breathe.
I was walking around with this shallow breath; my body and mind numb and disconnected. Only once I started to focus on breathing deeper, ever so slowly I was able to create some space, first in my body and then in my mind. Now, even though I am still hurting there is a sense of calm in my being as I feel connected.
My father loved that Yoga had brought me so much joy, he would jokingly ask me if I was 'still doing yogo'. My happiness made him happy, especially as he was getting older and found life more difficult; both physically and mentally. Life can be tough, the cruelty of its structure where we all eventually die. That's why every moment is precious; the good as much as the bad. And of course you can recall fond memories and look forward to future plans, but try to be here now. As I believe it's the best way to avoid the downside of dwelling in the past or longing for the future; sadness or remorse for what has been or fear for what's to come.
Living in, and appreciating the moment (mindfulness), gratitude, discipline, kindness – practiced on the mat, will transfer to, and transform your life off the mat. Qualities to nourish and cultivate, discovering 'yogo' has given me so much more than the ability to touch my toes..