Becoming a Yogi: The Big Shift
After Practicing Yoga For A Year
Just like in anything I’ve committed to, I’ve come to learn that consistency is a choice.
Let’s go with honesty here. I started my practice just over a year ago, not only just for the benefits, but because a lot of the influences in my life told me it was the right thing to do. So, since last March, I have stayed committed to practicing yoga 2-3 times weekly. Meditation and self-reflection progressively became more present in my days off.
At first, applying this Eastern philosophy to my American-soaked life was difficult. The fitness aspects of yoga were understood, only once my practice progressed, I started noticing that yoga was much more than that.
My perception shifted. It shifted BIG.
These are my recorded thoughts from my personal journal I have chosen to share with you today. My hope is to influence others by sharing what I’ve learned so far in my journey.
PROPER BODY ALIGNMENT
As my body becomes more and more adapted to the postures of yoga, it feels just...better. I’m excited to see what my body is capable of as time goes on. Even when I go to the gym now and try to workout like I used to, I noticed I have to keep up with the alignment of my body.
Note to self: Don’t undo the progression made within your practice. If anything, I’ve learned to incorporate weight training into your yoga poses. Working to align my body properly in yoga, and then lifting weights or doing improper cardio the next day, ended up causing me some injury once I went back to yoga again.
BECOMING AWARE OF MYSELF
Tuning out of my mind and its thoughts, shifting to focusing on my breath and how my body is moving, has become needed therapy. I never thought yoga was more than applying breathing exercises to fitness, but the effect it has on your body and mind overall has benefits that slowly push past just your in-class experience.
That “calmness” felt at the end of class, is like a seed you have planted towards applying it to all aspects of your life. You learn to connect with your inner spirit or soul, thinking bigger than just the media or small-minded things that don’t actually benefit you as a human being. You learn to realize what matters to you personally.
The awareness I have gained of not only how I feel, but how to manage those feelings, has become necessary. We aren’t programmed to understand ourselves in this way growing up, but just like our bodies need exercise, our minds need silence and space to heal. I have learned how to heal myself.
Now, maybe another year and I’ll be able to apply this awareness better.
MINDFULNESS TOWARDS PLANET
Beginning my practice, yoga was just another form of exercise to me. Even though I have always been a spiritual person by nature, I didn’t understand the connection between human beings and the planet, that which was perfectly designed for life and us. As my practice became a lifestyle, which really entailed consistency and allowing it to change me as it has thus far, I noticed a difference in my perception of not only myself but my surroundings.
Our planet feeds us. No other interpretation is needed. It’s just the truth. It provides oxygen for our lungs, food for our bodies, water for our beings, and an environment consisting of the perfect temperatures and warmth for our survival. These things have been taken for granted, and I believe it’s because we lack the awareness to connect fully with our source of life.
PERCEPTION OF DIET
Yoga increases your awareness of yourself, other people, and the environment. With this, comes the awareness of what you feed yourself and how it benefits you. Becoming more in tune with myself, in all aspects, I realize as much as I love certain foods, they aren’t good for me. For once, that started taking the lead instead of staying in the back of my mind.
I’m not kidding when I say you really start to understand yourself better in ALL aspects. It’s almost like another frame of mind you start to adapt. The RIGHT frame of mind.
LEARN TO BATTLE INNER DEMONS
The biggest shift. Everything buried within my subconscious has drifted to the surface. Not cool yoga. However, it’s easy to understand this is needed in order to finally get over everything that has haunted me.
Personally, I have come to understand that my yoga practice goes past taking care of my body. It has allowed me to take control of my mind through the breath, opening my eyes to become more aware of who I am and what I need to achieve my own inner peace.
Achieving this peace, or happiness, includes putting to rest my past and future so that I can finally remain present in my life. Any negative thoughts I have towards myself and others must go, as they do not feed me. Any anxiety or fears about the future must also be conquered.
You battle your demons by rising above them.
My 3 Favorite Quotes:
“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” - The Bhagavad Gita
“Yoga is a mirror to look at ourselves from within.” — B.K.S. Iyengar
“The success of yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships.” — T.K.V. Desikachar