I think most people already have a little bit idea of what yoga is. But, I doubt that most people know what yoga actually is, at least for me. I didn’t know what yoga actually is before I had conversations with some people who have been practicing Yoga for almost a decade already. It literally blew my mind when the first time I heard what yoga can do to some people.
To begin with, as quoted from ‘International Journal of Yoga Therapy 13.1 (2003)’ stated that yoga, A 3,000 year old tradition, , is now regarded in the Western world as a holistic approach to health and is classified by the National Institutes of Health as a form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The word ‘Yoga’ itself comes from sanskrit “yuj” which means union.
“When you practice yoga you are unifying. You could see it in different ways, but to make it easy, It’s a way to stretch and strengthen your body and you set off a time just for you while you are doing that. Because you are so focus on what you are doing, you also stretching and strengthening your mind. Therefore you help your heart as well if you will to open up. Its a way to feel the connection between the physical, the mental, and the heart. It’s a beautiful tools that we can use to find how to work on unifying yourself” Charlotte, Yoga instructor at Samadi Bali.
Who is yoga for?
To tell you the truth, you don’t have to be hugely into yoga to get the benefits of doing it. You don’t have to go to fancy studios and do some difficult yoga poses. Well, if your goal of doing it is for the ‘gram’ then you might as well do that. Nonetheless, as long as you are willing to roll out your yoga mat and do some yoga exercises that best suit you, you could have the benefits. Yoga is for everyone.
However, even if yoga is for everyone, there are some certain type of people which are more drawn into it.
“I had an incident about 11-12 years ago with my eye. It was a cataract but I only have one good eye and the cataract was in my good eye. It was the kind of cataract that made you couldn’t go outside and I love light. All of a sudden It was blurry. I couldn’t go outside.The doctor wouldn’t operate because I only had one good eye. I thought I was going to be blind. I thought I might never see again. It triggered every fear that I had. So I was doing yoga then. I just continued. It was just one of those things that kept happening. I kept going to yoga, going to yoga, doing meditation. And that’s really helps me get through it.” Sheila, Owner of Ubud Yoga House.
“Which is what I find in a lot of my students. A lot of people I would say go to yoga because of some health problems, crisis in their life, transitions. and for some reasons, yoga draws people like that. It’s healing but people come without knowing it. I was married before I left for my trip. First yoga class that I did was because I was separating. I was in a crisis then. For some reasons I went to yoga class and I have no idea why. We find that people come to yoga and they don’t really know why. I see it in my studio.” She adds.
What can yoga do to you?
“Yoga helps me not to feel pain. Makes me feel better” Yevhen Molodkin, Yoga Instructor.
Probably some of us already come to know some of the benefits of doing yoga. Such as improving flexibility, strength, stamina, blood circulations, immune system, and etc. In fact, those benefits are only secondary to what the real benefits of doing yoga. If you only wanted those benefits, you could get them from any other exercises like going to the gym, running, and so on. But why do you think people are consistently going to yoga? Yes, there is something about yoga that is healing. It helps you to calm your mind, manage your negativity, and see yourself as who you are.
“Now the style of yoga practice ask for stillness. Which often in this modern day world we don't give ourselves the time for. It requires me to slow down to really connect to my breath. It draws the mind inwards into this really sweet stillness and in within that space that I get to turn in, reflect and really reach into the nature of my mind and see where I might, see how I'm feeling. It's within that understanding to know myself so fully that I can then harness the things that are serving me, that are allowing me to live in a way that compassionate, kind and generous. The things that are holding me back, that are limiting me, or that are taking me towards maybe the lower tendencies of mind like judgment or greed or self doubt or fear, I can allow those to dissolve and then take the best bits so that I can step off my mat, into life and just move in a way that isn't just kind to myself but kind to others. It's the stillness and the meditation that giving myself time to see myself, to remember myself, that allows that to happen.” Chrissie Chung, Yoga Instructor at thepractice.
“The real goal of yoga is calming the mind. During yoga we ask people to keep their attention on their breathing. Instead letting their minds wander away, getting in all their worries, anxieties, thinking about something about the past or something about the future. We ask them to try to keep their mind right where their body is. Yoga means joining together. The first thing you join is your mind and your body. In doing that, the mind starts to calm down all by itself.“ Sheila, UYH.
What a calm mind can do?
Adulting is a hard work. No joke. You are constantly on the move and constantly doing something either for fulfilling your purposes, chasing your dreams, or even just paying up bills without even having the time to sit and slow down. This behavior can lead to some problems mentally, physically or just a feeling of burnout. By having the time to sit down to calm your mind, you are actually live healthier.
“The whole idea of you know being busy busy busy I just don't believe in that anymore. I just don't agree with it. I don't want to live my life that way. I want to train myself to slow down and to not stress. Because you know that to me is something that absolutely is carcinogenic. can help cause cancer and I don't want any part of that anymore. I think that it's also helping me to be a happier person. It's helping me to be a better mom, to be a better wife, hopefully be a better friend and daughter.” Caitlin Crawford, A cancer survivor.
Besides making you healthier, a calm mind also helps you to make a good decision. It helps you to see clearly on what’s happening and take the best action possible. Because your mind is not clouded with any other emotional thoughts.
“A calm mind helps you see more clearly. What's the first thing people tell you to do if you are in a stressful situation? Calm down, Calm down. If you're all panic and anxious you don't see clearly and you are not gonna make a good decision. The first thing you have to do is calm your mind. Then you see more clearly on what's really going on. Are those thoughts true? Are you exaggerating jumping on conclusion? is it fear? With a calm mind you have time to actually observe what's going on and then choose how do you want to respond. Instead of complicating the situation by just reacting to whatever fear or anxieties you have.” Sheila, UYH.
Last but not least, with putting a time to calm your mind, you will start to see something about yourself that you could never see before. You could eventually see you as yourself, your true nature of existence. Because there is is not distortion from other thoughts. You could start to think about who you truly are, what you are here for, what can you do and etc.
"Once you can calm all that chattering you can get insight into that part of yourself, not your thoughts, not your feelings. Like your true self and true nature. You can get in touch with that more. You can start having insights about what you want to do, changes you can make in your life and that sort of thing. With a calm mind you see more clearly that's like only the beginning and then after that you can search inside yourself." Sheila, UYH.